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March 29 – My husband and I began eating less meat about fifteen years ago. Prior to that, because I didn’t know how not eating meat would affect my children’s growth, I served meat most nights. Once they had entered their teens, I felt free to begin cutting back. It was a very gradual process, but by the time my daughter graduated from high school, I think we were eating chicken twice a week, and pizza with pepperoni one night a week. I’d essentially eliminated beef somewhere during the transition. For the next five years, that’s where we remained stuck. During this interval, my son informed me one day that he was becoming a vegetarian. He’d seen a movie at school that had shocked him, and he decided he couldn’t bear to eat it anymore. A year later, he’d become a vegan, which – greatly to his credit – he remained for six years. He missed eating cheese terribly, which caused him to decide that vegetarianism was the best way of eating for him.
The odd thing is, I can’t really recall what caused me to make the final transition to vegetarianism. I suspect it had to do with having insufficient reason to continue eating meat. Initially, I cooked meat for my husband as often as I had been doing. That went by the wayside, as you might suspect, because I grew tired of preparing two different meals, even if one of them was only a big salad. What I won’t fix for him at home, he makes up for when we eat out.
I do know that my knowledge about agribusiness had grown, and I felt increasingly uncomfortable about the way animals are raised for slaughter in this country.
Even then, however, I didn’t realize how detrimental to our planet’s health factory-style animal husbandry was. I heard about isolated “accidents” that happened: fish kills, people dying of e.coli and listeria, mad cow disease. I never realized that the water used raising feedstock for millions of animals was making major inroads into our supply of readily available drinking water. I knew more antibiotics were fed to farm animals than were taken by sick human beings. Now I also know about “super bugs,” that even the most potent antibiotics cannot overcome, which have developed in response to the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.
Worst of all is the way animals are treated at factory farms. Well, no: the absolute worst is the fact that some animals are skinned and eviscerated while still alive at processing plants. Next to that, however, is the fact that mother animals are allowed no time at all with their young. Not chickens, not pigs, not cows. The fact that animals must live shoulder to shoulder in order to maximize profits. The fact that animals are covered with their own excrement. The fact that animals are shown no kindness, are never petted, are never spoken to. Not chickens, not pigs, not cows.
Why would I want to support this living hell human beings have created in obeisance to the almighty dollar? Were I to buy the products extracted by means of mechanized brutality, I would be saying that the suffering of millions of animals was acceptable to me. I would be nodding in agreement with those who say that the contribution of 18% of the atmosphere’s methane by farm animals is really not a serious matter at all. I would be admitting profound ignorance of the fact that millions of farm animals and billions of people is much too much of both.
If this article rouses your concern, please learn more about why we must eat far less meat by reading The Food Revolution, by John Robbins. No one should try to become vegetarian overnight. Start by eating meat six nights a week instead of seven. Even if you stopped there – and I sincerely hope you do not – it would make a small
difference. Every single journey ever taken has started with the first small step. Who can say where that first step may lead? Toward a more humane world? It could!!


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