Killing for no reason – are vegetarians wrong?

To take a life in a premeditated manner is murder. To kill an animal for its meat is murder. My road to that conclusion, and therefore not eating meat, was a long one.

In my younger days I ate a lot of it. I mean a real lot. Steaks, burgers, bacon, chicken, turkey, duck, even kangaroo. You name it, I probably tried it at least once. I even went ‘carnivore’ just to see if could. And yep I survived off eggs, meat and cheese for a week (although I didn’t feel great, I have to admit).

I loved the taste of it, I loved that it was so easy to make great meals even ‘better’ by throwing in a bit of fried meat. I also loved that by looking around, meat could be pretty cheap. 20 sausages for £2? Yes please!

Funny enough, it was actually the price that got me thinking about the process of animal to plate. Not long after I first moved to Germany I wanted a chicken to make a roast, and headed to the supermarket. I was pretty skint (didn’t have much money) at the time, but I found a frozen one for €2.49. €2.49! Wow, what a price, younger me thought. Bargain.

Who pays the price?

On the way home, I started to think about the route of the (measly) money involved. I figured the supermarket was making a profit, as was the farmer, and probably a supplier too. The chicken needed feeding, and a place to live. Then there was the transport and storing costs as well.

I started to realise the awful, sickening conditions that the chicken must have been kept in for everyone to make a profit, at his expense. And at the end of his misery? Freedom? Certainly not.

I still ate the poor little guy, but he was the one that lit the fuse. We’re going back a good few years now, and this was when I was in my early-mid twenties. My thought process then moved to something along the lines of ‘I can’t believe we’d do this to any living being, let alone young ones’. From that day forward I cut out meat from all animals I considered babies – mostly lamb and calf.

It wasn’t until a few years later I learnt most chickens are slaughtered by about seven weeks old – that was enough to cut chicken out too. The rest all followed pretty quickly, with bacon being the very last meat I cut out.

We only have one

And I came to a conclusion. Life is sacred. We each only have one. Who are we to take it away from others?

Let me be clear here – when I say life, I mean sentient life. A blade of grass doesn’t concern me unduly. An animal that breathes and thinks, that feels fear, pain and joy, is what concerns me.

I thought that then, and I still think it now. Why should I kill for something I don’t need? Ahhhh – that’s right, I said need.

Although I rarely press my reasons for not eating meat onto others unless asked (today is a BIG exception), many people feel the need to tell me why I’m wrong being a vegetarian, whether I ask for it or not.

Needs or wants?

I’ve been told a million times that vegetarianism is wrong and we need meat. I’ve heard the stories about how we evolved much quicker after eating red meat, and heard plenty of warnings of what’ll happen to me if I don’t get enough protein (i.e I’ll snuff it pretty quickly). That’s all well and good, I won’t argue we didn’t evolve quicker, scientists much cleverer than myself have proved it probably was so. I also agree protein is essential.

But why do we need meat now? I’m not disputing that meat contains some incredibly important nutrients, ones we couldn’t survive without. But these nutrients can all be found elsewhere – whether they be plant based or eggs and dairy. So, if I can get everything I need from other sources and thrive and survive, why do I need to kill? I don’t. Surely then, eating meat is purely for enjoyment (and I really did enjoy it, once upon a time). But now – murder for my enjoyment? Nahhh… I’m fine thanks.

Since those early days, my opinions have somewhat hardened and been confirmed. My body is fit and strong, I’m not endangering myself or anyone else by not eating meat. Therefore I feel conviction in my choice that I don’t need death on my hands.

To conclude

So, to sum up MY views on not eating meat. I don’t need meat to survive. Taking life from a sentient being is murder, and the consumption of meat by me is purely for my enjoyment as it is not a necessity. Death for enjoyment is not a fair trade. Therefore, to be a vegetarian is not ‘wrong’, as some insist.

These are MY personal reasons for not eating meat. Feel free to discuss these with me – I’m open to hearing all views, of course.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – DAVEKilling for no reason - are vegetarians wrong? |

I don’t believe animals need to be killed for my enjoyment. Although I was once a big meat eater I changed to a vegetarian diet several years ago and haven’t looked back. A purely plant-based diet is my next stop.

