Why I'm Not A Vegan, And May Never Be
Growing up, they called me 'carnivore Kate'. I would swoon at the smell of bacon, and gobble down a huge steak with no troubles at all. As a vet's daughter, I was always aware that the meat on my plate came from an animal, and our dinner time talks about animal sex and diseases never made me squeamish; they were simply facts of life.
Animals have always been a big part of my life: both on my plate, and sitting beside me gobbling my crumbs.
But now they call me 'Ethically Kate', and I must make decisions around where my meat-eating values lie. If I took the easy road, I'd have become a vegan years ago. The messages from followers, harsh comments from randoms, and social pressure of joining the fad (yes, veganism is unfortunately a fad, but it’s also an awesome way to consume) would have been too easy to slip into. Several times, I nearly did.
But I won’t do anything until I know the full story.
Instead, I've explored, investigated, and travelled through several different eating habits. Even though I'm still learning and adapting, I think I’m ready to share where I currently sit- the word ‘currently’ being the most important here: I’m evolving in my views on meat daily.
I'm a non-inconveniencing-socialising-coeliac-ethical-plant-based-plastic-free-sustainably-minded-omnivore.
What does that mean? I hear you asking. And I also hear you judging, making assumptions, and wanting to comment on what I put in my mouth. Okay, fair call; food is a huge part of society and culture. But don’t draw conclusions until you’ve read everything below.
WHAT I EAT
I eat meat in small amounts, and not regularly. When I’m eating out, I eat vegetarian or sometimes pescatarian (because I can’t trust where the meat came from). When I visit a friend’s place, depending on how comfortable I am with them, I’ll let them know (as well as the fact I’m coeliac so have to eat gluten free) I prefer no meat. If I’m at my mum’s place for a family roast, I’ll eat the free range chicken she’s bought especially for me, ignoring the fact I’m not sure I trust the ‘free range’ tick of approval, but so very grateful that she’s made the effort.
Can I tell you a secret? I love the taste of meat. If I’m at a dinner, and there’s plenty of vegetarian options, I’ll quietly avoid the meat dishes, without anyone noticing. But if I’m craving it, I’ll eat a mouthful, or two.
When I’m at home, I eat meat, but not a lot of it. I buy my lamb and beef in containers from the butcher (no plastic), my chicken from the super market (plastic coated, as the butcher doesn’t have free range/organic), and Tim, my husband catches fish occasionally with a friend.
I EAT MEAT AT HOME, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THERE’S A TIME AND PLACE TO BE AN ACTIVIST.
I’ve already separated myself from my husband, Tim, with being a coeliac and ‘zero-waster’. I’ve eradicated most foods in plastic, experiment with whole foods and funky recipes often, and have to be coaxed into visiting the super market (I hate that place). Tim’s gone through a lot of changes living with me, and he’s respected every single one of them whole-heartedly.
Now, I’m not saying Tim’s not aware of the impact of meat on our planet too. Our meat eating as a couple, has probably halved in the last six months. But if I were to throw my toys out of the cot and start making and demanding separate meals altogether, there would be another divide between us. I don’t want that. We’re in this meat investigating journey together. We’re in life together.
Tim and I both agree that consuming meat from animals who have been respected and cared for throughout their time on earth, is the best way to do it, if you’re going to do it. Consuming less meat (perhaps only a handful of times a month? TBC), and doing it with gratefulness, awareness, and respect, sounds like the best way to go.
I personally cannot justify watching a bear lunge at a fish, maul it, and eat it, without feeling something instinctual. I feel like I’m made to eat meat. I feel like being in touch with nature, means I should eat meat. But the meat industry has certainly gotten out of control, and the environment and animals are suffering from it. I don’t want to be a part of that.
I WON’T BE A RAGING VEGAN WHO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THAT DEATH MAY BE OKAY
We’ve been conditioned to think all animals are ‘sweet babies’ that should only belong on bathroom calendars, not our plates. Yes, animals are freaking adorable, I’m a major animal fanatic. But I’m sick of us linking ‘cuteness’ to ‘compassion’ and labelling meat eaters non-compassionate. The most compassionate people I know, are meat eaters. This is not because they consciously want to harm others, but they have a particular view of ethics and death. I could talk about this for hours, but let that thought permeate: for many, consuming meat isn’t a moral injustice.
Let’s chat in another blog post about death.
I spent two years of my childhood in Mongolia, witnessing them only eat meat. The land could not grow vegetables, and their nomadic lifestyle could not facilitate vegetable gardens if they could! Concluding that animals should not be killed due to ethics, is not something I will ever buy into. I understand that animals are resources in some countries, but I also understand I’m not in Mongolia anymore.
So, what is my excuse to eat meat?
I’ve become uneasy with the idea that someone else kills my meat. I don’t know if I could do it myself, and that makes me feel like a coward. So…
We’ve bought a lamb.
It’s housed on our friends property, and they’re currently bottle feeding him milk twice a day. Last weekend, I fed him myself, and gave him a good cuddle. If I can’t go through with the process of watching him grow, giving him love, and having the butcher kill him for meat; then I don’t deserve to have meat in my diet. Full stop.
His name is Baaart Simpson. Bart and I feel vegetarianism coming on. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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