Friday, October 30, 2009

vegetarianism

A few weeks ago we the matrics had their valedictory. Since there are only 13 of them, each student got to hear a little speech about themselves and an award at the end. One got a toy microphone because he talks so much, etc.

At the end of the ceremony the matrics gave each of the teachers an award too in the same spirit. I won the "meat" award because I'm a pescetarian (they actually used that word) and I was presented with some wors. Ever since then I've had kids coming to me asking why I'm a vegetarian and then explaining why that's a stupid reason. They usually extremely confident (otherwise they wouldn't approach me, especially the ones I don't teach) that their point refutes my position.

What is it about vegetarianism that inspires this kind of reaction? The matrics know I'm a vegetarian because I went up the Orange River with them so they saw me avoiding meat. It gets mentioned in front of the school and then people investigate further why? It's not exactly like I've shoved it in their faces. But it still gets people so worked up.

I'm also unsure if people expect they're making a point I hadn't heard before when they tell me that humans have incisors. I can't tell.

8 comments:

Sid said...

What exactly is your reason for being a vegetarian?

mutt said...

Because I feel sorry for the animals, except fish. I don't feel sorry for them at all.

TLT said...

Perhaps they haven't met a vegetarian before so the obvious initial reaction is to reject it. But with repeated exposure they may start to think about it more.

I'm afraid that there is growing evidence that fish do experience pain and suffering consciously. I still eat fish but only to appease my roommate. Once we don't live together I'll give it up.

mutt said...

I always dither on fish. I never buy it in shops, but I do sometimes order it when I go out.

I know they can feel pain and suffer, but I do think it's a different case to other meat for a couple of reasons.

Their suffering is qualitatively different from animals like mamals, though that doesn't mean it doesn't matter of course.

Most fish we eat isn't farmed. They're not raised in horrible conditions the way pigs and cows are. Most fish also die by being eaten, starve or disease. being caught isn't especially worse (though catching dolphins etc is a problem, and of course the overfishing). So an individual fish isn't living a much worse life because we caught it and ate it.

TLT said...

The argument that fish will suffer anyway is an interesting one which I'd have to look into more.

Will all fish suffer a fate like this? Is it worse to be eaten than dragged out of the water alive?

Also, won't most land animals and even humans suffer a terrible death? If true, is it ok to kill them "before their time", in any manner? Or possibly, even ethical to kill them early, using euthanasia?

Just asking.

stuart said...

(ugh. lost long comment)

I'm not sure we can compare different level's of suffering. Being killed instantly by having your head bitten off isn't bad but there are plenty of nasty ways too. being caught in a net does suck though...

It happens occasionally in movies that someone is terribly hurt during a war or something where a friend is called on to end the suffering. I think thats fine (though I'm sure I couln't do it). It's another thing to kill someone (or animal) painlessly now simply because we'll likely suffer lots later.

I do still wonder about eating fish, but if it's a suffering/quality of life thing, then the fact that getting caught sucks, doesn't really settle the matter, because it doesn't make much difference (i don't think)

Sid said...

Just stumbled on the above debate now.

Anyway just want to add that I once saw pics of tuna caught with a net. They were brought onto the ship more or less alive. The fishermen eventually shot the fish with guns. I'm not sure how true this article was but I pretty much stopped eating tuna, which was the only fish I ever ate.

TLT said...

I agree, honestly all I need to continue vegetarianism (and attempt veganism) is to remember some shocking facts and images of how animals are treated on (most) farms. That's basically the primary driver behind my food choices. I cannot forget and the memory is enough to not make me want to eat animals ever again.