27 March 2012

Calling all carnivores, do you need a hug?

To be honest, when I first heard about and read Ariel Kaminer's piece in the New York Times calling on omnivores to enter a contest called Calling All Carnivores: Tell Us Why It's Ethical to Eat Meat, I did not give it all that much thought. I gave the piece a quick read, and moved on.

To me it just seemed like just another attempt by omnivores to excuse themselves for eating dead animals.It still does.

It seems to me when you are on good ethical ground, you don't need to keep coming up with stories and contests trying to prove why you are just in whatever it is you are doing. It tends to reek of self-building -- just trying to talk yourself into what you are doing being the right choice, especially in this case.

Sure, vegans and vegetarians have numerous blogs, websites, and books attempting to prove their ethical stance on animal rights. But, in this case it is an attempt to try and persuade those not already on board as to why it makes for the right choice. The New York Times piece certainly is not that. It just simply strikes me as an attempt for meat eaters to get together and make themselves feel better. A kind of self-congratulatory slap on the back, " You're alright, kid" and to tell themselves is perfectly fine to have that slab of animal carcass on their plates.

Mind you, vegans and vegetarians can often come off as smug when it comes to their ethical choices, too. They just happen to have earned that smugness by being on the right side of the issue. Okay, I am being slightly facetious. You got me.

Kaminer also seems to assert that the only voices we hear from are those from the vegetarian/ vegan side. That meat eaters have been silent on this issue. This is quite a silly notion on her part. If I was to get in my car, drive in any direction, within a short amount of time I will see numerous fast food restaurants, butchers, grocery stores, and so on filled with animal products. Omnivores really seem to be doing just fine for themselves.

Sure, there are a few esteemed judges involved in the contest, including Peter Singer, Mark Bittman, Micheal Pollan, and a couple others. A couple of them even do not eat meat.  On a side note, is Micheal Pollan involved in every single eating discussion and documentary, now?

Anyway, maybe the judges will come upon some masterfully written essay proving once and for all why eating meat is ethical. Perhaps Peter Singer will instantly regret writing "Animal Liberation?" I really doubt it. There will be comments about tradition, evolution, mentions of some group somewhere that has only survived on animal fat for centuries, and maybe just maybe if we are lucky there will be some mention about protein.

" Well, we have canine teeth, from evolution, it means we should eat meat."

Well, I have hands that have evolved so that I can perfectly make fists and punch people, it does not mean that I go out and just punch people, does it?

There are always holes in any ethical discussion, from any side. There are weak points in veganism. It is not perfect by any stretch , and sometimes the arguments for veganism can drive me off a cliff. I honestly cringe when I see and hear veganism being described as being easy. It may be the just and right choice, but it hardly is easy for everyone. It was not easy for me many years ago -- you have years of habit, traditions, and supposed societal norms to go against when it comes to deciding on becoming a vegan. Sometimes the correct choice, is not the easiest, and that is okay. But, that is a discussion for another time.

This contest is simply a way for omnivores to come together and come up with more reasons why they eat dead animals, as if they are some embattled minority that needs to stick together and get more members on board.

Maybe they are butthurt? Do meat eaters need a hug? Is that what is going on here? Well, you give up on eating animals and I will gladly come to your house and give you a hug. Deal?

Terence Pratt | Blog | @TPPratt
New England Terence is an animal rights advocate and vegan who lives in New England.He loves cooking, books, science,movies, indie pop, and napping.He prefers bow ties to ties, and may in-fact be the only vegan who does not really enjoy kale.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/christina_maria