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Pet Peeve #16:
Narcissistic Vegetarianism

Filed under: Pet Peeves

Before I get too much hate mail, I need to make one thing absolutely clear: I am not trying to make any negative comments here regarding anyone’s choice to be a vegetarian or vegan. If that works for you — whether it is for dietary, health or moral issues — that’s great. I have no right to criticize such a choice and must respect this decision, but why is it then, that this respect is often not mutual?

I work with some peers whom are vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians and even vegans. Never once have any of them ever attempted to impose their dietary choices or beliefs upon me, nor have they expressed any self-righteous condemnation towards my choice to eat meat. Outside of such professional circles, however, I have not met the same equality in viewpoints. Quite often, I encounter those who have chosen to live life as a vegetarian, and unfortunately, see it as their mission to ensure that all others do so as well. Those of us who eat meat, in their eyes, are violating a code of morality that obviously not all of us completely agree upon. With an almost religious fervor, they take any opportunity to impose their views upon others, to change the topic of conversation to their one-sided debate, and to go out of their way to ensure that the rest of us know that we committing a sin in their eyes.

As a case in point, in a recent post about non-violence on a local yoga studio’s Facebook page, a follower decided it was best to hijack the thread to espouse their own viewpoint on the subject of vegetarianism. That in itself will likely be the subject of a separate post, as it seems even the basic forms of etiquette on social media sites and Internet forums are sadly, but consistently lacking. Regardless, in a manner befitting such fanatical views — and what should be unsurprising to most — this person felt it best to (mis)quote Mahatma Gandhi, stating:

“the greatness of a nation and their moral progress can be judged by the way their animals are treated. to my mind the life of the lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”

Well, at first glance that might in fact seem like an appropriate historical quote, despite the lack of proper grammar or their inability to use their spell checker. However, a very precursory attempt at research quickly reveals that there is no known source that indicates Gandhi ever actually made such a statement regarding the greatness of nations and their respective treatment of animals. ┬áIn fact, research reveals he likely did not actually do so. Further, Gandhi’s statement on the life of the lamb being as precious as that of a human being, was apparently in reaction to his witnessing of the religious sacrifice of sheep in the early 1900’s. As far as I know, today few religions still practice such beliefs, and I willing to venture a bet that most meat eaters do not sacrifice animals either.

It is this lack of respect for our choice to eat meat, and constant pushing of the vegetarian agenda, by some, that I find extremely objectionably. In all honesty, I know of no one who goes through life with an overriding desire to convert all vegetarians to meat eaters. Which, in itself is fine for me, as it leaves more meat for the rest of us.

What I really do wonder, however, is what exactly do such zealots feed to their pets? Attempting to convert your cat to a vegetarian, will only result in a bulimic cat, and those of you who have not lived with a dog might be surprised by the critters my Labrador Retrievers have eaten over the years.

July 22, 2012 | Posted by Ian | Permalink | Leave a comment
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