Being a Carnivore While Loving Animals: 6 Reasons I Eat Meat

Having lived in Oregon has given me an automatic label amongst even my most inner circle: vegetarian. Friends that have watched me eat meat half-jokingly say it. I don’t take offense, by any means, but it is confusing, since the only time I’ve spent as a vegetarian was a handful of months nearly ten years ago. Apparently that kind of thing sticks with people (especially if you then move to the West Coast), but I fairly quickly came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me. And that was a tough decision, because I’d done a heck of a lot of reading about how meat is produced in this country. I’m positive that I’m not alone – that others, too, must struggle with the juxtaposition of compassion for other living creatures and consuming them.

Let me make this explicitly clear: I am not denouncing vegetarianism or veganism. If it’s working for you, super. But it doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s who this post is for. If you’re wondering how to juggle a deep love for animals with the prospect of eating them, maybe my perspective can help you. Maybe my opinions will push you to be vegetarian, and that’s okay too. That’s what this post is: my opinion and perspective.

Barred Rock Chick

Barred Rock Chick

I have always been deeply attached to animals, domestic and wild alike. When I started to learn about the horrors of the meat production industry (and it is most certainly an industry) and how it affects us, I took some time off from eating meat. My protein came primarily from soy products, beans, nuts, and the other standard newbie-vegetarian fare. However, it didn’t take long for me to decide that keeping meat products out of my diet wasn’t for me. Here’s what’s going on for me.

1. Different bodies have different needs. My body was not interested in living without meat. I struggle with blood sugar and insulin issues, and meat not only plays a pivotal role in keeping my body satiated, but has nutrients that non-meat products don’t have, or do not have in sufficient amounts. Not all bodies can thrive on a no-meat diet, period. The opposite is also true: some bodies have a hard time processing meat and nutritional supplements are sufficient for maintaining health.

2. Eating a strictly non-meat diet and lobbying for others to do the same will not stop people from eating meat. Period. There’s a huge movement in the no-meat communities that aims to stamp out meat-eating. It’s never going to happen. Humans are designed to eat meat; we evolved on meat. No matter how many vegetarians and vegans exist, their numbers and campaigns will never convince everyone else to halt meat consumption.

We need to change animal product production. Because people will never stop eating meat, what we need to focus on is making critical, overwhelming changes to the way we produce meat. The animal cruelty, overcrowding, environmental degradation, and flagrant use of antibiotics, inappropriate livestock feed, and hormones – it all needs to stop. Like, yesterday. The only way, in my opinion, that this can happen is if we stop supporting industrial meat production and start putting our money towards sustainable, humane livestock operations.

3. I support humanely-raised, organic, healthy livestock products wherever possible, and whenever I can afford to. And let me be perfectly clear: I can’t always afford to. I’m a regular person, caught in the same societal, economic, and financial maze as the rest of my fellow countrypeople. But when I can afford to, I do my best to put my money heavily into animal products made without hormones or antibiotics, from animals that have been allowed to eat a natural diet, have been permitted a fair amount of space, and have been raised and slaughtered humanely. When I can’t afford this meat, I reduce how much meat I purchase. Only by putting our money towards meat that has been raised humanely and with a high quality of life will we change the meat industry. And this isn’t just about beef for burgers – this is about your rotisserie and fried chicken, milk and yogurt, cheeses, eggs, and all other animal products.

4. Choosing not to eat meat is a privilege. While, again, I have nothing against a person’s choice to stick to a no-meat diet, I do have a problem with the occasional higher-than-thou attitude. Only first world countries get to flaunt a choice to not eat meat; and it is, absolutely, a privileged choice. We tend to ignore that. People who live in poverty do not have the opportunity to say “no” to food, and meat is one of the most important foods for nations in poverty because of its caloric density. The ability to pay more for humanely raised animal products is also a privilege, and this is where I choose to use mine.

