Camila Isela" />
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Friday, December 8, 2023


Vegetarian ideas should be respected

A cute cow looks nervously at the viewer while holding a knife and fork

Lily Huynh/The Cougar

When hearing the words vegetarian or vegan, several things likely pop into your head. Non-meat eaters tend to get made fun of a lot, but maybe there is more you should consider before going for that easy joke.

Even if you’ve overlooked vegetarian or vegan ideas in the past, you should consider whether you’re simply holding onto past ideas.

Eating meat has become normalized in almost every culture around the world, but have you ever thought of why? Why is it that we eat the carcasses of dead animals, and how do we choose which specific animals are “okay” to eat?

I will admit, a Chick-fil-A sandwich really hits the spot sometimes, and as a Mexican so does the carne asada, but just because something tastes good, does that make eating it okay? 

The answer to that might seem obvious to you, but one of the things this generation is known for is trying to fix mistakes made by past generations. 

Meat is a limited resource. It’s far from the most sustainable food source, and meat production is not cheap, so why do we eat so much of it? Meat eating has been so normalized that few people rarely stop to consider exactly why we do it.

For starters, meat-eating is not planet-friendly. In fact, meat production is one of the highest contributors to global warming. The United States emits more greenhouse gases than anywhere else in the world, and more than half of them are produced by the meat industry.

But beyond the environmental impact, meat-eating is inherently cruel no matter how you justify it. The animals used for meat production are not only brutally slaughtered; many live the entirety of their lives in dark and sickening conditions.

These animals are born into a living hell. They are fed and injected with anything that will make them fatter since fatter animals help the factory farms make more profits. Not only does this process lead to horrible short lives for the animals, but it also poisons the meat that your body consumes.

These animals are born and bred to be murdered, and for what? A burger? Now imagine if it was your dog or cat being treated like this. While it can be easy to shame people who eat animals you deem unfit to be eaten, is eating a pig or cow more ethical?

The truth is, some people decided thousands of years ago which animals would be okay to kill and we still blindly follow those ideas. It can be easy to say that’s how we have always done things, but learning from the past is how we grow as people.

Next time you bite into a piece of meat, you should take some time to really think about what you are consuming and if it is the best decision for you, the animals of this world or the planet.

 Animals feel emotions, too, and deserve a chance at a good life. 

Whether you agree with them or not, vegetarians have a lot of reasons for believing what they believe and deserve to be respected. For many, like freshman psychology major Alex Heileger, the constant jokes about “plants having feelings, too” can take a toll.

“It’s kind of exhausting having people judge you for a choice you’re making in your own lifestyle, especially when you’re not criticizing theirs,” Heileger said. 

At the end of the day, it can be too easy to impulsively react to vegan and vegetarian ideas without really considering how your remarks hurt people. Not every vegetarian believes the same thing, and most of us are simply trying to make the best choice for ourselves.

Camila Isela is a Journalism freshman who can be reached at
[email protected]m

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