No, I am not one of those militant vegan fuckers. I am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I don't begrudge anyone for eating meat. However, I think it is incredibly important that people think about what they're doing and actively decide they're comfortable with eating meat as opposed to simply doing it by default.

I've never been completely comfortable with meat. It's not a psychotic I-can't-stand-the-suffering-of-the-cute-animals thing. It's just the knowledge that something died so I could eat, but that I don't think I would be able to bring myself to kill it with my own hands unless I absolutely had to. And I don't absolutely have to, so I choose not to indirectly kill it through my diet.

I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago that almost made me ill, but definitely made me proud to be a veggie. The conference included a banquet, for which you had the choice of Prime Rib of Beef, Chicken Wellington, or Pasta Primavera. Relatively standard fare, but the kicker came when everybody got their meal tickets. People eating beef got little red tags with pictures of happy smiling cartoon cows, peacefully grazing in open pastures. People eating chicken got little yellow tags with happy smiling cartoon chickens just being hatched from their nice warm eggs. People eating pasta got green cards with vegetables, but that's beside the point. I personally thought the happy smiling creatures were a little bit sick, but I only really got disturbed when people started talking about how they completely and totally dissociate the animal from the food. That kind of admission is the only thing I see wrong with meat eating. Dissociating the animal from the food is a failure, and it's a cop-out.

In the end, I think it'd be amusing if people who eat meat were asked for their reasons even nearly as often as people who don't. And I wonder what most of them would say.