I am a keen omnivore. Apart from a brief spell in primary school when I got somehow targeted by The Vegetarian Society, I have never considered vegetarianism a choice that spoke to me. Veganism was a very far-off idea – the only vegan I knew was the class bully who would share gory stories that she’d heard about abbatoirs and sheep-shearing with whomever was in earshot. Back to the present, and vegans and vegetarians punctuate my everyday experiences in Blogland, and the issue has become very interesting to me again.
I’m really quite ambivalent when it comes to veganism and vegetarianism. On the one hand, if you believe that killing/using animals for food and/or clothing is wrong, then it 100% makes sense. I have a lot of respect for people with such strong convictions. Even if you just think it’s gross, or you feel that your diet is healthier without the saturated fat that inevitably comes with animal proteins – those are really excellent reasons to seek out the green tick on your food packaging.
However, I feel less confident about veganism and vegetarianism as methods of improving animal welfare. I guess I feel that more can be achieved by staying within any “system” and working to improve it, than opting out. When people abstain from voting because all politicians are corrupt anyway, I feel that they are simply handing over the power to other people – usually those who care about very different issues.
I feel like I have a vote to give and I want that to go to farmers who live near me, treating their animals well. If I can help keep their business going, then maybe it’ll become so successful that it’ll close down the farm where they overcrowd the chickens and cut their beaks off.
I love schemes like meat-free Monday, in which we are encouraged to have a day a week when we don’t eat any animal products. I know that they can be seen as gimmicky, but I believe they have a positive effect. If you take the money you’d spend on that extra day’s meat and spend it on better quality, more ethically-sourced meals throughout the rest of the week, then you’re doing more good than you were before.
Are you an omnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan? What led you to make that decision? Do you think that anything that could sway you to the “other side”?