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May 28, 2014: Vegetarians/vegans who date or marry meat eaters

Is it alright for vegetarians/vegans to date (or marry) someone who eats meat? Can a relationship made up of someone who eats meat and someone who doesn't last?

It all depends on how serious someone is about their vegetariansm/veganism and how connected he or she is to the reality of animal suffering. I personally would never date someone who eats meat. Why? Because, as an Effaist, I believe that eating meat is ethically wrong. This belief is not something superficial for me. It permeates my whole being. A lot of my time is spent on helping other animals and improving our relationship with them. The last thing I'd want is to share my life with someone who engages in something that for me and many other true animal lovers, is simply reprehensible. This would be like the parent of a molested child going out with a child molestor, or an anti-abortion crusader going out with an abortion doctor.

"But relationships are all about respecting the choices that your partner makes." Now I realize that not all vegetarians/vegans choose their diet for ethical reasons, and not all of them feel as strongly or deeply as I do about animal rights. Anyone who does feel this strongly would never use the "choice" argument. If I like the color green, but my girlfriend likes red, that's her choice, and I can respect that. If she likes Paris, but I prefer Madrid, I can respect that too. I like tattoos, she doesn't - we can work something out. If, however, she believes that murdering animals for food is alright, or "necessary", then we have a problem. Those like me feel that killing animals (and condoning this killing by consuming their meat) is closer, on an ethical scale, to killing other people, than it is to choosing the color of a dress, a travel destination, etc.

A vegetarian friend of mine once said that she was OK with dating an "open minded omnivore". Being open-minded is great, but this should not be used to justify causing suffering or killing, whatever species we're talking about. Hypothetically, someone like this would accept that his partner is a vegetarian, but would still continue to be part of the whole death-cycle of the meat industry. No thanks. People like me, those with a deep-seated empathy for other animals (what we Effaists refer to as the Animal Compassion Mind-frame) look for someone who is willing to leave behind violence, to stop taking part in the death cycle of eating meat; someone who actively looks for a better way to interact with the rest of the animal world.

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