5. I want to learn how to hunt. Not because I like the idea of killing things – far from it. After having to euthanize entirely too many fatally injured smaller animals during my time at a nature center, the thought of taking life makes me feel anxious and desperate. But my personal values are waging battle against that anxiety: how can I eat meat without knowing what it feels like to kill for it? We’re so detached from our food production (another privilege) that we have the option to ignore the brutality of killing to eat. That’s something I want to personally face. One deer could feed my family for months, and I would have the distinct opportunity to take its life with respect, dignity, and honor. That’s something I can’t get in the average grocery store.
5a. Hunting is healthy for some ecosystems. In a country where we’ve removed most of the natural predators, many of our standard prey species are in numbers too high for some habitats to maintain, which can lead to disease and starvation for some of those animals.
5b. Hunters help preserve our wild spaces. Now, I am not a fan of  trophy hunters, recreational hunters that take more than they need, poachers, or predator-hunters, but I don’t need to be. They’re a whole different issue. The fact is that hunters (particularly those that respect the connection between life and death, and the consequences of taking life) are attached to what they do and fight to protect the space in which they do it. That works out to the benefit of far more living things than they’re taking out of the ecosystem, and it serves as one more defense against the loss of our wild spaces.

6. Eating a strictly no-meat diet is not sustainable either. You can read more about this issue in a book called The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, but suffice to say that it takes far more deforestation and monocropping to produce the vegetables needed for a country of vegetarians than it does for humane meat production, particularly if we stop feeding our livestock grain products they’re not designed to eat in abundance. Soy and corn are two of the most genetically-messed-with and processed food plants on the market. And if those vegetables aren’t being grown organically, that’s thousands of gallons of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers being dumped onto the delicate topsoil.

I truly believe that convincing meat eaters to switch to humanely produced livestock products is the key to changing the face of the meat industry. I believe that when we respect and feel gratitude for the animals as the providers of our sustenance, we’ll bridge the gap between the pain we cause and the food we may need. Be sure: animals can live healthy, happy lives before they nourish us. But for this to happen, we as consumers need to end the demand for inexpensive meat products.

Stop expecting meat to be cheap.

If your food is cheap, it’s missing something; in this case, a basic respect for the living thing that died so we could eat it, and valuable nutrients if it’s raised in an unhealthy, unclean manner. Furthermore, a scared or stressed animal is pumping itself full of stress hormones, which not only makes for a low-quality life, but stays in the meat that we then ingest.

The higher the demand for humanely raised livestock products, the more obsolete the current meat industry will become. I firmly believe that when we eat animal products that come from happy, healthy animals, we’ll be healthier, happier people. When you demand cheap meat, you demand animal suffering, which, in my opinion, becomes a part of your body when you consume it.

And as far as I can see, we sure don’t need any more suffering in this world.

So what can you do? A lot.

First, understand that most meat at your local supermarket is raised on meat farms, and learn about the realities of concentrated animal farming operations. The key is finding somewhere to buy it where you can rely on knowing that the animals were raised humanely. As of yet, this information is not as easy to find as we’d like – it takes some digging, but it’s truly worth the time.

1. My first and strongest advice is to find your local farmers. Start at Local Harvest, or call your local extension office. There are almost certainly farmers near you, rest assured. Visit the farm if you can and talk to them. The farmers I’ve experienced have been happy to chat with me and even show me their livestock. What better way to know than with my own eyes that the animals have space, look healthy, and have a caretaker that cherishes them? If they’re a larger farm and they’re too busy for personal tours, ask about farm visit days, which many farms have to invite locals in to see what they’re about. If you have friends or family that want to take this adventure with you, consider buying an entire animal from a responsible farmer and splitting the meat. You’ll pay more upfront, but the per pound cost could end up being as low as $3/lb or more. Small farmers face a lot of challenges and need our support, so go support them.

