Saturday, 27 December 2008

it's not about vegetarianism, it's about belief and conviction

Following a discussion about religion and it's various downfalls, the subject soon turned to the rather expansive topic of our lifestyles and why we follow them. My choice to become a vegetarian was immediately questioned when this topic started to take shape, and I was asked the question:

"Why are you a vegetarian?"

I answered the way I always answer. I said:

"If you are genuinely interested, I will absolutely have this conversation with you. If you're asking me because you actually want to know, I will tell you all about why I made the choice that I made. But if you're asking just so that you can make a feeble attempt at shooting me down with the same poorly-researched non-arguments that 90% of the Western population seem to think are valid reasons NOT to stop eating meat, I'd rather we didn't get into this discussion, just to avoid my anger and your embarrassment..."

Hostile, maybe. I suppose I'm just bored of being fed the same misconceptions that I am continually fed by people who seem to take personal offence at what I do not eat. (Seriously, you have so few problems that my choice not eat steak becomes a point of conflict in your life?) Anyway.

The question seemed to be genuine, and I reeled off the various reasons that convinced me to stop eating meat, and cut down on my dairy intake. Well researched pieces of information that are nothing less than fact.

And then, I was told: "As one person, not eating meat is going to make no difference at all. The industry will still continue. Animals will still be bred and killed for food, in the same way that they have been for years.

"Things might not be right, but they don't change. And one person isn't going to make a difference to that."

And that is when I thought, hold the phone.

What if Martin Luther King had thought that? What if Nelson Mandela had thought 'fuck it, this is going nowhere.' What if Issac Newton got bored of being called 'crazy' or 'delusional' and jacked in his research on modern physics and mechanics?

What if any of these monumental people decided that what they thought was wrong was never going to change and instead of taking the first steps in making a real change, they decided to do absolutely nothing?

All of these changes can never happen overnight. It takes generations for any real progress to be made, because of human inability to accept that what we are doing is wrong. It has been 45 years since King made his 'I Have A Dream' speech - and we still have racism and prejudice within the world. But the situation has changed massively because of the conviction of one man, and to dispute that would be flying in the face of fact.

I am in no way comparing my choice not to eat meat to being some kind of world-altering revolutionary. But I am saying that until we start doing instead of just talking, nothing will ever happen. As one person, no, I will not finish off the meat industry. But as part of thousands, in 30 years, things may start to swing in our favour.

Gandhi once said "You must be the change you want to see in the world" and think that there are few things less fitting than that very statement.

The world is moving forward man, it really is. So instead of resigning yourself to complete defeatism, why not try and push it in the direction you want to see it, in your own little way?

Otherwise, fuck it. What's the point in doing anything?

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