What should we eat, meat or vegetables?

No need to defeat the meat

By: Ashton Cermack

Being alive in this day and age is a truly great facet of modern life. We’ve come a long way from being the atavistic hunters & gatherers whose original social networking site was a cave wall. Now, we have others to hunt and gather for us, but that doesn’t sit right with everyone. These dissenters are primarily of the vegan and/or vegetarian persuasion.

Well, I’ve got an inconvenient warning for you plant enthusiasts, and if this should reach anyone from PETA, then this goes double for you pests…The current economic situation dictates, theoretically, that eating meat would help our national finances. Think about it, most of the lettuce consumed in the U.S. is grown in South America, in fact a great deal of the vegetables consumed in this country are grown elsewhere. Most of the meat consumed in the U.S. is raised domestically. You buy American meat, an American farmer gets paid, and plus its summer time…don’t grill me an onion or a squash, I want to hear a sizzle like only dead flesh can provide.

Allow me to force your train of thought off the rails. They say you are what you eat, and nobody likes a couch potato or a vegetable, especially if you have to wipe the drool from its chin after it spent a lifetime missing out on essential vitamins and amino acids that it could have ingested had it just decided to eat something that once enjoyed the pleasantries of a green pasture.

Is it any coincidence that so many vegans are mistaken for junkies? They are so thin, sick, frail…and they are always on street corners too, usually protesting, but on the streets none the less. I recall a few months back walking out of El Gaucho, an Argentinean steak house in Seattle, and walking right into a team of these PETA zombies. “You know meat is murder, right?” one of them spouted at me. I took off my dinner jacket to reveal a t-shirt that read “meat is murder…tasty, tasty murder.”

The pack leader produced a look of shock from behind his beard and glasses, and rightly so. Having instigated an awkward moment, I figured I could be on my way sooner and avoid any of his ‘PETA-gandist’ literature if I just told him the needle exchange he was looking for was next to the old slaughter house. He didn’t take lightly to that…but dammit, I love steak too much to let some guy who still thinks bok choy is the elixir of life, get between me and good protein induced food coma. To hell with your advocacy of chlorophyll, I want my dinner plate soaked with more red than a riot in Tiananmen Square.

One of our nation’s greatest founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, ate so much meat during his life that by the time he signed the declaration of independence, his feet were wrapped in bandages thanks to excruciating pain as a consequence of severe gout, a condition resulting from too much protein consumption leading to a buildup of uric acid I the body’s joints that eventually crystallizes and tears your cartilage to the consistency of ground beef.

So to all you crusaders of the eggplant armada, I have only one question to pose in your general direction…if we aren’t supposed to eat animals, why do animals eat animals?

Don’t let PETA put you off

By: Annelise Rolander

Before I begin arguing the merits of vegetarianism, I’d like you to mentally picture a geyser. Think Old Faithful. Now, if you can, please imagine that instead of hot springs and water vapor erupting from the surface of earth, it is pig feces—towering, thirty foot sprays of pig feces—caused by the irresponsible practices of the meat industry. In his book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” comedian-turned-Senator-elect of Minnesota Al Franken described how the consolidation of the meat industry into large factory farms has had an adverse effect on the environment, causing large amounts of excrement to occasionally spring from the ground near the site of the farms.

Though the image is grotesque, it highlights a troubling aspect of our country’s meat consumption. With the industrialization of farming, small family farms have been replaced by large, powerful factory farms. Sure, factory farms have driven down the cost of meat, but they also serve as smelly, inhumane breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases. Although there are standards set by the government intended to regulate industrial farms, Big Meat’s lobby in Washington is powerful enough to ensure that most times, the inspectors look the other way.

Inside these farms, the animals are stuffed into pens so small; they cannot turn or even lay down. The look of sheer misery of these animals is palpable on a fundamental level, one that cannot be mistaken for mere anthropomorphization. To ascribe rights and privileges to animals called “pets” while systematically torturing and destroying other animals called “food” is probably one of our culture’s most bizarre moral hypocrisies.

So what’s the solution? Well, you could always cut meat from your diet entirely.

Although it sounds drastic and difficult, it actually isn’t. Since giving up meat, I haven’t ever looked back. Preparing meals is simple, cheap, and usually involves little more than washing and chopping some vegetables or opening a can of beans. Eating at restaurants isn’t an issue because there are always at least a few vegetarian options, or you can ask to leave off the meat. But what has really sold me on vegetarianism is how much better I feel. I have much more energy, plus I’ve lost weight. You can’t argue with results.

A lot of meat eaters like to argue that meat is essential to the human diet, and that vegetarians are skinny and pale because they don’t eat the “delicious” corpses of animals. They are wrong. Protein is essential to the diet, and eating dead animals is just one of many ways to get it. Dairy, nuts, beans, legumes, and soy are all excellent sources of protein. But the chances are, you don’t need to worry about protein; the average American diet actually contains too much of it. It’s quite a significant part of why an ever-increasing number of Americans are starting to resemble the livestock they love to eat.

I fully realize that, as humans, we are animals, and animals eat other animals. It’s a natural occurrence, one that has taken place since the dawn of time. Who am I to tell a pack of hyenas to stop hunting a gazelle, just because it offends my delicate vegetarian sensibilities? But that’s as far as the meat eater’s analogy goes. You never see a pack of hyenas systematically raise and slaughter hundreds of thousands of gazelle for their own consumption. There is no part of the African sierra where the soil has been rendered infertile by the factory farming of gazelles by hyenas. And I’ve certainly never seen a single hyena that has grown super-morbidly obese from gorging on the flesh of dead gazelle.

In the argument of meat versus vegetarianism, the latter is quite obviously the most ethical choice.  There’s a reason why most pro-meat arguments have to resort to appeals to your patriotism (“It’s the American way!), or your gender (“Real men/women eat meat!). There’s also a reason why people such as Einstein, Pythagoras, Kant, Gandhi and Lincoln were all vegetarians. As Thomas Edison once said, “Non-violence leads to the highest of ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming other living things, we are still savages.”