2. Do your research and start looking. Find natural food stores and check out their meat products. Do they have a welfare rating system? Whole Foods, for example, has one and you can get an idea of what amenities the livestock is afforded by using this system. The high the number towards 10, the more amenities the animals are given. Is this full proof? Absolutely not. At my local Whole Foods, the chicken has a welfare rating of 2, which is actually a little insulting for a Whole Foods. Alternatively, you can jot down the farms the meat comes from and do your own research.

3. Look for labels when you buy. Certified Organic, Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved, and American Humane Certified are good labels to look for if a local farm is not an option. The sites make available the documents listing their standards, so check them out. But understand: these labels do not make everything peachy keen. Not all of them require all animals to have access to outdoor time. Which, in my opinion, is pretty critical. This is why I say support your local farmers first and foremost.

4. Learn how to hunt, or raise your own. You can’t monitor the health of the animals you consume more than if you raise it yourself. If you’re limited for space, maybe you could just keep a few chickens for eggs. (Just reducing the demand for cheap eggs can go a long way – read more about that here.)

5. Find others like you. Go to Mother Earth News, Earthineer, and look for online communities and blogs. I highly recommend Tovar Cerulli’s site, A Mindful Carnivore. He’s a vegan-turned-hunter and has some really valuable insights and perspectives on eating meat ethically. I follow him on Twitter, and recently he posted:

Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 11.22.50 AM

I couldn’t agree more.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! I welcome polite conversation and questions in the comments. Also, I’d love to direct you to two other links you may find useful: one is this article by Ducks & Clucks on the realities of having your own backyard flock – which you should be familiar with before committing, as is true with any animal in your care, and the second is PetFinder, where you can actually find adoptable barnyard critters and chickens (which are under the birds category) – adoption is awesome if you can take that route and help animals that have been abandoned.

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Posted on January 19, 2014, in Connected Living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. The title set this up to be a really great philosophical investigation, but I am really disappointed. Where’s the nuanced ethical discussion? Why is it wrong to eat chimps or dolphins but not pigs? Is it I okay to be horrified at the dog and cat industry in Korea but not the pig and cow industry in the USA? Would it be okay to raise dogs for meat if they were treated well? How about chimps or humans? These very serious questions are not addressed here. There ARE some righteous sentiments herein for sure, and I agree with much of what you say, and I am not going to say now that everyone should eschew meat, but frankly, I think there is a bit of misinformation and ethical confusion in here, allow me to critique.

    “If [vegetarianism or veganism] is working for you, super. But it doesn’t work for everyone” Doesn’t, as in CAN’T? If so, I think you’re just lacking in imagination. If something is more ethical, greener, and healthier (and I don’t think you’re prepared to demonstration that veganism isn’t all three), then I think anyone is perfectly capable of doing it. Imagine someone saying in 1840 “abolition doesn’t work for me” or in 1960 “assimilation doesn’t work for me, I love segregation too much”.

    “meat… has nutrients that non-animal products don’t have”. Of the five nutrients listed in the linked page, only two are essential nutrients, and only one, vitamin D is made my animals. The other, B12, is in fermented vegan foods, but is best absorbed but people of ANY diet, as a supplement). Vitamin D is found in many varieties of mushrooms, but it too is fine and recommended to ALL high latitude people as a supplement, and it is difficult to OD on vitamin D. The reason dairy is a good source of D is because it’s fortified, and many vegan products are fortified. If gasoline were fortified with D, it wouldn’t be a good reason to drink it. There happens to be many healthy plant products fortified with D as well. The linked page argued that we need to eat animal products in order to get these nutrients for brain health. That would seem contrary to the success of the (vegan) world memory champion, Jonas van Essen. The undisputed world’s foremost physicist Ed Whitten, or computer scientist and Pulitzer winner Douglas Hoffstadter aren’t doing too bad as vegetarians either. Nor did Einstein, or Tesla. Perhaps the author of that article has information that Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton, don’t have. I’ll get the article to them right away so they can end their naive veganism.

