Counterpoint: I eat meat.

Allison Lazarus

By Xanni Brown ’10, Lighter Fare Section Editor

I am not a vegetarian, but I would never describe myself as a carnivore.  I eat meat because it’s delicious and full of protein (well, mostly because it’s delicious).  As far as I am concerned, the natural order of life means people can eat whatever they want.  And sometimes, people want a hamburger.

It’s not that there is anything unnatural about vegetables.  Frequently, vegetarianism or pescetarianism are very healthy dietary choices, and I think most people could stand to eat a little less meat.  However, I think that imposing vegetarianism as an unbreakable set of rules is unnecessarily restrictive.  If someone doesn’t want to eat meat, that’s super, but if they change their mind at some point and want a hot dog, I don’t think that they should deprive themself just because they have spent the last week or month or year without eating meat.

I respect the willpower it takes to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle; I just think it’s misdirected.  It seems like some vegetarians are just imposing restrictions for the sake of having to follow them, rather than out of any genuine conviction.  If you want to set a dietary challenges for yourself, wouldn’t cutting out desserts be a healthier choice than eschewing meat?

However, many vegetarians have grander motives.  Some religions teach abstinence from meat, and I think that following those sorts of rules is admirable, since their not wantonly self-imposed.  On the other hand, a frequent motive for vegetarianism is militant animal rights activism.  There is only one type of person more annoying than those that-chicken-used-to-be-a-pet-I-bet-they-called-him-Billy-until-they-had-to-sell-him-when-the-economy-crashed-are-you-really-going-to-eat-Billy vegetarians and that is the gun-toting xenophobes who think anyone who doesn’t eat meat spends their free time throwing paint on fur coats.

Whether we value vegetarianism or not, it is a valid and in many ways admirable life style choice.  However, it is erroneous to make assumptions about a person’s beliefs because ultimately, vegetarianism is about what someone eats, not what someone is.  I may disagree with many of the common motives behind vegetarianism, but I can still coexist with them quite happily.  Both sides of this dietary schism need to lighten up a little bit – it’s only food.

Photo courtesy of Clip Art.