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June 15, 2012: We need (to avoid) meat
Originally published by Harmon Abilene on "A Harmonious World"

One of the main reasons that people give for not becoming vegetarian is that we, as humans "need meat". According to this argument, the sheer fact of negating our bodies meat is unnatural, and even if it is sad that so many animals have to die for this, this is the way things have to be.

The Effaist response to this type of argument has two parts. The first part of the response is a basic disagreement with the premise itself. We believe that eating meat is more of an addiction than a requirement for survival. It is as natural as smoking cigarettes seems natural to a smoker, or drinking alcohol seems to an alcoholic. Of course, because eating meat provides us with sustenance, it is not frowned upon by society, as the other two above-mentioned activities often are, but, in our opinion, the addiction is the same. Detractors will argue that anything that our body needs can be called an "addiction". According to Effaist reasoning, theyíll say, water should not be drunk because we are "addicted" to it. This attempt at a refutation misses the point in that we cannot survive without water, but we can survive without meat. The millions of vegetarians and vegans out there are living proof of that. I am living proof of that. Children who are raised without meat are proof of that. Most vegetarians (myself included) will tell you that even if you canít imagine living without meat, and that you regularly have cravings for it that you just canít control, it is indeed possible to live without it. I used to eat a lot of meat, probably more than most people. Right now, I donít know how much youíd have to pay me to eat it again. I have absolutely no cravings for most kinds of meat. Once in a blue moon I have a minor craving when I smell someone frying chicken, because I used to like eating chicken. I view this as more of a sentimental craving, as my varied vegetarian diet makes up for any dietary requirements that the chicken would provide.

This brings us to the second part of the response. Why even fight the cravings? Why fight the so-called addiction, you might ask, if it provides us with sustenance? The reason to not eat meat, the reason to fight the cravings that you have, is to minimize the suffering and death of other living beings on the planet. While there are tons of other good reasons, - health, environmental, etc, - the Effaist stance is that meat should be avoided primarily because it is simply immoral to have other sentient beings suffer and die to provide sustenance for us when it IS possible to get this sustenance from non-animal based products. So, for us it is a moral issue, and, if you think about it, itís nothing new. There are so many things that we do not do, even if we want to, because we know that they are morally wrong. We know that if we do them, others will suffer and die. Many of us have violent tendencies, some stronger, some less so, yet we (hopefully) realize that for the good of the world around us it is best to keep these tendencies in check. I suggest that we adopt the same approach when we think about eating meat. While it is something that we have been taught is all right, - by our parents, by society, by the media, - it is not all right. It is based on the suffering and death of innocent beings, and this should not be seen as acceptable. Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again: Nutritionally speaking, you can get pretty much everything from a vegetarian/vegan diet than you can from a diet that includes meat. For the good of the world around you, and to stop being part of the meat industryís enormous cycle of violence and death, take steps to minimize/eliminate meat from your diet today.

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