My name is Keith. I live in Pennsylvania. I am 6 years old and I am homeschooled. When I was a baby, my parents and I ate meat. My daddy stopped eating meat because my daddy, my mommy and I went to a place where animals got butchered and daddy saw cows in a pen waiting to be killed. He saw the big cow eyes and he thought that it was sad to have cows killed. And so my daddy didn’t eat meat, but my mommy and I kept eating meat. One day my mommy was watching a show about hunters killing bears and she didn’t like to see the bears getting killed. So me and my mommy didn’t eat meat anymore either. I was 2 years old when we stopped eating meat. We started to eat vegetarian food. We ate eggs, milk, and cheese still. As I grew older, I didn’t like seeing animals killed either. When I was 4 years old we decided to stop eating dairy foods, milk, cheese, and eggs. We started to eat vegan foods. At first I missed eating pizza, marshmallows, and Lucky Charms cereal. But now that I am 6 my mom makes vegan pizza, marshmallows without gelatin, and I have a new favorite cereal. My brother is 4 years old and he never ate meat. My sisters are 2 years old and 10 months old and they never ate meat, dairy, milk, or eggs. I have lots of energy and I like to play and I don’t get sick. Animals are our friends and were not made to be killed.
A burger or fried chicken for lunch? Yuck! No way! Please pass me the salad instead. Hi, my name is Morgan Jacobs, and I decided to be a vegetarian because I love all animals. I have read and seen pictures of what happens to animals that are raised for their meat. It makes me so sad. Baby cows and chickens live their short lives in pens that are way too small for them. They have no room to move. This is so cruel. They suffer and do not get to enjoy their lives.
I also don’t like that other animals that also only live to be eaten by people endure cruel treatment while they are alive and in the way they are killed. I feel sorry for them.
The best thing about being a vegetarian is all the tasty and healthy foods I eat. Vegetables and fruits are healthy for your body. Plus, I think they taste better than meat.
Oranges have vitamin C. I love the taste of watermelon, peaches, and strawberries. Green vegetables like bok choy make me feel strong. I enjoy drinking lots of soymilk to give my bones calcium.
I have a life threatening allergy to nuts, seeds, and peanuts, so I eat soy butter to get my protein!
I believe in being kind and loving to people and animals, being good to the earth, and respecting life, including animals!
It amazes me that most people are able to consume meat without thinking about the animal it recently was. We can look at a hamburger and see only a juicy, delicious American classic, not a fellow creature’s suffering.
I am a vegetarian because I can’t put animals on one side of my brain and their cooked bodies on the other without connecting the two. When I see my father carving Thanksgiving dinner, I see the meat for what it is: the beheaded and disemboweled corpse of a specific turkey who was alive only days ago. I used to eat meat, but I had to make a conscious effort not to think about its source. I became less and less successful at this deception, and eventually I refused to eat meat altogether. Deciding to go vegetarian was as simple as making the connections that others refuse to think about until they find a blood vessel in a chicken nugget or have to dissect a cow’s eye.
Going vegetarian is as simple as realizing that meat comes from real animals. Even the neatly packaged meat at the supermarket is the muscle tissue of animals who were cruelly raised and slaughtered. The storybook image of a farm—a few cows grazing, perhaps with a cheery red barn in the distance—isn’t accurate anymore. These days, many farm animals spend their lives in cramped cages on what have become known as factory farms. Efficiency is what counts there—not humane treatment. Animals are given as little space as possible. For cows and pigs, this often isn’t enough to turn around! After their brief lives at the “factories,” the animals are crammed into trucks. Many are injured or die slowly on the way to the “processing plants” where they are killed. Although pigs and cattle are supposed to be stunned before their throats are slit, reports say that some animals are fully conscious as they hang upside-down on conveyor belts, draining. Is a cheeseburger really worth this suffering?
Unfortunately, the problem is so far removed from our everyday life that most people just don’t care. We don’t have to look into the animals’ eyes as they die; we don’t even have to know who they were or what they went through. For more people to switch to a vegetarian diet, we will all have to think about—and care about—gruesome events taking place hundreds of miles away. Since that’s not very much fun, it will be hard to effect this change in thinking. But we must make the effort, even if it seems futile sometimes, because we cannot allow the atrocities hidden in the farming industry to continue. Eating meat can no more be a “choice” than can murder. I hope that in eighty years, my grandchildren will be shocked to learn that you could get meat in a regular grocery store when I was little.
Sometimes it can be difficult to be a vegetarian, but for me, finding food to eat isn’t the problem. Instead, the challenges lie in social situations. I am often the first vegetarian someone has met, so I feel a lot of pressure to give a good impression of vegetarians. I have to make sure that I don’t insult my friends when I disagree with them and that I am polite when answering rather unreasonable arguments such as, “Vegetables can feel pain, too.” and “But the animals are dead when we eat them!” At the same time, I want to make my beliefs known and educate others about how animals are treated. Balancing tact and activism can be hard, because although I don’t think anyone should eat meat, I realize that an angry approach won’t help.
All in all, though, I think that the advantages of being a vegetarian far outweigh the sometimes onerous responsibilities. By giving up meat I have ended my direct contribution to one of the worst forms of cruelty in all of history. I know that what I am doing is making a difference, and that eventually compassion and justice will prevail.
The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.
Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.
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