HERE ARE SOME OF OUR BELIEFS ABOUT VEGETARIANISM:
1) It is healthy to be a vegetarian/Vegan. You can lead a perfectly healthy life without eating meat. All of the basic nutritional elements that your body needs can be found in a vegetarian or Vegan diet. In fact, a well-balanced meat-free diet can actually help you avoid and counteract some of the serious diseases caused by a meat-centric diet. There are plenty of healthy vegetarians and Vegans out there who are living proof that it is possible to live without animal products.
2) It's not "unnatural" to be a vegetarian. Most societies are meat-centric, so eating meat seems natural to most people. We should understand that this is mostly a question of perspective and conditioning. For people raised in a vegetarian/vegan household, for example, eating meat seems unnatural. What's more important is to focus on the consequences of eating meat, on all of the suffering and death caused by the meat industry. We believe that you shouldn't use the word "natural" to justify bad choices, especially since there are more and more ethical alternatives out there.
3) We don't believe that humans should be part of the so-called "food chain". The food chain argument is another justification of bad choices. "Other animals kill each other all the time for food, so why shouldn't we?" Unlike other animals, we were given the ability to think, the ability to make a choice. Other animals don't have that luxury, they just go on instinct. As a "higher" life form, we shouldn't lower ourselves to the realm of instincts, as if we didn't have a choice, but should, instead, use our power of choice to choose a more moral, compassionate way of life.
4) Eating a vegetable and eating the meat of an animal is not the same. Plants and vegetables are also living things, but they don't have a brain or a central nervous system, therefore they are unable to feel pain or other emotions like humans and other animals do. Even though plants sometimes appear to feel "pain", since they have no nerve-endings, brains, or hormones, it would be incorrect to compare this physical reaction to the pain felt by humans and other animals. In fact, this is a dangerous comparison, as it undermines the predicament of the animals we kill for food.
5) There are situations in life when one has to eat meat, but these are extreme situations that don't apply to the vast majority of people. If you are faced with a situation of either starving to death or eating meat, then you will obviously eat meat. Also, there are some isolated regions of the world where, due to geography, infrastructure limitations, etc., it is very hard to get by being a vegetarian. That said, the above-mentioned situations only apply to a small minority of the world's inhabitants, so unless you belong to that small minority, you should do your best to follow a vegetarian diet.
Below are some common reasons that people give for eating meat. Each response if followed by our rebuttal:
1. "Not eating meat would be unhealthy. We need meat to survive."
Our Response: There has been tons of research conducted on this topic in the recent and not-so-recent past - on whether or not vegetarianism is healthy or not. Although most results show that it is perfectly healthy, there are some that conclude that it may be unhealthy. So, whatever your dietary preference, you'll find something to prove you are "right". So, it boils down to choice. Which results will you believe? We believe in the results that will prevent more animals from suffering and being killed instead of the results that promote the killing of animals. When faced with moral decisions, you should always make the compassionate choice. Remember: One of the great things about our ability to choose is that it allows us to choose an ethical path.
2. "I like the taste of meat. I can't imagine giving it up completely."
Our Response: Many people who eat meat find it very tasty. However, the fact that meat is tasty doesn't make it OK to eat. We shouldn't forget how this meat got to our table. We at EFFA believe that the taste of meat is actually part of the temptation, part of the test of how advanced we are in our compassion. A conscious, empathetic individual will realize that the life of the animal is more important than this taste, and that just because something is pleasurable doesn't make it right. When pleasure comes at the expense of another living being's life, this pleasure will have negative consequences. Also important to remember is that while it's best to give up eating meat completely, any step you take to minimize your meat consumption is a good one.
3. "If God didn't want us to eat meat, He would not have made it so tasty!"
Our Response: By using the same logic, - If God didn't want us to overindulge in alcohol, He would not have made it so tasty. If God didn't want us to get addicted to cocaine, He would not have made it so pleasurable. If God did want us have sex with our friends' wives or husbands, He would not have made them so attractive. Using these examples, we can see how flawed the initial argument is. PS: It's not necessary to believe in God to be an Effaist.
4. "I don't care if a cow dies... or a pig, let alone a chicken!"
Our Response: This type of thinking usually comes from a lack of empathy for the suffering of other living beings. Humans are, in many cases, more intelligent than other animals, but this does not give us the right to make them suffer for our benefit. Over the course of many centuries, we have created and clung to the belief that other animals are here to serve us and to be our food. We believe this because it allows us to continue killing them and making them suffer. We are here to remind you that other animals suffer and feel pain, fear, and depression much like we do. We believe that it is very important to open our hearts to the suffering of others, especially innocent beings (which is what animals are) and to help them in any way we can. Concentrating only on our immediate problems might seem alright, but, in fact, it will lead to a wasted life. Even if you're not interested in growing your compassion towards other living beings, we encourage you to at least respect their right to live. All animals have the right to live, not only humans. These days, there are many alternatives these days to eating meat, ones that do not involve causing suffering and death to other animals.
5. "Becoming a vegetarian is too much of a hassle/too hard/too expensive."
Our Response: Becoming a vegetarian is not hard. The hard part is to break free from one's habit of eating meat. It's not easy to leave behind something you're been doing your whole life. This can be done more easily if you have the motivation of compassion behind you, and the desire to end the cycle of suffering. Finding vegetarian alternatives to your typical meat dishes is fairly easy these days, and there are a ton of tasty and healthy recipes online that you can try. Even if you have to make a bit more of an effort to get food, the positive change you create by not having other animals killed in your name will be worth it. Sometimes, we have to go the extra mile to create a fairer relationship with other animals. As for cost, vegetarianism does not have to be expensive. A quick online search will show that there are plenty of sites out there which provide ideas for tasty, low-cost vegetarian dishes.