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A week or two ago, a friend from work and I decided it would be a good idea to grab a bite to eat and catch up. After discovering I was a vegetarian, he kindly suggested restaurants that he knew had sizable vegetarian sections in their menus. We chose a place not too far from where we were. On the way to the restaurant, we talked about my dietary habits and the beliefs behind them. He was genuinely interested in them.
We arrived at the restaurant, and while looking at our menus, our conversation progressed. He mistook venison for veal, and we began to talk about how horrible the idea behind veal was. He knew that calves were tied down and "fattened up" for months before slaughter, but this wasn't enough to persuade him to admit that it was "wrong" to consume veal. My disdain for the practice was obvious, but I was in no way accusative. The waiter arrived and my friend proceeds to talk to the waiter about veal and how it is produced. After sharing obviously similar opinions, the two ended the conversation with a hearty chuckle and by admitting "it might be mean, but it's soo tasty!!". I put my hands to my face in an effort to conceal my obvious discomfort with the conversation.
My question is simple. How can someone be fully aware that they are patronizing a practice that is so obviously immoral and still gladly consume what is in effect the carcass of a tortured, slaughtered infant? What are other people's views on the subject? I'm curious to know how others would have reacted in my situation, or if people could share a similar circumstance.
Sensual gratification should never take priority over the comfort and wellbeing of any animal, human or nonhuman.
I've shown the videos to my fiance, the research I've found. He agrees its wrong, thinks Gary Yourofsky brings up great points...
And yet, he still eats meat.
One day I asked him: "If you like my meat substitutes, think the treatment is wrong, that the health factors are staggering, and that you said it'd be easier for the kids if you were vegetarian also, why do you still eat meat?"
We have come to the conclusion it is habit.
However, I think I'm getting him to come around - not forcefully but he is willingly watching things and hearing what I find. He eats my vegetarian/vegan things and hasn't bought meat for the house in a long time. So, he is headed to the right direction. Its just when we go out, or I assume his lunch at work.
Having friends, family and significant others who are omnivores can be difficult, for sure. My girlfriend is a German born and raised and meat is a huge part of German cuisine. She didn't agree with my transition to vegetarian at first, but eventually she acclimated and she accepts it now. She has even reduced her meat consumption to around 1 lb a week. I'm not ever going to push my beliefs or habits on her, but when she has a question or wants to discuss why I do what I do, I am totally honest. I think honesty is the best policy in these situations. Kudos to you for not being pushy :)
I once heard the definition of a habit as "Something you don't know you are doing. Once you know you're doing it it's not a habit anymore, it's a choice". I think that's very true :)
Food is so linked to our memories of love and connection and is typically a way we get these things, that people will choose to eat meat because somewhere in their minds that kind of food equals love and acceptance by others.
I think what they are lacking is the version, not from you, but from an actual video of the male calf being dragged away from it's mother by an uncaring human at birth (yes, immediately after birth) and taken to a veal crate just so they can have a casual good laugh and joke about how tasty it is.
I believe the reason for this is a cultural brainwash. Children eat meat before they know what meat is. Learning what it actually is is gradual, and accepted by everyone they know, including parents. Not to mention the incredible grip the media has on the situation (pictures of juicy burgers, crispy chicken fingers, etc.) They eventually, at the very least, hear through the grapevine that animals in the food industry are treated horribly, but by that point they are so desensitized and removed from the situation that they shrug it off. Also, I think a lot of people think it's just hippie activist talk, so they laugh and don't take it seriously. And then there are people who see the terrible videos, but they are SO used to not listening to these things, that they revert back to an insensitive robotic way of thinking to protect themselves and their dinner plates. I actually probably would have said, "That's so fucked up.." and watched them try to defend how it isn't. I'm not a pushy vegan, but why should you or me have to be "sensitive" to the delicate meat eater's feelings, when they will talk right in front of you (at the dinner table!) about how tasty veil is??
I don't have time for people who say those sorts of things, I often feel that they say these things in the presence of vegetarians because they want to be deliberately provocative. Being inflammatory is something that people seem to never get enough of, especially towards vegetarians, who, in my experience, they feel as though are militants trying to threaten their precious and scared way of life.
I have no idea how people do that... all I can think of is the saying "Out of sight, Out of mind" I don't think some people really grasp how horrible it is for the animals.