My Quest to be Vegetarian

March 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

It all started back in 2010, about this time of year, when I went to the Texas Hill Country with some photo friends to shoot the bluebonnets and wildflowers.  One of the fellas had gone ahead of the group and scouted out the best areas to explore and passed out maps with possible routes to follow, so that made our trip all that much easier as the best places for viewing can change from year to year and is very dependent on the drought conditions of the previous year which is becoming more and more of an issue.

 

We wandered the back roads and ended up on a dirt road.  Had I been alone, I would have never traveled this road as it was very lonely out there but then again... there is safety in numbers and we had our cell phones.  (Hmmmm... in retrospect, I wonder if there was cell service).  We would stop along the way to shoot whatever caught our eye and then we abruptly stopped because there were cows coming out from the wooded area and obstructing our passage, so we started to shoot the cows. 

 

One of the cows stayed on the edge of the woods looking perhaps a bit afraid of this car filled with women aiming things that went click.  I instantly felt an affection for this gentle cow.  He was beautiful as he stood in the bluebonnets with his big brown eyes focused on me.  I wanted to go out and touch him and tell him it was OK... that we would not hurt him.  As the other cows cleared the roadway, we meandered on down the road looking for more photo ops, but the image of that cow in the bluebonnets kept coming back to me.

So our long weekend was over and I was back in the usual routine shopping for some groceries.  I had planned on fixing a couple steaks, baked potato and a salad for dinner.  I stood at the meat counter and reached for a package of steaks when, in my mind, I saw this beautiful white cow in the bluebonnets looking back at me.  It rather freaked me out and I pulled my hand back.  I stood there for a minute wondering what to do.  No... I could not buy that steak, but... we like pork chops.  I will get a package of pork chops.  Once again I reached for the package of meat and this time, in my mind's eye, I saw a pig looking back at me and I could not bring myself to purchase the meat.  So that night we had a baked potato and salad for dinner, much to the dismay of my husband.

Suddenly the thoughts of eating meat was becoming a bit disturbing and that had never happened before in my life.  I was brought up as a meat eater and ate meat every day in some form or another.  Why suddenly was this happening?  Was it that chicken truck that I would sometimes see on I-30 taking the chickens crammed into cages to slaughter?  Was it the horrendous videos I had seen taken undercover in slaughter houses?  And it seems that it was all sparked by this beautiful gentle cow with the big brown eyes standing in the bluebonnets.

I started reading... and yes, animals do have feelings (that did not surprise me).  Animals do feel fear and pain.  Was it really necessary to slaughter these animals so I can live?  No, I think not.  I love vegetables and I love to cook.  And... I love animals.  Why not try to change my eating habits and move towards a vegetarian diet?  This decision was not taken lightly and please know that after a lifetime of eating meat, it is a difficult decision to make and it does not happen overnight. 

 

I do not crave a thick, juicy steak but sometimes I crave bacon, sausage and hot dogs.  Go figure!  And the smell of fried chicken is still enticing.  I started out by using meat more as a condiment or flavoring agent and then gradually cut it out almost entirely from my diet.  With the encouragement of a friend, I very seldom eat meat.  It has been nearly six months since I have made the transition and now in the grocery store I go whizzing past the meat counter  to the veggie aisle.

 

Friends ask... so, do you feel better since switching to a vegetarian diet?  No... I feel no different, and I am not doing it for health reasons but rather because I simply love animals.  If only we would all cut down on our meat consumption, even if it is just one day a week.

      

“A reduction of meat consumption by only 10% would result in about 12 million more tons of grain for human consumption. This additional grain could feed all of the humans across the world who starve to death each year- about 60 million people!”


“Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of "us" and "them" creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering. It is part of the in-group/out-group mentality that leads to human oppression of the weak by the strong as in ethic, religious, political, and social conflicts.”
 

Marc Bekoff, Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect

http://www.amazon.com/Animals-Matter-Biologist-Explains-Compassion/dp/1590305221

       


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