I stopped eating meat when I became aware of the vast environmental harm that was a direct result of animal agriculture. Through educating myself about climate change, I was offered many solutions, but none were satisfactory. I would see alarming statistics about climate change and the terrible consequences of it, but the solutions presented were seemingly negligent things like, “Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth” and “Take shorter showers”. They did not seem to match the magnitude of this threat to our very existence.
As I dug deeper, I wondered why no one was talking about how animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change. Some things are taught to us from an early age, like that eating meat is good. The more I learned, the weaker those justifications became. I decided that a personal commitment I could make to combat climate change was to stop eating meat. Originally, I thought of it as a sacrifice, but it hasn’t been. I don’t miss meat.
The health of the environment was the main reason I became vegetarian, but it was not the only one. Factory farms keep animals in cruel conditions. It is a life of suffering for these animals, until they are killed for profit. I did not want to play a part in that, and it shocks me when people learn about these things and still consume meat without a care.
I think one of the ways people justify eating the flesh of animals stems from an anthropocentric idea that animals are there to benefit us. That way of thinking strips animals of their personalities and the complex relationships they can form. The sooner we shift away from the belief that nothing has value outside of its relationship to us as humans, the sooner we will collectively stop eating dead animals.