    As far as the insulin issue, type two diabetes is routinely REVERSED with a plant-based diet. See Dr. Neal Barnards research And this treatment, involves no calorie counting, no side effects, in fact no drugs at all. In this camp, veganism has everything going for it and should be diabetes protocol.

    “Eating [vegan/vegetarian and telling] others to do the same will not stop people from eating meat. Period.” Yes, it will. Period. It stopped me, and I stopped friends, and veganism and vegetarianism are both growing. Society is changing very rapidly. What if your distant ancestors had said “You can’t stop cannibalism. Period” or “you can’t stop people from eating dogs, or monkeys, or feces, or maggots”? Technology is changing the world fast, we’ll soon have lab-grown meat, and indistinguishable faux meat. Information about the health virtues of a vegan diet ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ ) are getting out. It will be the subject of Thrusday’s (1/23/2014) episode of Dr. Oz (whose wife by the way, is a vegan). Facts are getting out and people ARE going veg because of it. Again, I think your claims fall short on a imagination.

    Also, EVERYONE should be outraged and outspoken about the livestock industry, especially those that eat meat.

    “Humans are designed to eat meat” I’m not convinced. This certainly isn’t held as true by the folks at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

    “Only first world countries get to flaunt a choice not to eat meat” This is just bad reasoning. Only first world countries have a choice to eat over 200 lbs of meat per person per year. Third World countries mostly live on cereals and legumes. And, I don’t think it’s shepherds in Africa that are getting angry letters from PETA, but there ARE developing countries that still make the choice not to eat meat. In India, one of the poorest places on earth, 40% are vegetarian. Meat is a luxury item, and is seldom a necessity.

    “Hunting is healthy for some environments” I concur, and surely it is far more commendable then mindlessly consuming factory raised meat, but I would love to see the ethics of hunting clearly defined. Is it okay to hunt just any animal? How about bear? Wolves? Dogs?

    “Eating a strictly no-meat diet is not sustainable either” Yes it is. Thermodynamics applies here. The energy it take to produce plants is always less than it takes to produce animals which eat the plants. Eating lower on the food chain is greener, and far more sustainable. That’s why, the Earth sustains more grass than grasshoppers, and more grasshoppers than frogs. This is the law of increasing trophic levels.

    I commend your great intentions and sincere effort to eat meat in a more ethical way, but I suspect you didn’t give vegetarianism a serious try, or health and nutrition serious research, or ethics serious examination.

    • Wow, thanks for reply Richard! :) Let me see if I can address some of what you wrote.

      The title set this up to be a really great philosophical investigation, but I am really disappointed. Where’s the nuanced ethical discussion? Why is it wrong to eat chimps or dolphins but not pigs? Is it I okay to be horrified at the dog and cat industry in Korea but not the pig and cow industry in the USA? As I said in the first couple of paragraphs, this is an opinion piece – my personal experience. There’s plenty of info on the web for people to read and make choices about the “nuances;” that wasn’t my goal here. And rest assured, I am horrified at the pig and cow industry in the USA – in my post, you will see oodles of references to this.

      “If [vegetarianism or veganism] is working for you, super. But it doesn’t work for everyone” Doesn’t, as in CAN’T? If so, I think you’re just lacking in imagination. If something is more ethical, greener, and healthier (and I don’t think you’re prepared to demonstration that veganism isn’t all three), then I think anyone is perfectly capable of doing it. Imagine someone saying in 1840 “abolition doesn’t work for me” or in 1960 “assimilation doesn’t work for me, I love segregation too much”. You’v definitely lost me here. Comparing eating meat and racial segregation is so gross and over-privileged that I can’t really address this clearly to someone that would say it. “Doesn’t work for everyone” certainly means “can’t.” I can’t have a diet without meat without big repercussions. You’re splitting hairs. “Lacking in imagination” seems a privileged attitude to take – if vegetarianism isn’t for me, why would I force it?

