Despite your efforts, everyone, Lisa is still a vegetarian. I was impressed by the quantity and quality of responses (money talks, doesn’t it?). Most of all, I was impressed by Jen’s argument—I found it very moving. It made me want to eat meat…good thing I already do! And now for Lisa’s response. We’ll attempt this again in the near future. (Oh Lisa asks me to tell you that she doesn’t kill bugs and she doesn’t wear leather. She forgot to include that in the following letter):
My, my you guys have a lot to say about my vegetarianism. Thanks to all of you guys who are so lisa-friendly! I’d really prepared myself for some hard core vegetarian bashing, so it was nice to know some of you took my side on this one.
As for the rest of you….I have much to say in response, but let’s start off with the basic concept. Here is a little fictional scenario to help explain where I’m coming from:
Dogs probably taste good. In our story, your neighbor has a dog (and also in our story it’s not illegal to kill your neighbor’s dog. Maybe we should say it’s a stray dog to avoid legal issues. Well, either way…It’s a dog and you’re allowed to kill it without facing any sort of consequences). Every day you look at that dog and think how it would taste mighty delicious. So one day you get out your crossbow and kill that dog and cook it and dress it in sweet and sour sauce and serve it at your dinner party. Once the meal is complete and you’ve received countless accolades on your delicious dish, your cousin’s boyfriend asks you for the recipe. “Oh, it’s dog!” you say. Your guests are horrified. They call you a monster. They throw things at you. They cry and sob and storm out and swear never to speak to you again. You live the rest of your days alone and unloved.
But why is it so much worse for them that they ate a dog rather than a cow? Because someone was (perhaps) attached to that dog? Because dogs are smarter than cows? Because dogs are cuter than cows? Because they see dogs every day and they only see cows on television or by the highway while on Midwestern road trips? The answer is… I have no idea. Because I do think of cows and chickens the same as I’d think of that dog. I just can’t help it. And maybe that dog was using up the world’s resources, and maybe it would take up too much space when it died of natural causes, but either way I would feel wrong eating it just because it tastes good or just because I have the strength and tools to kill it. And this is even a very hands on scenario, sans slaughterhouses and a life of torture and cruelty, and I am STILL not comfortable eating that dog. Honestly, I think a lot of people would feel a bit more squeamish about eating meat if they did put any thought into how it ended up on their plates. BUT… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you guys can do what you want. I just don’t feel right doing it.
So now let’s address some of your individual arguments. First off, let’s get something alllll clear here: I have nothing against the food chain. I understand it and respect it. I would be more comfortable with it if there weren’t horrible mistreatment of animals while they were alive, but I can’t preach about that because I eat dairy and eggs and there is just as much brutality in that industry. [P.S. For that very reason, I would actually be at least mostly a vegan (I’d stick to animal friendly dairy/eggs) if I felt that I could live a healthy lifestyle that way, but I think that would be a poor choice for me nutrient-wise and I do value my own health over the comfort of chickens and cows.] Secondly, some of you seemed to have confused my stance on this issue – I don’t think that by being a vegetarian I am saving the planet one animal at a time, and I don’t want everyone in the world to stop eating meat. In fact, I would frown on that idea. In my perfect universe, people would still eat animals, but I still wouldn’t. If my life depended on it – sure. If my health depended on it – sure. But neither is the case right now.
As for this business about insects being in everything and bacteria being alive and vegetables having feelings – I really just can’t regard these as legitimate arguments to convince a person to eat meat. As I told a waiter once who prepared me a lame-ass plate of steamed carrots and tomatoes and called it a meal, “I’m a vegetarian – I’m not anorexic.” In other words, a girl’s gotta eat and the line has to be drawn somewhere. I think we are all capable of distinguishing the difference between stray fly legs in our peanut butter and a prime rib. There are also weird mites living in your eyelashes. I just thought I’d throw that in there while we were all cringing at the image of fly legs in our peanut butter.
So that’s that. I’m still a vegetarian.
And I still have $100! Woohoo. I’m going to Meaty World.