Admitting one is a vegetarian is like being the referee at a Sharks and Bulls game: you get attacked by supporters of both teams. Rabid carnivores think one is insane and feel judged when you choose a salad at a braai. Extreme vegans on the other hand say vegetarians are a sell-out, a cop-out and the only person they’re fooling is themselves. Shoowie – can’t win. So I don’t try.
My choice to be a vegetarian is related to three things.
- My knowledge of what I perceive to be the grossly cruel way that we raise and slaughter animals on a commercial scale.
- Health: since becoming vegetarian, I’m off all but the life-support medicine. I also chose to try and avoid eating preservatives: massive health improvements resulted.
- Environmentally, the resource consumption of for example beef farming, is extreme and inefficient. It takes something like 16,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beef that ends up on the grocery store shelves. Not to mention methane and carbon footprints. And more people could live well off the protein contained in the feedstock of the beef than can live off the beef itself.
I don’t however believe that it’s my place to force-feed these choices to anyone (very weak pun, I know). So a tiny part of my contribution to creating a better future (for me included!) is the choice to be vegetarian. Others make other choices that also contribute. Observers to the left please, judge and juror to the right. Who’s choosing to be stuck in the middle with me?