      “meat… has nutrients that non-animal products don’t have”. Of the five nutrients listed in the linked page, only two are essential nutrients, and only one, vitamin D is made my animals. The other, B12, is in fermented vegan foods, but is best absorbed but people of ANY diet, as a supplement). The linked page argued that we need to eat animal products in order to get these nutrients for brain health. That would seem contrary to the success of the (vegan) world memory champion, Jonas van Essen. The undisputed world’s foremost physicist Ed Whitten, or computer scientist and Pulitzer winner Douglas Hoffstadter aren’t doing too bad as vegetarians either. Nor did Einstein, or Tesla. Perhaps the author of that article has information that Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton, don’t have. I’ll get the article to them right away so they can end their naive veganism. Or perhaps veganism worked for those people and their bodies, and not me and mine. You also reference vegan foods – highly processed in many cases, and they do NOT always work for “people of ANY diet.”

      As far as the insulin issue, type two diabetes is routinely REVERSED with a plant-based diet. See Dr. Neal Barnards research And this treatment, involves no calorie counting, no side effects, in fact no drugs at all. In this camp, veganism has everything going for it and should be diabetes protocol. I don’t have diabetes, but you didn’t actually ask.

      “Eating [vegan/vegetarian and telling] others to do the same will not stop people from eating meat. Period.” Yes, it will. Period. It stopped me, and I stopped friends, and veganism and vegetarianism are both growing. Society is changing very rapidly. What if your distant ancestors had said “You can’t stop cannibalism. Period” or “you can’t stop people from eating dogs, or monkeys, or feces, or maggots”? Technology is changing the world fast, we’ll soon have lab-grown meat, and indistinguishable faux meat. Again, we’re arguing opinions here. I don’t believe it’s possible to convince ALL people, particularly those that have been hunting for generations, have sensitivities to soy and corn products, or those that live in poverty, to stop eating meat. I just don’t. You’re welcome to believe what you believe. I know the horrors of the meat industry and yet I choose to eat meat. I choose to learn how to hunt my own meat, which reduces my dependence on the meat industry as much as your choice to be vegan. Just because it stopped you doesn’t mean it’s going to stop everyone.

      Also, EVERYONE should be outraged and outspoken about the livestock industry, especially those that eat meat. Yeah, that’s pretty much the whole point of my article.

      “Humans are designed to eat meat” I’m not convinced. This certainly isn’t held as true by the folks at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I hear you, but my degree in anthropology and archaeology says otherwise.

      “Only first world countries get to flaunt a choice not to eat meat” This is just bad reasoning. Only first world countries have a choice to eat over 200 lbs of meat per person per year. Third World countries mostly live on cereals and legumes. In India, one of the poorest places on earth, 40% are vegetarian. Meat is a luxury item, and is seldom a necessity. If you’re going to quote India, be sure to point out that part of their choice to be vegetarian is based largely on spiritual beliefs. And I agree that we consume too much meat, because society expects it to be cheap and therefore it’s readily available. Again, I made it very clear that I believe this standard needs to change ASAP.

      “Hunting is healthy for some environments” I concur, and surely it is far more commendable then mindlessly consuming factory raised meat, but I would love to see the ethics of hunting clearly defined. Is it okay to hunt just any animal? How about bear? Wolves? Dogs? I agree, but this is way out of the scope of the piece I wrote. This would be great for another article, one that’s actually all about hunting. And I don’t have all these answers for you – I can only answer for myself. Things get very personal for people here, and everyone is different. Just because someone on the other side of the planet eats a dog doesn’t mean it’s wrong to eat a dog – but, based on the way people like you and I are raised, we believe it is wrong. Opinions and feelings do not equal truth.

