Ever since I was little, I loved meat. In fact, I'm known in my family as one of the biggest meat lovers they know.
However, as I grew up, meat would make me sick sometimes, especially after thinking about those animals. But after each of those meals was done, the thought would slip my mind and I'd go back to meat again.
Then my daughter was born, and my perspective changed. What kind of life do I want for her?
I was never given a choice. Not eating meat in my environment is considered outlandish. No one ever even told me that not eating it was possible. In that same manner, I was never given a choice of religion since I was baptized before I could even talk.
I gave my daughter that option. So, why wouldn't I give her a chance to decide whether she wants to eat meat or not?
The Hypocrisy Of Eating Meat
You see, this is something I realized only recently.
Pigs are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet - more intelligent than dogs or cats, not to mention birds. But the thing is, we don't eat dogs or cats. We keep them as pets and provide them a loving life as long as they can stay with us. We give them superb medical care and all the space they need.
At the same time, pigs are often trapped in small enclosures, living out their entire lives on bad food, no space, and no sunshine. Chickens have it even worse - they are forced to live in tiny spaces and lay numerous eggs. Now, imagine being forced to give birth multiple times a day.
These animals are stripped of all of their dignity.
Did you know that pigs love to play? That they love their family and can be very protective of them? Pigs can even play video games. Their cognitive abilities are better than those of a three-year-old.
They can also live naturally well into their teens. However, most pigs are slaughtered before they even turn one.
Chicken may not be as intelligent but they still deserve to live in a better way. There are farms that let them roam free and lay eggs whenever they want. But most of the chicken meat and eggs we eat are actually produced in inhumane conditions.
The Sustainability Issues
There will be about 10 billion people on this planet by 2050. Can you imagine supplying all of those people with meat and dairy?
It's not just about the possibility of feeding people, but the pollution meat and dairy production is causing. About 18% of all greenhouse effect is caused by animal agriculture. Meat is actually using up about 80% to 90% of all water consumption on an annual basis.
Humans cut forests to make space for animal enclosures and related factories.
By moving to plant-based diets, we would actually help our planet just as much as recycling. We can save our world and leave a better one for our children.
Plant-based is Healthier
When you think about it, eating plant-based food would eradicate obesity. We eat a lot of bread with meat - burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and numerous others.
Under-nutrition can also be addressed by eating plant-based foods.
You can get the same amount - if not more - of healthy nutrients. You'd feel better as well, even though it might be harder at first.
Why I'm Considering Becoming a Vegetarian
Thinking about all of this makes me sick of all the meat I ever ate. But I also know that transitioning to a vegetarian diet in my environment - where food isn't food if it has no meat - is going to be difficult.
However, I want a better future for my kid. I want her to have the choice. I want her to be healthy, happy and compassionate above all. Being a vegetarian means compassion and kindness for animals. It means love.