Why it's good to quit vegetarianism
For more than two and a half decades some members of my family have been wondering why I don't eat other living beings. They still think there's something wrong with me. For example, when I sneeze or catch a slight cold, they immediately conclude it is because I don't eat animals. Therefore, it would follow that people who eat animal products could never catch a cold, not to say any more serious illness. Of course, the truth is just the opposite. Still, even if eating animals was a prerequisite for perfect health, who in their right mind would want to be physically healthy in a sick world where it is acceptable to eat animals? And what is the real definition of health in this same world, where violence and aggression continue to be the main driving forces, although we no longer carry bludgeons in our hands, at least not those that can be seen?
When someone asks me why I don't eat meat/animals, what is there to answer except – because they are me. Those three bloody daily meals would not feed me. Because the power to molest and kill others is not a creative power of love but an utterly pitiful negation of life. Because in each animal, each child, each adult, there is a pulsation of blooming life, of desire for a fulfilled, happy existence. Each body cell yearns to stay here, feel the caress of the sun on the skin and the touch of the wind on the face, dive into dewy grass, and enjoy moving and running freely.
A photo of a carefree lamb hopping around the meadow brings a smile to your face with its beauty and pureness... Are its slaughtered, roasted and deliciously spicy meat on the plate and its palatable taste enough for you to keep forgetting who this very creature once was – unique, thirsty and hungry for its own life? If taste and habit outweigh acknowledging one's life, who are you then? Who is this person within you and what values do you stand for? How persistently can you forget and erase from your mind the fact that somewhere, far away, right now, at this blessed and precious moment, a knife is cutting someone's neck, and that someone is desperately fighting for another, last breath of life which is irreversibly and forever flowing out of the body, while unimaginable pain and horror replace that which could have stayed life... if you only decided differently, each day and at each meal?
I am not inviting you to become or stay vegetarian. Wouldn't it be precious to expand your horizons like you've never done before? Does it, at least sometimes, occur to you that each of these animals, of these forlorn and crushed lives, has a family, that there is a quivering bond between a child and a mother which is cut off only because they are the wrong species, just some other animals? While you are holding tightly your most precious treasure is there space in your heart and mind to realize that a calf, born only a second ago, kind and clumsy on its thin little legs, is its mother's most precious treasure? Can you recognize a parent just like yourself in her big kind eyes?
When someone asks me why I don't drink milk or eat eggs, what is there to answer except– because they are me. Because I know that my milk was meant as the first food for my child, and not a puppy, kitten, calf or a piglet. Because I know that an egg holds a possibility of a being that will become someone's child. The hen doesn't want to vegetate shoved in a cage; she doesn't believe she should "give" us her eggs. She doesn't want to live in a world in which her children, fluffy male chicks, are crushed alive minutes after being born, just because they can't "give" eggs. Every day I choose a world without degraded, tortured bodies and spilled blood. Look at them and, by choosing life for them, choose your own humaneness, dignity and respect for their unique lives and their right to breathe freely, just as you and me.