Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat – red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter
A Pescatarian diet typically shares many of its components with a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and may include vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, dairy, and insect byproducts (such as honey, carmine, or shellac), but a vegetarian diet excludes meat. The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term pescetarian to 1993 and defines it as: “one whose diet includes fish but no other meat.”
People decide to go Vegetarian/ Pescatarian for so many different reasons, Health, Love of Animals, disagreeing with the farming trade to name a few, this is my story.
I grew up in a meat-eating house hold, infact I really didn’t give it a second thought.
I adore animals, I’m not saying I’d want to own all of them as pets; more that I have a healthy respect for all animals and great empathy for them.
From an early age that was evident.
I was the little girl who ‘saved’ worms from the path on the way to school, that would otherwise surely die in the summer sunshine (much to the disgust of other girls from my class).
I was the child that brought in injured birds, hedgehogs and frogs (to name a few) and researched what to feed them and how to keep them happy until they were fit enough to return to the wild.
It was only as I became older that I knew of two vegetarians in my family and they didn’t really talk about it, it has only recently occurred to me why they don’t after I embarked on this path myself.
Initially programmes about animal abuse and campaigns about ‘testing’ products on animals sparked my interest such as ‘The Cruelty Free campaign’ and I worked for the Body Shop which also advocates Cruelty free products.
When I learnt of the Cruelty inflicted on innocent animals through ‘testing’ everything from cosmetics to house hold products (just about everything you can think of) I was horrified.
I started to consciously make an effort to buy products with the leaping bunny logo and encourage others to do the same.
Then my interest broadened into general Animal Welfare, I started to research about battery hens and egg production, which restaurants serve free range, the farming industry and eventually slaughter houses.
I had done what most of us do and that is I forgot the connection between the live animal at the farm, with feelings, personality, family and friends and the meat on my plate, (or rather the meat packaged in plastic on the shelves of the supermarket)!After a few hideous stories, videos (that gave me nightmares) and thorough research about how the farming industry works, (including how some farmers take ‘short cuts’ to gain profit which results in low standards for the animals), how abuse is common and how ‘aware’ animals are; It started to make me feel very uncomfortable. I honestly believe if more people researched about it and watched the videos I’ve seen, more people would decide to become a Vegetarian. I didn’t want to take the risk that meat I was eating or buying was part of Ill treatment harm or pain for an animal.
Animal abuse, neglect or lack of empathy is the same whether it’s in the laboratories, people’s homes or farms and slaughter houses.
It has been proven many times scientifically that animals are capable of emotion and abilities to form bonds, recognise each other and humans and have memories and have the ability to learn new things.
Some people wrongly assume animals are less than they are, in every way.
I do not condemn people for eating meat it is a choice, I was once where they are now.
But I do feel that not making that connection between the live animal and the meat you eat and not caring about the animal’s life is a mistake.
Luckily it seems like I am not in the minority Jimmy (from Jimmy’s farm) advocates a campaign called the ‘red tractor logo’.
It supports Uk farmers, and is actively trying to improve the welfare standard and lives of farm animals the meat can be traced back to the exact farms they came from.
One day the penny dropped for me a ‘Eureka’ moment if you will.
I realised when I eat a ‘leg of chicken’ it is the chickens LEG, when I fancy a beef spag bol a cow has to be killed, when I fancy a roast chicken a chicken is KILLED, if they were in my back garden I couldn’t kill them, I have too much empathy for them.
I used the words, wing, leg, neck what ever the body parts/cuts of meat may have been but I didn’t really think about the words or what they meant.
On top of that when I was learning about some of the horrendously run farms and the emotional and physical torture the animals might endure, I realised I didn’t want to take the risk…at all and the only way I could do that was not to eat meat.
If anything I thought about the meat as flavour and protein NOT under any circumstances did I associate it any more with a live animal having to be killed that’s how desensitized I’d become.
It was the norm and I didn’t question it.
Now I have and my thinking is so different about ‘meat’ or rather the animals.
I feel healthier and happier and empowered by my decision to change my diet I talk in my next post about the pros and cons and things I’ve found out along the way, since deciding to cut out meat and they may surprise you. :)x