‘I wonder what the real deal is with going vegan’

Jan 25, 2019
Ever wondered by someone might want to opt for a diet sans animals? Source: Pixabay

Though I wouldn’t want to be one, I have often wondered what it is that motivates vegans in their lifestyle choice. Is it simply that they don’t like the taste or texture of meat? Is it because they don’t like the idea of killing animals in order to do so? Is it because others, possibly relatives or personal friends, have encouraged them to do so? I really don’t know.

I must confess, as a meat eater myself, I do find the idea a little strange. That’s not to say I don’t eat vegetarian meals occasionally, because I do, for no other reason than the fact that a meal without meat every now and then forms part of an interesting and well-balanced diet.

The thing that gets me, as a mere layman, is that we carry many, if not all, the signs of a natural meat eater. Take our teeth for instance; there we possess the classic dental layout for handling meat, the four incisors at the front, for cutting into meat, followed by the two ‘canines’ (the name itself says something!), there to stab a victim and to hold it, though ours are much reduced in size now, due to evolutionary changes (they were no longer a vital part of our dentistry once we learned to make tools to do the job for us), and then finally there are the molars — those large back teeth we use to grind our food before we swallow it. In plant eaters, virtually all the teeth in the mouth are of the molar variety, with just a couple of incisors at the front. Not a lot of cutting and no stabbing is required, just the crushing molars to turn grass and other plants into a swallowable paste.

I can easily understand there are many people who simply don’t like the texture and taste of meat (there are foods I cannot bear too, eggplants being one of them), but I do think the second group, who consider it cruel to kill animals for food are missing a vital point or two. Take the average farm animal, let it be for the sake of the argument a cow. The great majority of farmers love the beasts in their care; they are mollycoddled from birth, given the best of food and water, treated medically by a professional if they are sick, protected from wild animals and housed in wintertime in specially constructed barns. Then, when the time comes that they are needed, to provide food for us, they meet a quick, clean death. If they were living in the wild, their next meal would be uncertain, water may take days to find, except at particular times of the year, if ill they either cure themselves or die, often painfully and they would always live in fear of attack by wild animals, animals that could often be eating their rear ends while their front legs are still trying to extract them from an awful, painful and often slow death!

There’s another, perhaps silly, notion that always strikes me when I think of veganism and that is the fact that all living things have DNA, just like us, from the greatest creatures that have ever lived — the giant sequoia trees of America, right down to the lowly cabbage plant. They are all living beings just like us; they have simply taken a different form and method of living to us; but who is to say that a tree or a cabbage doesn’t experience fear and pain when they are cut down and sawn up or boiled in oil or water to house or feed us? Again, as with animals, farm plants are carefully looked after, fed and watered regularly and even planted in the best place for their particular species to grow well, until the moment they are required for food.

Finally, I sometimes wonder how many so-called vegans can wear leather shoes, or drink wine, or wear clothes made out of other living creatures, like cotton, wool and hemp? After all, vegans are supposed to eat, wear, or in any way use, nothing that has come from a living creature and as I have suggested, it seems to me that if something contains DNA in its make-up, then surely it is a living creature!

Are you a vegan? Are you someone who prefers a plant-based diet over one including meat?

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