      “Eating a strictly no-meat diet is not sustainable either” Yes it is. The energy it take to produce plants is always less than it takes to produce animals which eat the plants. Eating lower on the food chain is greener, and far more sustainable. That’s why, the Earth sustains more grass than grasshoppers, and more grasshoppers than frogs. This is the law of increasing trophic levels. I’m just going to refer you to Lierre Keith’s book, but I also reiterate what I said in the post. We are the animals that would be eating all the plants if we were all vegetarian/vegans, and it would be the same issue.

      I commend your great intentions and sincere effort to eat meat in a more ethical way, but I suspect you didn’t give vegetarianism a serious try, or health and nutrition serious research, or ethics serious examination. As I said, I knew early on that vegetarianism wasn’t for me. “Health and nutrition research” are really relative at this point in my opinion – I could disprove everything you wrote, based on articles I can find on the internet. That’s not my prerogative. My own body’s needs are a huge part of my choice to write this article; you don’t need to believe anything about my health to make my health what it is. Your belief doesn’t change my reality, just as mine doesn’t change yours. You’re making assumptions about my ethics that are pretty unfair, but that’s okay, because I can tell this article made you feel frustration, and that’s good. These are important discussions to have, and I thank you for having the passion to post here.

      Thanks for posting – hope I cleared things up.

      • I may be a bit late.
        This gentleman, Richard took his time to leave an extremely well thought out reply, to which you replied and I’m going to quote him in saying it again was lacking in imagination and more importantly rationale.
        You’ve simply and arrogantly beat around the bush on each point. Stating things like “NOT for everyone” plainly and without evidence. You’ve supplied no facts at all against his rebuttal.
        I think he came here, as I did, looking for a logical well thought out article and we were both disappointed. Instead we got an article written by an arrogant person who seems to think he knows all the answers but can’t fully explain himself.

        • I’m sorry, herself. I must add you seem highly bias without being open to the facts which is a dangerous state of mind for anyone.

          • Which “facts” are you referring to? What are your thoughts on the fact (and it is definitely a fact) that hundreds of thousands of animals are culled out of agricultural/vegetable operations because of potential crop damage? Usually shot or poisoned, these include deer, groundhogs, moles, and more – including those killed in the machinery required to feed millions of people vegetables. The death of animals is a fact even of vegetarianism. No food cycle is without death. I hope that helps.

            Best,
            Nicole

        • Hi there. Can you explain what you were looking for a little better when you clicked on an article titled such as mine, and then seem so disappointed by what you’ve read?

          And my sincerest apologies – I had no intention of coming off as arrogant, and I never claim to know all the answers. You seem rather angry, as did Richard – but I still am not hearing anything of substance outside of general dissatisfaction.

          Best,
          Nicole

    • Its people like you that are part of the problem.

  2. An awesome post and an interesting comment stream.

    My 2c to Richard would be to point out that indigenous cultures offer us the fruits of millennia of immersion research into ways of eating that are sustainable and – in many instances – respectful of the beings that are eaten. They are/were never vegetarian, for the reason Nicole suggests. You can point to agrarian cultures and identify within those an association between wealth and meat-eating, but doing this ignores the fact that /all/ agrarian cultures have made the shockingly non-frugal choice of laying waste to vast swathes of natural ecosystems and replacing them with intensive agriculture operations. When this devastating crime against the biosphere and its wild inhabitants is remembered instead of ignored, it can no longer be imagined that a vegetarian or vegan diet is ethically benign, and the ethical balance sheet between domesticated plants from domesticated lands and wild animals from wild lands looks completely different than it used to.

    A blog post is never going to be able to address all the nuances you want covered, but many books have. On the broad question of how we can eat a nonhuman someone and respect him/her, take a look at “The Island Within” by Richard Nelson or even check out some of his podcasts on native american food ethics. On the specific philosophical question of why some animals are seen as edible and some not, check out Val Plumwood’s writings – “The Eye of the Crocodile” (Ch 6) would be a good place to start seeing as it’s published open access online. To her, it boils down to the fact that we erroneously insist that humans are inedible to other animals, and that you can’t use something you respect.

