Why I gave up eating meat

I took Religion 100 with Dr. Mocko, and I loved it. Go out of your way to take a class of hers, if you can. The woman is a hippie in the truest sense. Throughout the year, we read short articles that pertained to a persistent theme in the class- sustainability and what it means to truly be a steward of the earth. These articles didn’t necessarily have anything to do with a specific religion, but they certainly had to do with the earth. One article detailed the meat industry and its effects on the environment, and it wasn’t what one might call “light reading”.

When I finished it, I was shocked. The meat industry’s pocket-politicians have been paid a pretty penny to ensure the grim actualities of their sponsor’s business don’t make it out of the sewage lakes and ruined land they occur in, and that means the horrors of the industry are far from common knowledge. Now, I’ll be the first to decry PETA as a questionable organization, however, if their statistics and facts are correct, if the average American stopped eating meat, they would “save” 100+ animals per year. We’ve all seen the pictures of the slaughterhouses, the videos of the overcrowded farms. Dear Reader, I know you don’t want Wilbur to go out like that.

I’d like to be clear, however, I didn’t quit the chewy stuff just for the sake of ol’ Bessie. I grew up on a little farm, chopping the heads off chickens in the morning and cooking them in the evening. But we only get one earth, and Mocko’s articles had their credibility. I decided my pleasure was not worth the harm it was doing. I stopped eating meat. Along with that, I started unplugging everything I could, looking for ways to minimize waste, stopped driving so much, etc. Being a vegetarian doesn’t make me better than someone who eats meat. If I wanted to justify being that pretentious, I’d be a vegan hobo who has found some way to create literally no waste, and I can’t do that. However, I do think it’s a way of bettering myself. It’s not my earth to ruin, I’m living on borrowed land. It’s not about religion, it’s just about recognizing our responsibilities to the rest of the world.

If you’re interested in trying out vegetarianism, or even flexitarianism (mostly vegetarian, occasional meat products), it really isn’t that hard. I know everyone says that, but that’s because it’s true. DS makes it easy- every station has a vegetarian option, every meal, every day. The seitan is always fantastic, too. Try it for one meal. Eat just cheese pizza and cherry pie if you want, but I promise, broccoli isn’t that scary. Try Meatless Mondays. If you need inspiration, just think about what’s in hot dogs. That’s right, think about it. Mmm.

You won’t be alone, either. There’s a new club in the works at Concordia- “The Vegheads”. We’ve just been approved and we’re excited to start up next year. Come check us out.

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Naomi Swanson

Vocal Music Ed. student at Concordia College ('17) Mainly concerned with social justice and sarcasm.

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