The Journey to Vegetarianism/Veganism
I've been semi-vegetarian for a number of years. Cutting out crab and lobster, then pork. I did go full vegetarian some days while consuming meat on others. I don't particularly like dairy products either. I've always wanted to just go ahead and be a full-time vegetarian or even vegans some day. However, the way society is today, it's not convenient and I admit some of it is due to the fact that I'm lazy. It's way too easy, familiar and convenient to eat meat.
So after reading some animal cruelty news I was upset for several days even breaking down and crying several times on the first day. I needed to go and hug my furkids for comfort. Although I did eat meat at the time, I could not understand why people had to be needlessly cruel. If you are going to consume or use animal products, shouldn't you be thanking them for giving up their lives for YOU? Even if you don't thank them, shouldn't you at least kill them humanely with the least amount of suffering?
I've since stopped eating meat and have been scouring for information about meat alternatives. Through my browsing, it appears that a lot of the vegan sites are almost fanatic in their approach. They give a sense to the general public that they are on par with religious zealots and cults. Because of this, I find if you tell people you are vegan, they start distancing themselves from you or they tell you you're nuts. The use of scare tactics about factory farming actually do not deter people from eating meat. Perhaps because it's so disturbing, they chose to shut their eyes and ears and pretend it doesn't exist. They can't draw the parallel between what happens in the process and the dish of meat on their table.
Nevertheless because of this general perception and public mentality, I find it difficult to explain to others what led me down this path. Even my own father thinks I'm nuts. He thinks I got a very bad case of anthropomorphism. To him, animals are animals and they don't feel pain or suffer on the same level as humans do.
After reading that article, I went to my father for one of our philosophy chats. He felt I took it way too personally because I was so very sad and felt helpless that I couldn't do anything to help the poor animals. However, he did give me some guidance. Although I couldn't do anything about those animals, I could look closer and do something with my own life like join a local group or forum of animal minded people. The next day it hit me that I couldn't control what others thought or did, but I could control myself and that's why I decided to at least go full vegetarian.
Right now, I'm still trying to find my balance. I'm not sure how far I want to go. Stay vegetarian or go vegan? It would be even more difficult to go vegan because there are so many hidden animal ingredients in every day products. I think I might take it one step at a time. Just go vegetarian for a while to see how it meshes with my lifestyle. I find it difficult as I'm inbetween two cultures where one of them is very pro-meat/seafood. I'm not used to salads and if I have it several days in succesion, I feel nauseous.
Are any of you vegetarian/vegan and how do you integrate with society?