    And so we end up going down a variety of crazy philosophical paths. For example, is nonedibility special to us or is it general? Do we believe humans are superior to all others, and if so by what criteria? Divine authority? Do we admit others (dogs, cats? dolphins, moneys, whales? pigs, cows, sheep? mice, rats? birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish?) to the superior category and if so, by what criteria do we elevate them to our lofty ranks and exclude all others? Presumably by traits humans rank quite highly on like sentience or intelligence? Or do we drop the human-centeredness while clinging to our own inedibility, and be forced to conclude that all species are ethically inedible to eachother? And so hold that natural ecosystems are unethical or at the very least (if the agency of nonhumans is denied) very bad, with scenes of bloody murder repeated billionsfold every millisecond? And whichever of these options we choose, how do we reconcile indigenous hunting? Do we write them off as murderers? Or do they get special dispensation? If so, why? “They know no better?” — is this owing to their supposed lack in the areas of one of the criteria we have come up with to separate us from the beasts? Ouch !

    And so-on… it’s a massive can of worms few have bothered seriously delving into, with which Plumwood has filled two books and dozens of papers, all well worth reading.

    • Wow Russell, thank you for those exquisite words and points. I wish I could have said it as eloquently. I’m also grateful for the book suggestions, I’ll be checking those out ASAP! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I greatly appreciate it. :)

  3. I have a couple of questions, Nicole. If you advocate hunting or “humane” “know your farmer” farms as the only ethical ways to obtain meat, where does that leave the billions of people who live in cities? How about eating meat in restaurants? Do you check their sources? And what would happen to wild, hunted animals if everyone hunted? I’d think the supply would soon run short. In addition, have you considered eating insects as your primary source of protein? Supposedly, they supply the most amount of nutrition for the least amount of resources.

    • Rebecca, thanks for commenting.

      I don’t eat out at restaurants very often, actually, specifically for that reason. And you’re right, there are billions of people living in cities – and they get their meat from meat farms. But I’m not sure I understand your point – if factory farming was completely replaced with ethical, sustainable farming practices, people living in cities (and I am such a person) would still have access to meat. And I disagree about “running out” if everyone hunted. Not everyone needs to hunt – one deer, elk, or a moose can feed several people for several months up to a year. In a state such as my own, where there is no bag limit on deer (that means we have such a deer problem due to our removal of predator species that we can hunt as many deer as we’d like during bow season), one hunter could feed dozens in one season. In fact, some hunters do – there are several charities around the state that accept excess venison to feed the hungry here, because even factory farmed beef is more expensive than the overall cost of a rifle and the right permits.

      And no, I hadn’t thought to try insects. Harvesting large enough amounts of insects to be nutrition-dense is most easily accomplished by communities where many people harvest seasonally large explosions in insect populations, which I don’t have in a city.

      Best,
      Nicole

  4. Thanks for posting this. It’s made me feel more comfortable about my life choices.

  5. You could never be a vegan or vegetarian. It takes courage and compassion, not excuses after excuses.

    • How about all of the groundhogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and voles that are killed each year to protect the vegetables you eat from farms? Farmers have to kill pests – or, at least, they do kill pests – on a regular basis to provide food for your vegetarian diet. What are you doing about those murders? Or the animals that lose their homes due to the propagation of GMO corn and soy to fuel a diet rich in those two foods?

      Last summer I worked for a farmer who routinely went into the fields with a small gang of other men and beat red foxes to death with clubs, even though predators are a farmer’s best friend.

      Sorry, sweetheart – your compassion is admirable, but it’s uninformed.

  6. You are not an animal lover unless you are a vegetarian. By saying that you are an animal lover and then eating meat, it means that you are completely fine with the torture and murder of an animal. That goes completely against the definition of an animal lover. And because it seems that a lot of pretentious people like you excuse themselves, try to realise that you are NOT an animal lover by doing that and stopping your senseless supportive opinion on this subject will make you less of a hypocrite.

