The meat debate

A growing number of people are becoming vegetarian. Whether it is for environmental, religious, or philosophical reasons, people are giving up meat. Though there are many reasons not to eat meat, meat eaters have one major point: meat tastes good. It’s hard to deny that meat substitutes, no matter how much they try to emulate a cut of succulent sirloin, or a beautiful hamburger, they don’t come close. I’ve sampled many meat substitutes, and they are somehow different. Tofu is often extremely poorly prepared, left cold and terribly under/overdone. The impossible meats try too hard to be close to meat, down to the scents, the grilling experience, and bleeding. For now, we don’t have meat substitutes that are perfect, and their imperfection makes them bland.

Meat takes much more resources per calorie to grow, including water, calories, fertilizers, and fossil fuels, as well as a whole slew of public health issues related to animal dung causing algae blooms. Another issue is that antibiotic resistant bacteria can originate in the cramped conditions that animals are raised in. Vegetables tend to be more ethical, in terms of the environment and morals. Our ocean’s waters have been chronically overfished, driving some species close to extinction, and aquaculture is far from perfect. With climate change, going vegetarian seems appealing.

There is a convincing ethical argument for going vegetarian. Pigs, lambs, chickens, and cows all have brains, and can feel pain like humans. There are some who think that farm animals could be pets if raised in different conditions. We are removed from the actual death of our food, and this can give us a removed perspective, where we don’t have to deal with the animals’ dying breaths. I am somewhat unfit to judge my choices of eating meat, because I have been withdrawn from the death of farm animals. 

Meat is not essential. We have plenty of alternatives for obtaining protein, but meat has been ingrained into our cuisine. It is hard to find good vegetarian options for most meals, and this tries vegetarians. Vegetarian cuisine can be excellent, but the complete absence of meat would be hard to achieve. Meat is here until some calamitous event or radical change occurs, but going vegetarian is an admiral choice. 

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