I’m a vegetarian again.
As I see it, there are a variety of overlapping reasons people are vegetarians, it’s not just because animals are cute. Here are some.
It’s inefficient and hard on the environment to use animals for food in our industrial scale. Plants are easier to grow and store and prepare and ship.
There’s enough food production on the planet to feed everyone already, not just that everyone is fed, but that everyone is fed to healthy and strong. However, a lot of that food goes to livestock, so rich people can regularly eat meat and poor people can regularly eat nothing. Yes, worldwide distribution isn’t this simple, but nothing is this simple, so it’s a start.
Treating animals humanely
It’s arguably barbaric that we take creatures that have complex brains and raise them in order to slaughter and eat them. We’re basically the hyper-intelligent villains in some alien invasion movie, asserting its dinner is more important than a human’s life. This is not a convincing argument for me but it’s an added bonus.
This is a motive in both directions, if the people you regularly eat with are vegetarians then it’s easy, if they eat meat, it’s hard. In my case I have no people I eat with regularly, however this was a significant part of my vegetarianism last time.
Astonishingly, Dae Hee, some people don’t like the taste of meat. I personally consider chicken and pork the same as tofu: a white protein that, even when the best quality stuff is cooked in the best possible way, is still to be eaten only as sauce/spice/flavouring vehicle, and when cooked poorly it just ruins everything. I can also clearly remember the taste of the first lamb I had after being a vegetarian for over a year. It tasted like blood and farms. I kept eating meat because it’s easier and the shock of that faded, but it’s still really weird.
My interpretation of why unscientific fad diets work for some people is that if you go from not paying attention to what you eat to paying attention to what you eat, you’ll probably eat better. The same for switching to a vegetarian diet, with the added advantage that you have to be purposeful about protein and iron and such.
Restaurant menus become so much simpler. I’ll have the one vegetarian option that doesn’t have tofu, please.
In the first version of this post I totally missed one of the more common reasons people are vegetarian.
This doesn’t feature in my list of reasons at all except perhaps as an instigator for consistency-of-ethics.
My own reasons are mostly the consistency of ethics in environment sustainability and global poverty, with side benefits of taste and health. This is something that I’ve been increasingly leaning toward and now I’m in control of my own meals again I can be freely vegetarian.
I’m not going to be strict or even necessarily consistent. I have leather shoes and bags and wristbands. I’m probably not going to worry about vegetarian cheese or gelatin, or shrimp-based curry paste, I’ve been vegetarianing for not even three weeks and I’ve eaten meat five times (partly because travelling, and partly because refusing meat cooked for me when I’d been a vegetarian for 48 hours seemed pretty rude).