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  1. My reasons for giving up meat were broadly the same as yours Dave. As well as not being comfortable eating meat, I never really liked it either so just thought we’ll stop eating it then.
    People ask me about it or judge me same as you & I also find it hard to explain not being vegan (though 90% of my diet is) and the fact I will eat fish at a push sometimes when vegi isn’t easy to find.
    For me, animals welfare & farming are the big issue and if meat was prized & valued as a treat, as a small part of a mostly plant based diet, it would mean that farmers were paid fairly and could ensure animals lived good lives. The world would be a better & healthier place & it would be better for the environment too.
    That said, I know I am not doing all I can as I do own leather goods, so I can’t be sanctimonious. I don’t try to stop anyone else eating meat & I do buy it for my husband who is not vegi.
    Like all things in life, there are no definite answers & to eat meat or not is a personal choice which I made 37 years ago for my own motivations but don’t expect everyone to follow. You are doing your bit to make the world better, carry on the good work & remember, everyone is an armchair critic, just do your thing! Good luck & all the best.

    • Hi Amanda, and thanks for writing! I’m right with you there, some very good points and my idealogy follows along the same lines. I did stop buying leather a couple of years ago – but I still wear my leather jacket now and then. There’s no way it’s going in the bin, I’d rather make full use of it – that saves me buying anything else in its place. Absolutely, there are no definite answers. Thanks again Amanda, take care!

  2. Yes, you are not doing enough, barely anything by just being vegetarian. You ARE contributing to the murder of non-humyn people, just not as fast and with more suffering than if you were consuming “meat”. You don’t need ANY “animal” products to survive.

    • Thanks for your opinion J. I love to hear a good, staunch, ‘I’m right and you’re wrong with no middle ground’ point of view. Unfortunately we all leave some sort of footprint whether we want to or not. Whether it’s using wood or paper from dessicated forests or overused farmland that displaces entire species, everything has an effect. My opinion (and that’s all it is, an opinion) is that every small thing that we do to help, helps. If we were to support and encourage each other for the things we do, instead of berate and judge, then as a race, we would do much better. But hey, that’s just my opinion, right? Oh and yeah, we do – B12. If we don’t get B12, we die (or go crazy).

  3. Dear Dave, thank you for your article. I am 70 years old and have been vegetarian since 1973, except for a few short sojourns in places/situations where nothing else but meat/fish was available. I’m from Ireland, not really known for it’s vegetarianism 🙂 and over the years, I heard all of the arguments: you need the protein, the iron, basically we are carnivores by nature etc., etc. But somehow I’ve made it to this age, live a very active life and recently recovered from a serious illness mostly with the help of a heathy vegetarian diet.

    I teach vegetarian cooking but don’t see it as my place to be a missionary – all one can do is to put it out there, show the delicious, humane and healthy alternatives (this site is a great source!) and leave each person to decide for themselves. In my rather long life, I have been confronted with various differing philosophies, be they dietary or spiritual (what? you don’t eat raw food? What? You don’t believe that this/that spiritual path is the only way to salvation?) and have become more and more convinced that “live and let live” is the only way forward. No-one will be convinced by an aggressive argument – you can just invite people to dinner in a comfortable, non-confrontational situation and sit them down to a meal (be it vegetarian or vegan or whatever) that will whet their appetites for more.

    An increasing number of people are thinking about the implications of being carnivorous and doing their best to find an alternative (I see it more and more in my classes) so I think whatever our own personal views are, we should just cut them some slack – I adhere to the Indian lacto-vegetarian path, supporting local organic dairies for my dairy products and I will never be vegan. I have my own opinions about that but they are my opinions and I respect anyone who decides on that diet, incorporating vegan dishes into my classes as well.

    So to cut short this rather long-winded message: be tolerant, respect others no matter how they feed themselves (hey, some of my best friends – and my family – are meat eaters!) and be sneaky: a delicious vegetarian/vegan meal will go a lot further than pushing your own opinions down their throats (now there’s a nice simile 🙂 )

    Dave, thank you, Hauke & your team for the great site!

    • Hi Valeria, wow. Thank you for the comment and insight. You’re absolutely right, a little tolerance and respect goes a long way! I also agree, aggressive arguments and similies 🙂 often have the opposite effect of what people want, and undermine the cause, well-intentioned or not. I’m glad to hear you’ve recovered well – and that our site has been a help to you food-wise. It makes it all worthwhile! Take care, Valerie!

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