Perhaps a discussion group already exists for topics such as this. If so, I'd welcome guidance to it. For here & now, this is part of the story of one omnivore:
Powerful words that evoke strong emotion in me. I grew up in a slaughter house and meat market of my father. He learned the trade from his father. We were all desensitized to killing and eating meat. When I lived in Kenai, Alaska, (1959-1961) I joined Athabascan Indians fishing and hunting. When an animal was killed, they always took out the eyes so the creature wouldn't have to watch its own slaughter and they gave an expression of appreciation of their sacrifice for our benefit. We were in touch with life and death and knew it. The grocery store yields no such knowledge.
Thank you for sharing.
Often on Nexus, when the topic of omnivory vs. vegetarianism vs. veganism comes up it can be divisive. Folks have strong feelings about this topic. We'll see what happens.
Here is a discussion I listened to recently on the Minnesota Atheists podcast. Minnesota Atheists often has thoughtful discussions. The video gets off to a bit of a slow start. The guest discusses his philosophical approach. The guest promotes veganism, from a standpoint of ethics as an atheist.
I happen to be vegetarian, but I do eat some dairy products and honey. I think each person has a place where they draw a line. I like to think people are conscious of what they are doing, and have put some thought into it, even if they draw a far different line from me, and even if they disapprove of my choices.
For example, what if we know we are eating products that result from child abuse, even slavery? Not of nonhuman animals, but of people. If we know that chocolate may come from hundreds of thousands of child laborers, many of whom are in slavery, should we eat chocolate? What about the more than 100 products made from forced labor(slavery)? If you go to the link, the list of products starts on page 25. Take a while to load.
Some omnivores would not eat primates, and some have a sense of revulsion regarding certain animal products. I have the same feeling about eating killed animals, but I know the vast majority of people disagree with me, so I am not always open about that.
Like I say, everyone draws the line somewhere.
Thanks again for posting
Veganism is indeed a generally nonreligious ethics that people are passionate about. It provides an ethical direction for our current situation, since veganism reduces your contribution to global warming. The large livestock that are energetically expensive, so milk, cheese etc. are also energetically costly. If you wish to eat animal food, eating small creatures like chickens or (probably) fish is better.
Many vegans are unpleasantly moralistic. I read on a vegan site once about the ex-vegan phenomenon - people who were unhealthy on a vegan diet and/or craved animal food, started eating meat etc. again and make a big noise online about how much better they feel. I thought "well, if you want to eat meat, go ahead and eat some meat. A little meat-eating isn't going to cause much harm, and drawing a line in the sand may cause you psychological harm", and I said as much in a comment. Predictably, there were intensely moralistic replies "a little meat is like a little rape", etc. People seem to take on veganism whole, like a religion. I don't do this - although I call myself vegan, I do eat honey, use leather when it's hard to avoid, and I don't draw a line in the sand against meat. I avoided eating animal flesh for months at a time because of ethical feelings against it, even before I became almost-entirely vegan.
Being quasi-vegan may become more popular. If you are eating 1/10 of the animal food that's in a standard omnivore diet, your global warming contribution from not being totally vegan, is insignificant besides what the standard omnivores are doing.
People's worries about bad health on a vegan diet can be avoided by good vegan health practices.
The organic produce that many vegans favor, may be more energy-intensive than non-organically raised produce. I don't bother with organic produce, there is little evidence that it's any better for you.
Thanks for sharing your story Ted. It made me sad, but it was very interesting. I feel guilty eating meat. I really don't like it that much, and it does bother me to eat it. If I were to quit eating it, it would be more because I can't stand the thought of an animal being hurt, than because it would help the Earth, to be honest. That would be a benefit though.
Good story .. enjoyed reading