Monday, August 11, 2008

I may be a vegetarian... but...

I've been a vegetarian since high school. I made the choice so long ago I have almost forgotten why I originally chose to forgo meats. At the time I attributed the change to a concern for our fellow animals. I am fairly sure now that it was a teenage rebellious act that somehow tied to our family tradition of grilling steaks after church every Sunday. I was probably asserting my independence by refusing to kill cows, Bambie and any other animal.

Over the years I've done a lot of reading about meat and fowl, how steaks and chickens gets from the ranch or farm to our tables and I've decided to continue on the path for health reasons more than any other reason. I also have a serious problem with the torture factor involved in mass-producing animals so we can eat a thick juicy steak or a leg of chicken. But these days that's a lesser factor than those related to health.

Just tossed that in so you'd understand that I'm probably a bit more understanding about those who cringe at the idea of killing an animal. However, my line doesn't go quite as far over as a large number of vegans. I believe animals were put here on earth for us to eat. I just don't happen to choose to do so in modern days given all that comes hidden inside the meat these days... and the way we "harvest" those animals.

I'm sharing all of that to lead up to something a friend sent me. It's a photo that might disgust some of you. I thought it was rather gross. PETA painted red-blood-looking stuff on a couple of people, wrapped them in clear plastic wrap and had them lay on the ground in front of a sign decrying what we do to meat.

At first I figured they were both mannequins. Not so. These poor people fried inside the plastic-wrap.

When I was younger I went to a few protests. I was young enough that I really didn't quite understand the issues. I listened to the propaganda and went along for the ride. Dumb in retrospect.

It didn't take long for me to figure out that protesting didn't really do anything other than make the other side dig their heels in a bit deeper. I figured that if I wanted to change the world I needed to learn more and to work from the inside. Of course, as I've gotten older and wiser, I've also discovered that many of those causes I championed in my college days weren't those that I now think should have been championed. If someone had pointed out the errors in the way I looked at things back then, I'd have dug MY heels in firmer.

Luckily, I'm a read-aholic and very willing to read both sides of issues.

I seriously doubt if anyone seeing the poor woman baking in the saran wrap decided to stop eating meat. Maybe some young impressionable kid or someone looking for a cause.

I do believe that our fellow human beings deserve more courtesy and caring than an animal. If you wouldn't wrap a cow in saran wrap and lay it on the side walk in the sun, then you certainly shouldn't expect someone who worked for you (or anyone for that matter) to do it either. The one difference between a cow and the people laying on the sidewalk is that the people made their own choice.

I understand the point the PETA folks are trying to make with the blood covered plastic-wrapped people. I just think there are more humane and less graphic ways to make a point. All it did for me was to bring home that fact that people sometimes have less respect for the other two-legged creatures inhabiting this earth than they do the four legged (or the two with wings ;-)

Here's the link:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/photos/2008/jun/05/59598/

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