Its been 16 years since I've had a piece of bacon. For more than half my life and to varying degrees, I have eliminated meat and dairy from my diet. When I was younger it was a choice based on the loosely formulated ethics of myself and my peers. And then it became about nutrition. Now if I'm asked for a reason for not eating meat I say that it's some combination of ethics, health, and habit. A lazy answer at best. But the real reason to not eat meat or dairy, or at least not very much and certainly locally raised, the reason that most accurately encompasses all of the repercussions of this aspect of modern diet, is really very simple.
Not eating meat may just result in world peace.
Meat production and consumption is tied to global hunger, deforestation, soil loss, water quality, class wars, and global warming. As just one example, 70% of U.S. grain and 80% of corn goes to feed cattle, not people, and the World Watch Institute tells us that "Continued growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grain to animals, creating competition between affluent meat eaters and the world's poor."
Not to mention the distressing karmic consequences of our collective and ongoing abuse of the very animals we depend upon for sustenance.
In his essay "The Only Diet for a Peacemaker is a Vegetarian Diet" Fr. John Dear discusses both the tangible and ethical connections between peace and food consumption and ties his discussion to the Christian directive to pursue and propagate peace. He notes that Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tolstoy and St. Francis of Assisi all agree, vegetarianism is a keystone to humanity, compassion, and peace.
To read Dear's entire essay:
To watch the veggie world's response to Paris Hilton's Carl's Junior Ad:
PETA's banned Superbowl Ad
Photo Courtesy of: http://www2.journalnow.com/
The Only Diet for a Peacemaker is a Vegetarian Diet, John Dear, Published on Thursday, July 10, 2008 by the National Catholic Reporter