It's so good to hear others who have these feelings! I've been a vegetarian almost my whole life (following my mom's example), and although I do feed my cats meat, and I don't make obnoxious remarks to meat-eating friends in restaurants or anything, I do have to admit... it flabbergasts
me that anyone can look into the eyes of a cow and then go have a hamburger.
Some years ago in Chicago, I think it was, cattle were being herded through a narrow path into the building where they were to be slaughtered, and there was a ten-foot fence keeping them in... but one cow panicked and somehow SCRAMBLED OVER THE FENCE and escaped! It made the national news, because there were people trying to help the cow hide from the authorities who were out to catch her. She was caught eventually, but because of the public outcry, the meatpacker let her live (or so the press was told, anyway -- I hope it was true).
Anyway, we've all seen cows. They're beautiful, gentle creatures, but they are not built for grace or agility, and they are not known as bold adventurers.
But this cow knew she was facing death, and her terror was so great that she miraculously climbed a ten-foot fence
to save her own life. What courage! What a passion to live! How can we possibly
justify killing such a creature?
I've heard people claim that meat is necessary for protein and such, but that's nonsense -- it is not
good for our health, and as for protein, beans and peas are far better for you. As for feeding the world, you can feed many, many more people with the corn or wheat you can grow on ten acres than you could ever feed with the number of cows those acres can support. So even from a strictly practical viewpoint, meat just doesn't make sense.
In this day and age, at least in industrialized countries, meat is completely unnecessary except
as pet food. In fact, we'd be healthier without it. But we still raise and slaughter innocent creatures just because it's always been done that way, and nobody has the political courage to say, "Let's start retooling to help ranchers turn their land to other uses, and phase out this particular type of animal cruelty." (Same reason the tobacco companies are allowed to continue producing an addictive drug far more deadly than heroine or cocaine -- because changing things would require a long-term commitment and a significant economic shift.)
I'm afraid the only way it will ever change is if more people become enlightened and demand begins to dwindle. Not in my
lifetime, I'm thinking, but maybe within this century.
Okay, I'm done with the soapbox. Who's next?