I didn’t want to write about this till I was done with Eating Animals. Figured it’d be more of an educated post if it was after the completion of the book. But tonight’s events were so inspiring, something had to be done. So here goes the not-so-educated post involving Eating Animals. I’ll correct myself later upon completion of said brilliant book. Till then, this will have to do.
Meet Mr. Shark’s Fin Soup.
Seated at the dinner tonight, a tiny debate arose when the dish was served. 5 of us refused our bowls. 2 of them eventually caved in. Because they weren’t people I knew on a personal basis, I didn’t put up much of a fight. But the reason why they eventually downed the bowl was so familiar, it was eerie.
“It’s already dead.” or “Just because we don’t eat it, doesn’t mean others won’t.”
Yes, it’s already dead. Never mind the fact that if we all did our part and chose not to support the trade, there would be no need to even serve the dish at dinners because even if they tried to, nobody would consume it, which means it wouldn’t have had to die.
Yes, other people will eat it. Sadly, there will always be others who will eat it. There will also always be people in this world who will steal, rob, murder, break people’s hearts, cheat, and other things/activities that you won’t feel good doing. So if others are doing it, why not join in? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em right?
I’ve given myself such excuses, if not for the matter of shark’s fin, definitely for the matter of eating animals. Simply because it’s so much easier. I don’t want to hurt anything, so I’ll try not to eat meat. But there’s my friend’s wedding coming up, and there’s the class barbecue I’ve been looking forward to, and not forgetting the fact that most of my friends eat meat, and well, I’ll be such a wet blanket if I insisted on not eating meat. Just this once. Everyone’s doing it anyway. Besides, the chicken/cow/pig/fish/whatever other moving thing is already dead. No surprises that I only managed to keep up the semi-vegetarian state for 2 years.
Volunteering at the SPCA and discovering my crazy passion for animals made me realize I really love animals. And also that I couldn’t call myself an animal lover when I ate them every single day of my life. There’s a dilemma. But, well, the market won’t implode and collapse just because I didn’t eat animals. They’re already dead, right?
Once we start giving ourselves excuses, I guess we never really stop. There will always be that obstacle in the way. There will always be “another time” or “somewhere else”.
Heard at the same dinner, “But what about this guy? You won’t eat shark’s fin but you’re eating this fish right?”
“Yes, but at least it’s not endangered. I just don’t want to eat endangered animals because it just makes things worse.”
It’s a good thing that some bother to, at the very least, spare the endangered animals. Not everyone can be vegan. In fact, most probably can’t. And for good or valid reasons. There will never be a day when animals will no longer be eaten by humans. Now that line was strange, to say the least. Because, well, humans are animals. But that’s another story altogether. So, there will never be a day when we completely stop eating animals. At least the endangered species are being conserved as best they can with people like that – people who don’t eat endangered animals because it’s wrong.
And Jonathan Foer is right. I’m not trying to convert the world into vegetarians. I’m not even trying to convince you to join me in my quest. Unless of course, you’re the one who wants to follow suit, then I welcome you with open arms. I’m trying not to eat animals because I love animals. Hard as I’ve tried, no excuse can help me reconcile the two. I’m trying not to eat animals because I believe it’s not right to hurt anyone, damage another’s property (for no compelling reason), or inflict unnecessary pain on others. Considering how bad I feel when I leave a dent in my friend’s favorite accessory, it seems hypocritical for me to not feel anything when I knowingly contribute to the pain that factory-farmed animals go through. So I’m on my quest to become a vegetarian. Minus the excuses and easy-way-outs.
I don’t judge you for eating animals. As long as you don’t give excuses for doing so. If you want to eat animals (endangered or not), admit that you want to eat animals. Don’t say it’s because the animal’s already dead, or that just because you don’t eat it, doesn’t mean others won’t. Because those are silly reasons that only make you look like a weak-willed person. Don’t say you don’t have a choice (e.g. you say you don’t think eating shark’s fin is right, but then offer it at your wedding table because it’s a matter of showing your status/your parents will badger you into having it served) or blame it on societal norms. Because then you come off as fatalistic, with not much individuality or character.
I don’t judge you for eating animals. I understand if you say you can’t stop because you love meat too much. But there’s really no need for you to attempt to unnerve me by repeatedly questioning my intentions. Yes, I currently still eat animals. 3 days a week in this transition phase. Yes, it’s somewhat an easy-way-out, for now. With time, types of animals will be removed, to the eventual point of no more eating animals. Yes, for all we know, plants have feelings too. And farmed plants may be going through a lot of pain as we speak. I’d survive on eating nothing if I could, because eating is quite cumbersome sometimes. But I have to, so I eat plants. But really, isn’t our conversation getting silly? I don’t bug you for eating animals. So why are you bugging me for not eating animals?