That's me!

I succumb to the perversion of sarcophagy less than five times a year. I do this because I sometimes find myself in situations where it is impractical to abstain from meat. No vegetarian meals on the menu is the most common reason, but saving my friends the hassle of cooking an extra meal especially for me when inviting me for dinner is also what I consider a valid reason.

I also consume gelatine, a meat by-product, popular in candy and also used to purify beer. Note however, that the gelatine is used to settle the cloudiness of the beer and not a part of the finished product. Not that it matters much from an ethical point of view; animals have been slaughtered to produce the malty goodness, but still...
I have yet to find a brewery which uses gliadin instead of gelatine. Not that it matters much, since most of the beers I enjoy are neither purified nor filtered.

I allow myself these deviations from The One True Vegetarianism (whatever that means) because of practicality. I do not like the thought of me being part of the reason the poor sucker animals have been kept in small cages and stalls and transported long distances, but the lure of candy and beer is simply too much, and the No-Meat Revolution has yet to reach the bastions of many fancy french restaurants.
Sorry 'bout that, poor sucker animals.

People might be vegetarians for a number of reasons, and to any degree. One might not want to give up meat completely, but rather eat fish and chicken than animals they deem 'higher', like cows. Or one might be a half-assed vegetarian to avoid contributing to the food industry's mistreatment of animals.
But the argument would be equally relevant regarding any inflamed discussion over values, right?

To me, things like Yellow #5 and gelatin cross the line over into food additives, and I eat them without guilt. If I don't know whether or not something has meat, but it looks and tasts like it doesn't, I'll eat that. If I find out it does have meat, I spit out the last mouthfull into the garbage and don't eat the rest, but hey, by that time that means I've eaten some meat. I never said I was a strict vegetarian, and with so many 'vegetarians' out there who on closer examination turn out to 'not eat red meat' or 'only eat fish' or something, I'm probably not doing too badly, and neither are you guys. Anyway, I'm there for health, not bunny-hugging reasons.

PS: One of the funniest things I've ever heard of was Ted Nugent organizing a hunting event where the venison was donated to homeless shelters. Kinda like saying to the whiners: "So, who's more important now, huh? The poor people or the poor deer? Chew on that one."

I say, "Fuck labels." They promote Idealism as identity, thus the perpetual schism between the half-assed fish/chicken-eatin' and the IMHO neurotic/indignant militant vegetarians ("um...this Worchestershire sauce contains anchovies. I can't believe you put it in the tofu marinade!")

I was one of the insufferable latter for about two years in my early college career. It sucked: not only was I not stepping on any of the cracks, they kept making more cracks...I found myself nodding in sheep-like agreement with algae-eaters who railed about conspiracy behind the lack of good non-gelatin capsules. Clearly soft-headed and untenable.

So I’m more of a scavenger now: I eat vegetarian, mostly, but will eat meat for the odd celebratory meal or if it is not going to be eaten (e.g. - leftovers, catered food) and not think twice or guiltily about it. Letting the animals’ flesh go to waste is more of a crime than ordering it, in my illusionspace.

Casting off entire thought systems is tough; a couple of things I would be aware of while sitting in the steakhouse:

Eco-babble: Growing grain takes a lot of water. Fresh water is a scarce resource. (China imports grain to make up for its lack of irrigation water.) Feeding grain and water to an animal decreases the food:gallon-of-water ratio even more. It’s the moral equivalent of driving an SUV: not so bad, but if everyone did it, things would start to suck. BTW, fish is really no better now that it is mostly farm-raised: the farms pump 1000s of gallons out of the ground every day.

Health: It makes sense to eat very little meat, just like it makes sense not to smoke. Bypass surgery seems to be a rite of passage here in America.

I'm a half-assed vegetarian, but I don't claim to be a vegetarian. I'm sometimes mistaken for one; I eat fake hamburgers, fake chicken, veggie subs, even fake corndogs. But I also eat meat. I just tend not to. Even try not to.

Just like the feminist cause has suffered from feminazis*, vegetarianism suffers from militant vegan fuckers(veganazis?). It doesn't suffer from people being vegans, just from the pushy, confrontational, guilt-inducing jerks. Education is good, insulting people isn't. It would be better for the entire world to drop to one or two meat-meals a week than to have one one-thousandth of the world become strict vegans. At the very least it's far easier, and more practical.
Because it's gradual. Suggest vegetarians meals. Show your friends that there's good food without meat. Educate them about the health benefits for themselves, the health benefits for the animals, the cost benefit, whatever. Demand for vegetarian-friendly products will increase. Eating less meat gets easier. Being strictly vegetarian gets easier, maybe even accidental. Companies go out of their way to develop new meatless products. Maybe even eventually, after a century or two, the human population becomes virtually herbivorous.

Right now there's just a straight split. You're either vegan, or you're nothing. If you eat meat once vegetarians insult and accuse you of not living up to their perfect standards. Yeah, way to alienate an ally. That's the way to accomplish your animal-friendly agenda.
There is no word for people who "try" to not eat meat. No word for "rarely eats meat".
I got here almost accidentally. I like animals, I don't like meat. At some point I realized I hadn't eaten meat for several weeks, and thought I'd become a vegetarian. But there are meals I like more than I like being part of the Sacred Order of Vegetarians. I'm a half-assed vegatarian. There's nothing wrong with that. And I'm still on their side, even if I'm not a "real" vegetarian.
Last week a hungry young lady came into Market Wraps 15 minutes before I was supposed to be off the clock. She perused the menu and asked if the gyros are good.

Me: "Yes, they are."
Customer: "It says it contains lamb. Lambs are little, right?"
Me, trying to keep a straight face: "They're, um, smaller than sheep."
Customer: "See, I don't like to eat anything that's little. Cows are okay 'cause they're bigger than me. But I won't eat anything smaller than I am."
Me, biting my lip and trying not to laugh: "You're bigger than a lamb."
Customer: "Okay then. I'll take a chicken sandwich. To go."

What the hell are they feeding chickens these days?

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