It has taken me fifteen years of eating meat, and two years of being vegetarian, to realise it: cooking meat smells like burning bodies. Why? That’s exactly what it is.
“Meat is Murder” is a famous song by “The Smiths”. Never could a title be truer: killing animals so that humans can enjoy lunch is legitimate murder. The smell of cooking meat may as well be the stench of “Breast of Human” or “Leg of Family Member”. But it “tastes good” and people are selfish.
Somehow, that makes it alright.
Consider this: humans “taste good”. Could I hunt, kill, cook, then eat people? Imagine doing so: would you gut the human’s “waste”, boil the meat, then sit down at your table with a fork, ready to dig into the death of a sibling, parent or friend? Nobody would. Six million Jews were killed in WWII. There was outcry, and the holocaust is still remembered – taught in schools; there is little disturbance among meat-eaters over trillions of animals being slaughtered every week. The reason: meat “tastes good”.
Does it though? There are many ways to cook meat, all of which make eating it a more palatable experience, all of which leave a house smelling of burning bodies. If meat were so good, why fry or roast it in oil or layer it with spices? Why not eat it raw? There is an obvious answer: meat is not appetising – the spices are.
It occurs to me that this article is graphic – I make no apology. Unless a person is unaffected by the reality that meat is murder, they shouldn’t eat it. This was a major factor in my decision to become vegetarian: if I were in the wild searching for food, I couldn’t kill an animal. To chase, murder, gut, then cook a life would make me sick – I would know what preceded eating “Breast of Chicken” or “Leg of Lamb”; I would have seen the animal suffer.
Most people feel uncomfortable seeing suffering: a pet’s death causes upset; an animal being killed for a meal should too. Seeing Bambi’s mum die creates tears; an animal being slaughtered for a meal should too. A horse or deer on a dinner plate makes many feel guilty; another animal being murdered for a meal should too. People won’t eat pets or “cute” animals, yet will eat the ones they are used to eating. I propose a reason: society has bred us to eat certain meat, to disregard the thought that farmers kill certain animals, but only certain ones; any new animal’s murder makes us consider the issue. Then the gap between murderer and consumer lessens – then we understand the atrocity.
There are, of course, arguments against vegetarianism. People ask me why I eat plants; if they have feelings. Biology states that plants don’t have a CNS, meaning they don’t feel pain as animals (who have a CNS) do. I understand this as: “I’ve seen animals whine in pain; I’ve never seen a plant cry.” Many excuse their murder-count, saying the animal is already dead – we cannot do anything to stop it. Think logically: the animal is killed for the consumer; if there weren’t consumers, there wouldn’t be murders.
Health risks are associated with vegetarianism – many equate vegetarianism to malnutrition. However, on average vegetarians live ten years longer than meat-eaters, vegans fifteen. Vegetarianism is also an excellent way to tackle harsh economic circumstances: many families in Africa eat for less by leaving meat out of their diet; it takes much less energy and water to grow crops than it does to raise animals (crops must be grown for their consumption). The benefits of vegetarianism are endless.
The circle of life is another opposing argument – “the food chain works that way so we should continue eating meat”. Let’s reapply this principle: many political systems “work” as dictatorships so they should continue thus; South Africa “functioned” under Apartheid for fifty years so we should have continued to oppress people on grounds of race. No. As human beings, we have consciences and the moral capacity to reflect on these scenarios and criticise them. As consumers, we have the power to stop farming; to end legitimate murder.