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August 13, 2015: So, you like the taste of meat?

Many people who say no to veganism & vegetarianism do so because they claim to love the taste of meat too much and can't live without it. If you have eaten meat your whole life, it is easy to feel this way, but there are a couple of things you should consider before taking that next bite.

The argument that "it's all about the taste" kind of dies when you think about the taste of our own flesh. Ethics of cannibalism aside, we can, indeed, eat human flesh, and, as it is pointed out in this article several well-known cannibals have confirmed that it is quite tasty, comparable to pork, beef, and even veal. Again, I'm obviously not advocating cannibalism, just stating the obvious that it's NOT all about the taste, that there are ethics involved.

Sure, you might say, but we are not going to cannibalize ourselves, - that's why we have to eat other animals, and they DO taste good. This is where our ethics should kick in, and we should remember that while humans are indeed different from other animals (especially in our higher intelligence), we also have a lot in common with them. The animals that make up our diet are sentient beings, who have the ability to feel emotions (both happy and sad), and to suffer and feel pain much like we do. This alone should be enough to respect their lives like we respect the lives of other humans, and to say no to eating their meat, no matter how tasty it is. At this point, many will either deny that these animals are sentient in order to put off admitting the indirect cruelty of eating their flesh, or simply admit that they're selfish individuals who are willing to sacrifice the life of an animal for their own pleasure.

Much of the blame for our ambivalence lies in the smoke and mirrors act of the meat and restaurant industries. The meat industry does everything so that you don't associate the meat you're eating with the death of an innocent animal, and the restaurant industry dresses it up nicely in a variety of garnishes, herbs, and spices, so that the presentation of the food becomes the focus, once again bypassing the inconvenient little fact that what you're eating is a piece of a once living, breathing sentient being.

Of course not everything that is pleasant to our minds and bodies is beneficial to us. And I could point out that saturated fats (often found in meat, dairy, and animal products) taste great, but have been linked to obesity, heart disease, and several other health issues; or I could point out that our love of meat has spawned factory farming, which is destroying the environment like few other industries in the world... but for the purpose of this post, I'd like to stick to ethics. Ask yourself the following questions: how comfortable would you be drinking coffee made by people working under slave-like conditions, mistreated and abused, and paid almost nothing vs. coffee made by workers who were treated well and paid a fair wage? How comfortable would you be wearing clothes made by children in a sweatshop for almost no money vs. clothes made by well-paid adults with employee benefits? How comfortable would you be if you knew that the retrieval of a certain product was so hard, that people actually died during the process? Would you still purchase that product? If you understand the ethics involved in the above questions, you should understand the difference between eating meat and going vegan. If you are ambivalent about these things, then I suggest you examine your empathy and try to grow it. If you are a sensible, caring individual, however, then please add animals and animal-products to your "do not eat" list.

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