Monday, February 25, 2008


Weird moment, I was leaving the apartment and my cat was reacting to this, and I thought about animals we keep as our pets and the emotions they show. This isn't just the familiar tendency of the human brain for anthropomorphizing everything that we encounter--there are studies of empathy in mice. This is pretty dopey of me, but I thought of how cool it is to do something that provokes joy in an animal.

This lead to the thought of video footage I'd seen last week of cruelty to sick cows in a California slaughterhouse.

Oh no, I thought next. I have to be a vegetarian.

I don't want to be a vegetarian. I live in the California Bay Area. Everyone and their mother here is a vegetarian, and when I hear people talk about how they are, or how they can't eat here because things have meat in them, I roll my eyes on the inside. Also, let me state for the record that I have no problem with the raising, killing, and eating of animals for food. Dead animals taste delicious.

What I do have a problem with is raising animals in horrible conditions, torturing them, making them sick, and then eating them for food. I also have a problem (and have for a long time--just not enough to push me over the edge to vegetarianism before) with the environmental impact of eating meat:

According to a 2006 United Nations initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contributes on a "massive scale" to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change, and loss of biodiversity...In addition, animal agriculture has been pointed out as one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases — responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the CO2.

So today was day one of my trying vegetarianism for the first time in, oh, thirteen years. I'll see how it goes. I hope that I don't become a sanctimonious asshole.

Oh yeah and I'm still eating sushi. I've got to draw the line somewhere.

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