Until recently, I have gorged on red meat, chomped on chicken, orgasmed at the thought of barbeque ribs, and needed to eat meat at least once a day. After converting to soymilk at the beginning of summer, thanks to my roommate and news of hormones injected into cows, I became very conscious about just how healthy each substance I was putting into my body was. I learned that as toddlers, we develop complexes in our body that break down the protein and fat contained in meat. Our bodies don’t need to develop this complex and is actually better off without it, for breaking down meat is a very strenuous and tough process on our digestive systems.
Knowing these facts made me start thinking about a switch to vegetarianism, but my health wasn’t enough. Then I watched a PETA video and was disgusted at what I saw. Not only do animals get abused and mistreated at the slaughterhouse, but they’re also drugged by hormones to fatten them up quicker, a key characteristic of the American mass production of meat.
And I know what some of you are thinking: PETA is a crazy, radical organization that throws paint onto people with fur coats. But truthfully, even if they do exaggerate some, if their videos depict what happens to make less than one percent of the meat I eat, then I don’t want to eat any of it. I was repulsed by what I saw, shocked by what I learned, and eager to make a difference. The one thing I could personally do to help environmental sustainability, protect my health, and save an animal’s life was to become a vegetarian.
What surprised me the most, then, was returning to campus and finding a whole community of vegetarians. I had no idea so many people choose not to eat meat on a daily basis, and was very impressed by the support I received. At the Hillel opening barbeque I was thrilled to learn that they offered veggie hamburgers, and used separate tongs to cook them with. Later I felt spoiled when Eaton and the apartment area’s welcome back cookout provided the same luxury. And at the SLC student leader retreat, vegetarians got preferential spots in the food line. I also realized most of the people that are highly involved in environmental organizations on campus also don’t eat meat. I wonder why.is it not a decision that improves our environment?
Now, some would express their disapproval of my decision by labeling me ‘picky’ or ‘high maintenance,’ but the truth is, not eating meat is revitalizing and rewarding, for myself, the animals, and the environment.
Alyssa Cundari is a sophomore majoring in History and Political Science. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.