Vegetarianism | Teen Ink


August 15, 2008
By adlyn GOLD, Tolono, Illinois
adlyn GOLD, Tolono, Illinois
10 articles 0 photos 1 comment

I'm a fairly new vegetarian, but I don't have any intentions to revert to meat eating. I haven't eaten meat (which does include fish and chicken, mind you) for over 6 months and I'm not tempted to at all.

When I first became a vegetarian, I felt it was necessary to let my friends know that I wanted to do this so that there would be no awkward moments later when I'm offered a hotdog, etc. A lot of my friends told me that I was just doing it for attention and to be "different." Many guranteed that I wouldn't stick with it.

I have stuck with it as long as I have because I chose this lifestyle for a reason. I saw so many terrible things done in slaughterhouses. Obviously, I had always known that hamburgers were in fact dead cows... but the meaning of that never really sunk in until recently.

As a society, we are systematically killing thousands of animals, living creatures, for the sole purpose of fulfilling our appetite. Notice I said appetite and not hunger. In much of America and other developed countries, it is entirely possible to live healthy without killing animals. (I realize in poorer countries, the livestock raised on their land may be their only diet. I respect that. In their case, it is survival and I would never deny a human their right to survive).

We are not like the lions or the wolves. We do not have an innate predatoral desire to kill and eat meat. And yet, we continue to eat meat.
This is where we are greatly separated from the carnivores. The lions and the wolves, and all other carnivores of our world, eat meat for survival. They kill because that is the only food they know how to obtain and that their digestive systems understand how to consume.
They hunt for all of their food and never take more than is necessary.
Whereas we breed, raise, and slaughter animals in hundreds of factory farms across the world. Think about that. We raise animals for the sole purpose of killing them. But that's not all, many of the meat produced is wasted. A life entirely wasted.

I also oppose eating meat because of the hypocrisy of meat eaters. There are animals that we will eat, and there are animals that we would never even think of eating. We'll happily scarf down a juicy dead cow, but the thought of eating a dog or cat will make us lose our appetite. Nobody wants to eat poor Fido, his life is more important than any cow, pig, or chicken's. But why?
Why do we "rank" animals in this way?

And it's not even like there is some kind of universal list of consumable animals.
In Western countries, we love beef and pork. Yet in many Eastern Asian countries, cows are sacred and pork is unclean.
We have laws protecting dogs and cats from slaughter, yet it is known that some Asian countries have no such protection and dogs may very well be eaten.
How do we decide which animals we will eat and which we will not? There is no way to do this justly. The rules of consumption are made without meaning or reason and yet society follows them so devoutly.

Coming back to the point I was making earlier. In most developed countries, a vegetarian diet is completely possible and healthy. And so eating meat is no longer a means to survive. I believe that meat eating has outlived itself and is an anachronism to our time. Continuing to support the slaughter of animals when it is entirely unnecessary can be considered a sadism of sorts.
If we define sadism as a satisfaction derived from inflicting pain or harm on an individual, then meat eating in our society does apply to this. We cause pain and death for living creatures simply for our own satisfaction.

Now please don't mistake what I'm saying. I do believe that when your life is put against the life of another creature (human or not), your own survival should be the only thing that matters. Some people have made a passtime out of asking me "What If?" questions that usually involve Eating Meat vs. Starving to Death.
If I starve to death, I can't do much good in future so of course at that moment, all morals and ethics go out the window.

There ya go. I have reasons for my vegetarianism. I don't do it for attention or to be "different." I do it because I am passionate about the life of other earthlings. I refuse to eat meat because I don't believe it's necessary.

I dare each of you reading this to attempt a vegetarian diet for one week. Easy enough.
I dropped meat in one day and haven't tasted it for over half of a year.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece around six months ago, and I am still living healthy and meat-free.

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This article has 7 comments.

on Jul. 26 2021 at 4:42 pm
WolfGurl PLATINUM, Not A Real Place, Indiana
20 articles 5 photos 177 comments

Favorite Quote:
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. –Anatole France.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. –Josh Billings

Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.- George Carlin

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never lose. Either win, or learn. - Me


on Jun. 26 2011 at 2:18 am
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I agree with some of the points you have made, but unfortunately, there are some things I have to disagree with.


First of all, we as humans do have a distinct craving for meat, which is why we are classified as omnivores, but that is just not the only thing we eat. We have a crazing for meat as well as vegetarian food items.

Second, continuing to support slaughter of animals is most definitely not sadism. You may be taking it to the extreme by saying that, because we don't inflict paint on the animals whilst killing them. And it's not like we laugh when they die or something.

The food chain was set up a certain way, with us being at the top. Evolution has made humans the dominant species over all other animals. That's just the way it is.

on Sep. 23 2010 at 6:51 pm
guinea_pig_girl BRONZE, Centennial, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 23 comments
I think what the author was trying to say is that cows and pigs could just as easily be pets as cats and dogs, so why do we eat the cows but not the dogs?  I do not expect the meat industry to suddenly vanish, either, however, the procedures used in the slaughterhouses can and should be changed.  I understand that we can get some nutrients solely from meat.  Those nutrients must not be very essential because my family and I are all vegetarians and all healthy and strong.  We can as humans survive very healthfully without meat as a part of our diets.  This is a very controversial topic and I appreciate both the article and your point of view.

on May. 26 2010 at 4:56 am
lalalalalla PAYASO.

on Feb. 27 2010 at 4:34 pm
SarClark BRONZE, NC, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 534 comments
I really like your points, I've thought of all that before.

I get super attatched to any animal I come in contact with... it's like some empathy problem. What goes on in slaughter houses makes me really sad... good job on this!

megannnwow said...
on Jan. 14 2009 at 2:13 pm
Just to comment on your bit about "ranking" animals...

In American society, animals such as dogs or cats are domesticated pets. They aren't at a higher "rank", but are rather placed at a higher level of emotional attachment because they are pets.

Also, the meat industry is almost undeniable past the point of no return. For it's use in the United States, as well as an export (I'm not really sure of how predominate the latter is) it provides thousands of jobs and is a huge piece of the American diet. And unless you are a vegan, the reasons you state for become vegetarian are slightly hypocritical, as animals suffer greatly when we obtain their products i.e. cows milk, chickens eggs, etc.

What's more, meat does provide nutrients that cannot be salvaged through other foods, only synthetic substance. The caloric value it also provides would be hard for many people to make up if it was banned from their diets.

This isn't meant to be insulting, your facts are just somewhat transparent. I am also vegetarian, simply for the health value, not as a stand against the meat industry or a stand for animal rights. What you're doing is admirable, but doesn't necessarily accomplish what you're thinking it is.

SamE said...
on Aug. 24 2008 at 12:57 am
Very interesting article. I've been a vegetarian for roughly 6 years and feel the same way.