Sunday, May 2, 2010

Introspective: eating meat

In my mind, the fact that I am eating meat is not something that I am proud of. I view it in the same light that one might view drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, or indulging in any number of activities that we seek out in order to pleasure ourselves. I ask myself "why do I eat meat?" and have only two answers.

It is often delicious and thus brings me pleasure.

It is socially easier to eat meat than to not eat meat. By eating meat I avoid distancing myself from others, avoiding causing both myself and others discomfort.

Searching my mind to see if there was ever any other reason to eat meat I realized that occasionally I think that I am ordering a dish that does not contain meat and instead am served a dish with meat in it. Rather than paying for a new dish, causing a fuss about the dish served or abstaining from the meal; I often will simply eat the dish with meat. Even beyond that I will often enjoy and relish the dish, cleaning the plate and sitting in a position of false contentment, thinking to myself "I wanted to avoid meat but forces beyond my control put this meat onto my plate and into my body." Thus I am able to indulge in a pleasurable experience without causing myself nor my immediate others any form of distress.

I seriously believe eating meat to be harmful to myself and to the environment. I have never seen a compelling moral reason which justifies killing an animal in order to bring myself pleasure.

All I can be is an educated consumer. When I ate shrimp fried rice tonight I knew for a fact that Shrimp trawling is one of the most destructing fishing activities imaginable. An activity responsible for millions of tons of dead fish being dumped into the ocean. An activity which results in the indiscriminate destruction of coral reefs, endangered species and ocean ecosystems. I also knew for a fact that the eggs in my dish were most likely from a factory chicken farm where thousands if not tens of thousands of genetically engineered and selectively bred layer hens were living their lives out beak-less and unable even to turn around in their cage. Beyond that I knew that by eating eggs I was engaging in an activity which would bring me pleasure immediately, but a significant amount of pain later given the fact that my body refuses to process egg and instead responds by doing something very much like flushing my entire digestive tract in order to purge itself of this unwanted guest.

Eating from animals shames me.

Writing this blog post will cause discomfort to others in the same way that saying "I am sorry, I don't want to share in your Thanksgiving turkey with you because I don't eat animals" causes discomfort, but because I don't have to look any of you in the face while I am saying all of this I am more comfortable doing so.

Am I going to go back to vegetarianism? Since I can't digest eggs or dairy anyway... to veganism?

I don't know.

Just know that every bite of meat I take and have taken at any meal photographed for this blog is either for a purely visceral pleasure or to avoid taking a stand for what I believe in.


  1. i know how you feel. it is socially easier to just eat meat here, especially since almost everrrrything has a bit of pork...even the noodles that you think are vegetarian or noted as vegetable noodles, somehow pork finds its way in there. i had recently decided that i will eat pork and beef when i'm eating with friends. it just makes sharing food easier, especially for dim sum. but when i go back home, i am definitely going back to my pescetarian diet ways!

  2. I think the key phrase you used was "educated consumer."

    Somehow, I see life as too short not to be a selfish bastard. Maybe we can answer some of they key questions that you're trying to get at by asking why the rest of the human race is apparently just as selfish.

    Good post, though... thought provoking. I'll be in Taiwan in August and I don't think I'll be avoiding meat in any way shape or form.