Vegetarian Journal's
Essay Contest Winner


By Nimai C. Agarwal, 9 yrs

TO SAVE ANIMALS FROM being ruthlessly killed, to make earth a more natural place, to create peace and harmony in the world, this is what vegetarianism is about to me. Vegetarianism is good for both animals and humans alike. When we save animals from being mercilessly killed, nature flourishes, and when nature flourishes, humans live happily in peace. Here are some of the incidents that deepened my faith in vegetarianism.

I went to school when I was 5 years old. It was lunch break. We got our lunch bags, which were hanging on silver metal pegs. We knew which table was ours because our tables were assigned. I walked to my table with my lunch box. My table was dark red with brown chairs that had black spots. I sat on my chair and opened my Spiderman lunch box.

I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Right in front of me, there was a boy eating chicken, sitting at the same table as me. He was the tallest kid in my class. He put the piece of chicken in his mouth and then bit into it, while his mouth was open. It looked repulsive to me. "Close your mouth and eat," I said to him. This was the first time I saw someone eating meat so up close. I went home and discussed this with my parents. It really impacted me. I thought, "If animals killed humans for food, how would I feel?"

One hot afternoon, my mom, dad, and I went to Washington, DC, to see the Smithsonian Museum. I was walking around when I saw this video made by PETA at a booth they had set up. It showed how they kill animals in slaughterhouses. It caught my eye. The movie was very bloody and sad. I saw bleeding cows being tortured to death and beaks of chickens being cut off with burning iron. Seeing the movie made me think what pain the animals must be going through. That's why I am happy that I am a vegetarian.

Another problem with meat eating is that so much grain is wasted to feed one animal that will then be slaughtered. People are burning down huge forests and a lot of land to get more space to grown grains, which will be fed to animals, and then they will kill animals in slaughterhouses. One may fatten an animal a lot, but still one won't get a lot of food. One pound of meat requires 16 pounds of grains, which could feed many hungry people.

My whole family for generations has been vegetarian, and I was also brought up on a meatless diet. We believe that eating meat gives us bad karma. So, many families in India do not eat meat. Karma is the reaction of every action that we perform in our lives. So, if we perform good acts, we get good results, and if we do harm to others, we get harmed ourselves in this life or the next.

I like the taste of vegetarian food because it tastes so pure to me. Sometimes I help my mom make flatbreads. Some people think that if you are vegetarian then you don't have enough choices, but actually there are a lot of vegetarian preparations. One Sunday there was a festival in our temple, and there were exactly 108 preparations which were all vegetarian. So, that means that vegetarians have a lot of different preparations. I enjoyed the food that day and yet I was unable to taste everything.

My favorite foods are pizza, pasta, Indian flatbreads, Mexican cuisine, bread, and tomato juice. I also like fruits, such as apples, mangos, lychees, berries, and watermelons.

I am happy being vegetarian. I feel like I am saving so many animals, forests, and Mother Earth. I may not be able to go into the world and save animals, but this is my little contribution in trying to preserve the natural world in which I live.