“You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, Because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother’s attractive, but I have photographs of her.” – Ellen Degeneres
Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is generally a voluntarily chosen diet rather than a gluten free or lactose free diet. People choose to do so based on a variety of different reasons varying from parental preferences to concern over the animal, to religious reasons to health issues.
The assumption that all vegetarians are tree-hugging hippies is extremely inaccurate. Hippies were a sub-culture that emerged from the mainstream culture of the 1950s-1970s. They followed in the footsteps of The Beats because of the Political Environment of the decade that inspired many teenagers to join the revolution. They were characterized by their long hair, unconventional clothing, use of drugs and want for peace. Many hippies are against all forms of violence including the cruelty towards animals which is why they became vegetarians and/or vegans.
To understand why someone would choose to become a vegetarian you must first learn the facts. Every year in the US more than 27 million animals are slaughtered to become a meal on your plate. Approximately 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year for export to Europe and Asia for human consumption. Cows have the ability to live for 20-15 years but any that are in a factory-farm are lucky if they live past 4. In a lifetime the average person consumes 2,600 animals. These animals are able to breathe, think and feel pain just like human beings and suffer immensely. This brings upon the moral/ethnical issue on if it’s right to eat meat at all.
Aside from animals being killed for food there are various health issues that are connected to eating meat. In America meat-linked diseases (heart disease, cancer, obesity and strokes) cause 60% of the deaths. The consumption of animals is not a necessity for survival. Protein can be found in all vegetables as well as meat alternatives like tofu. Many people think that that only way to get specific vitamins, for example Vitamin B12 is from eating red meat when there are supplements that can fill the void.
Looking back there’s reason to believe that we were never meant to become omnivores like humans are known as today. According to biologists and anthropologists humans were never meant to eat meat. The human body lacks both the physical characteristics (sharp claws and large canine teeth) of a carnivore and the instinct to kill and devour an animals raw carcass. For our ancestors meat was used as an alternative when plant foods weren’t available, it was never meant to become our main source.
People are so closed-minded when it comes to eating meat, maybe they’re really the picky eaters. Vegetarians and vegans have opened their eyes to a wide range of foods they never would’ve thought about eating unless they cut animals out of their diet.