My Current Relationship With Eating Animals

by - 12:00

This was literally me up until about a month ago: like Lisa Simpson I felt conflicted about the fact that I consumed and enjoyed meat (no veggie/vegan is denying that meat tastes good!) but also considered myself to be a compassionate lover of animals. I was struggling internally with the fact that it really doesn't make sense for the two to go hand-in-hand and I knew I needed to make a change. Today I'm reflecting on where I've got to in my personal journey through what can be confusing, morally-questioning and sometimes controversial territory.
There is no denying that we, especially in the Western world, eat too much meat. Humans do not need to eat meat every day to stay healthy, and especially not as much as many people consume. The protein and iron found in meat can be found in other sources (plant based and otherwise) and too many people rely on meat to be the center of one or more of their every day meals. It's not doing their body, the animals or the earth any favours and it's time for some positive change.
An example of  intensive chicken farming. Conditions are dire with many birds having health problems and being unable to stand due to their inbred nature, the administration of steroids and artificial day light causing them to eat more than is natural.  
Image courtesy of Oikeutta eläimillon Flickr
The following arguments that I'm going to respond to are ones that I've posed against myself in the last few months as I've wrestled with my inner morals and tried to discover how I really feel about the subject of meat eating. These arguments, however, are also ones that a lot of uneducated people may ask, either simply because they don't know or because they are struggling with the same question of morals.
But where will your protein come from?
Okay, this argument lasted about 0.01 seconds in my head because, come on, you'd have to be really ignorant to think that animal flesh is the only source of protein. I'm not even going to elaborate on this because if you know, you know and if you don't....Google it.

File:Calf head, Stodmarsh, Kent, England.jpg
Image courtesy of Kevin Law on Flick

Okay, fine, but we need vitamin B12 to live! And that's ONLY found in animal products!
Firstly, a human is yet to die from B12 deficiency. And there are plenty of other health problems that come from eating meat and animal products, including life-threatening illlnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Secondly, if you are a vegetarian, you can get your source of B12 from dairy and eggs - so no qualms there. If you're a vegan, there are multiple supplements you can take which allow you to function best without needing to consume animals.

I don't think we were not designed to eat meat or animal products, far from it. I think that it was the only way we could survive before modern technology and global connections allowed us to get the nutrients we needed from other sources. Yes, the vitamin B12 is important for good health and it is only found naturally in animal products, but the problem is that we are abusing the system, and consuming animal products is no longer necessary. 
Animals are suffering, the earth is suffering trying to raise them and there are even a number of populations who are suffering by sending their hard-grown crops just to feed cattle, not even themselves or other people. The system has gotten out of control, and the most effective way to fight it is not to feed it.

But my meat comes from a RSPCA/Red Tractor approved farm! So it's had a good life, and has died humanely.
The system is messed up, factory farming is still existent and just because there is a Red Tractor or RSPCA approved food stamp on the sausages you bought, it doesn't mean that the pig that died to make them was living a normal happy life and died instantly and painlessly. It just means it wasn't tortured as much as farmers and slaughter houses used to be able to get away with.
Do you really believe that any animal wants to die? Do you actually know how they treat and kill the animals that make it onto our dinner plate? If you don't, you should look. There are plenty of videos. If you can still stomach eating that burger on your plate afterwards, then you're kind of a sadist. Sorry.
I've struggled for a while with the concept of meat, and have questioned how I can look at a baby cow/pig/sheep and think how cute and pure it is, yet continue to eat it. It's kind of weird, you have to admit. A lot of people don't just look at animals objectively any more, we feel compassion for them and have realised that they comprehend a lot more than we may have previously given them credit for. 

What about Veganism?
I love the vegan-plant based diet (and love watching the 'Vegan What I Eat In A Day' videos on Youtube) but I think I would find it impossible right now, as I am just settling into a diet without meat. I do, however, believe that that is the next step, and there are tons of benefits that come from making it.
I think it's unrealistic to expect everyone to become a veggie/vegan, but it's very important that the average meat intake by the general population, especially in the West, reduces significantly.
If anyone reading this felt uncomfortable or angry about what they were reading, maybe it's a sign that you need to do a bit more research into the meat industry. Surprisingly, everybody enjoys having their bacon sandwich, burgers and roast chicken, but very few people enjoy watching the process of how it gets to their plate. 
We have become desensitised to it because all we do is pick up a lump of red or pink meat which is, usually, disconnected from any body part we could associate with ourselves or the animal it came from. Maybe if we had to raise and kill the animals we eat ourselves, we wouldn't be so keen to eat them. 
My advice to you is this: don't be ignorant - educate yourself. Then make a decision. Going veggie/vegan isn't easy, but there are so many beneficial outcomes of eating less/no meat/animal products. You'll be helping the earth, ending the suffering of animals and doing your body and mind a massive favour.
For me, the biggest benefit has been spiritual. I was constantly having an inner battle with myself, because I love animals, but was continuing to eat their flesh and contribute to a world which exploits them. I was signing the petition to end the Yulin dog-eating festival but still eating chicken wings and lamb chops. 
I'd love to hear others opinons on this, and what it was that made them finally decide to go veggie/vegan. I've always believed in being my best self, and I think that going veggie is one step closer to getting there.
Stay inspired,

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  1. I eat very little meat - and only if someone else had made it for me. Otherwise Ipretty much cut it out altogether. I've chosen not to be vegetarian because I don't want to impose rules on myself (but fully respect those who do and understand that is about far more than just rules to a diet choice!). I also feel that it would be impractical for me to be vegan. That all said though, I do feel there are good ethical and ecological reasons for our population to cut down on animal product consumption - we have plenty of alternatives nowadays and we should take advantage of that.
    (Just as a little aside, although B12 deficiency may not be fatal, it can cause permanent nerve damage - so it is important to get enough!)
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. I think the reason why so many people (including myself!) find it difficult to not eat meat/animal products is because it does require some active preparation and planning to make sure you are getting enough of everything.

      I feel like if I lived somewhere with an abundance of locally grown fruit and veg I would find it much easier to be vegan as I would feel more in touch with the land - if that makes sense?

      Thanks for sharing your view :) (and yes, it's definitely important to get B12 from somewhere! Whether it's through an animal product or a supplement)

      Georgie xo

  2. I've been vegetarian for about 7/8 years now, and I don't think I could ever go back. Equally though I understand that it isn't for everyone, but I very much agree with you in the sense that people should become less reliant on cooking with meat. It's not about being forced to not eat it, but for the case of the environment alone people should be controlling their intake. My boyfriend comes from a hardcore meat family, and eats vegetarian with me a few times a week. So if he can do it then anyone else can!

    Emma x

    1. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course - and people will eat little/no meat for different reasons. But I think our society has become very reliant on it!

      I'm in the same situation with my boyfriend! There are loads of great veggie meals you can make that can be enjoyed by everyone, and that's what I love :)

      Thanks for commenting!
      Georgie xo

  3. Congrats! I've been veggie for 8+ years and it's amazing. The food is delicious, it opened my eyes to things I never tried before, I feel better and happier.

    1. That's amazing! I hope I can say the same one day. I've just found that I eat such a wider variety of foods, and naturally eat healthier!

      Thanks for stopping by :)
      Georgie xo