16 May 2011

Becoming partly vegetarian

I'm not a vegetarian, although for simplicity's sake I often say I am. Matthijs and I simply don't eat a lot of meat - partly because of how we feel about the treatment of animals in the over-industrialized meat industry and partly because I wonder if eating meat is really a good use of the world's resources. A lot of food energy goes into feeding animals, and I can't really justify participating excessively in that.

In the Netherlands, being vegetarian (or eating only organic meat) has become fairly normal. Even in Canada and America, many people have begun eating less meat and wondering about the implications of the 'food industry' in relation to the family businesses where the cows are known by name. Becoming more aware of why people might want to choose not to eat meat is something worth becoming aware of (even if your father was a butcher :)). A friend of mine, a pastor in middle of nowhere Minnesota and a big meat-eater, has written a good blog entry (Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation) about becomeing more aware: in it, he links to a booklet on the topic by Matt Halteman from Calvin College.

Although I hope that more people will become more aware of the issues involved with eating (or not eating) meat, I hardly hope that everyone immediately stops eating meat. It's not something I know I want to entirely give up! Matthijs and I do eat meat, but we try to limit ourselves to fish (where the issues are somewhat different) or organic/biological/free range meat. Other than tofu, we don't eat 'official' meat replacement products - I mean, if the point of my not eating meat is a better use of the world's resources, it seems strange to be okay with all the resources extended to making processed fake meat. Instead, we take in extra cheese and nuts and vegetables and lentils and enjoy even more the special occasions when we do eat meat (like Easter season and Sundays :)).

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