    • How about all of the groundhogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and voles that are killed each year to protect the vegetables you eat from farms? Farmers have to kill pests – or, at least, they do kill pests – on a regular basis to provide food for your vegetarian diet.

      In fact, last summer I worked for a farmer who routinely went into the fields with a small gang of other men and beat red foxes to death with clubs, even though predators are a farmer’s best friend.

      So trust me, sweetheart – you’re just as complicit in the torture of innocent animals as I am.

    • How about all of the groundhogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and voles that are killed each year to protect the vegetables you eat from farms? Farmers have to kill pests – or, at least, they do kill pests – on a regular basis to provide food for your vegetarian diet.

      In fact, last summer I worked for a farmer who routinely went into the fields with a small gang of other men and beat red foxes to death with clubs, even though predators are a farmer’s best friend.

      So trust me, sweetheart – you’re just as complicit in the torture of innocent animals as I am.

    • How about all of the groundhogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and voles that are killed each year to protect the vegetables you eat from farms? Farmers have to kill pests – or, at least, they do kill pests – on a regular basis to provide food for your vegetarian diet.

      In fact, last summer I worked for a farmer who routinely went into the fields with a small gang of other men and beat red foxes to death with clubs, even though predators are a farmer’s best friend.

      So trust me, sweetheart – you’re just as complicit in the torture of innocent animals as I am.

    • How about all of the groundhogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and voles that are killed each year to protect the vegetables you eat from farms? Farmers have to kill pests – or, at least, they do kill pests – on a regular basis to provide food for your vegetarian diet.

      In fact, last summer I worked for a farmer who routinely went into the fields with a small gang of other men and beat red foxes to death with clubs, even though predators are a farmer’s best friend.

      So trust me, sweetheart – you’re just as complicit in the torture of innocent animals as I am.

  7. So you love animals, but you don’t care about all the animals considered “pests” by farmers that are killed by the thousands every year, between traps, chemicals, and being shot? Because I promise you, there are thousands of deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and other animals dying for your vegetarian diet. Even producing vegetables includes the killing of innocent animals.

    Come down off that beautiful high horse of yours and get informed.

  8. Well I thought it was a great post. Sorry to those who came to be rude or snarky. Again, that you for this post. I suffer from low-iron due to small red blood cells. I am encouraged to eat more meat due to it but I love animals

  9. Sorry but humane slaughter is a complete myth. Whole Foods and most other health stores have ‘free range’ and ‘cage free’ but those words don’t mean very much, they’re just titles. A free range chicken in a factory farm is not allotted much more space than a caged hen. These animals have unique lives and are abused in every factory farm, and may still be abused on small, local farms. Your idea to convince and sway people to eating these free range and cage free animals is fine, but not realistic.

    • Agree to disagree. Humans have been slaughtering animals since we’ve been humans, and there are most certainly more humane ways to do it. I’m pretty sure I encourage people to do their research, understand terms, and support local farmers in the article, too.

      My idea to convince people to support free range is absolutely realistic, and is the only way we’ll change meat production for the better. Good luck with your quest in veganism.

  10. This comment thread has been an interesting read… People here act like Nicole has all of the answers; she has stated several times that this is based of HER experience, and HER opinion. I swear, some of the people in these comments act like they’re the bees-knees.

    None of you guys know every single person’s body type, every single person’s circumstance, or everyone’s needs in general. You are not them. Therefore, for you to argue what is best for them or not is pointless. You can go ahead and choose to be an advocate, but instead of talking about YOURSELF and guilt-tripping people into becoming vegan or vegetarian see what’s best for them and their bodies so they can warm up to the idea and ease into it smoothly and safely.

    No one can just become a vegetarian or vegan over-night. It takes time and adjusting old habits to make new ones.

    Thank you, Nicole. Great article.(:

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