... or in my case it was the other way around.

I have been a veterinarian for 30 years but it took me almost 20 of those to eventually make the connection between the companion animals I treated with so much compassion and respect and the ones that found their body-parts on the end of my fork.

It was a dietary change to vegetarianism that got me thinking of our place in the evolutionary tree... having studied all that years ago.  Added to that was the fact that I had got quite involved with our local (Roman Catholic) church and the Knights of Columbus.  Suddenly I was forced to face the compartmentalization of my knowledge from my belief and something had to give.  It's obvious that reason won out, but it was a tough fight for my Christianity-saturated psyche.  Once I was able to pull back and take a look at the bigger picture, our inhumanity to other species of sentient beings was obvious.

My story is archived on the HSUS site after receiving a request to submit a story on how animals had influenced my religious thought.  Don't think they were quite expecting my response.

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Replies to This Discussion

Kevin, thanks for joining the group, and thanks for posting your story.

As for me, it does not. My concern for animals has nothing to do with my atheism. It just never has, for whatever reason.
For me my love for animals made me more atheist! I can't stand how religions put humans so far above other animals: we are to "have dominion over them" as Genesis says. Many religions give us the pernicious idea that Earth and all of its plants and animals were made for humans' needs. We are free to use and abuse them because we have that spark of divinity on us and only us. We are the only beings with choice, free will, afterlife and morals.

That's a sick, egotistical way of thinking! I feel like we are animals just as they and we have no right to abuse them, or this earth, the way we do.
Have you ever read Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy? I have not, but it is on my list.
No I have not read it but by the looks of it I probably could not stomach it. I would love to be able to get my husband to read it though. I know he wishes he had the will to give up meat.
I was veg for 11 years, but I have tons of GI probs or allergies or something. I eat meat now, and try to go for humane slaughter, but I don't really think that makes much difference to the animal who dies anyway. I have a real restricted diet, so if I gave up meat and dairy I'd just be eating rice and few veggies. I can't eat wheat, fruit, tomatoes, or anything too processed or with too many additives, like hot dogs (even organic), soups, and Chinese food, etc. If I got as little as two meals without meat, my kidneys start hurting like they are going to explode or something. It's so damn wierd, and I really resent it. I'm so tired of it, and the guilt I have knowing how much these animals suffer.

In the grand cosmic view of things, I don't necessarily think meat eating is wrong, as all of life feeds on some other form of life, and all prosper at the expense of other creatures. We're not so different. However, a free antalope who is killed by a lion lives a very differnet life than the enchained cows and pigs we eat. That is my biggest issue with CAFOs -- the inhumane existence. I honestly have less problem with a hunter who at least eats what he kills -- a free deer/elk -- than I do with CAFOs.
Hi Dallas,

You must get your hands on "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith. It gave me pause to question my blind vegetarianism and validated my occasional intake of flesh to the horror of friends and family. I decided to taste ostrich tartar after visiting an ostrich farm in Aruba. Everyone else stuck to french fries after observing those graceful flightless birds alive. I also tasted deer-elk steaks while visiting the Grand Canyon after being able to ascertain that these animals were wild caught and not intensively farmed.
Thanks. I just looked it up on Amazon. That sounds interesting, and well worth reading. Marginally along those same lines, I would endorse the book Eat Right for Your Type, which has helped me, I think. The basic premise is that food is chemistry, and blood is chemistry, and some people should eat meat-based diets, while others should eat veg-based diets, etc. When I read that book, and got to my blood type chapter, I felt like that guy had stolen my medical records, he described my situation so well.
That is how I see the issue of diet as well. All life feeds off of other life. The inhumane treatment of factory farming is what I take issue with, and the reason it is done that way is because the demand for meat is so high. So many problems, from the environment, to human health, to the issue of humane treatment, can be alleviated from reducing intake of animals products. It is shocking though, how intense the opposition to that idea seems to be. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if our meat supply, at least in the USA, is drugged with some addictive substance.
Heh! I suspect a lot of our foodstuffs are addictive. I'm almost certain HFCS is.

Yes, CAFOs are a problem on so many levels.
I have and it's a powerful read despite Matthew Scully being a Republican speechwriter.
http://www.matthewscully.com/
Republicans can have compassion? Huh! Who'd a thunk it.

Jacqui, my thoughts about our relationship with the other animals made me more atheist, too.  Religion encourages a murderous, callous arrogance that justifies the most savage cruelty.  Look at what the Spanish do to celebrate saint's days - even that of the kindly St. Francis of Assisi!  My first questioning of the nuns and priests at my catholic grammar school was about the babies who die without being baptised.  They were never allowed to be with god. Then about those in other lands who had never heard of Jesus but who were condemned to suffer for eternity for failing to believe in him.  I got no answer except, "HAVE FAITH!"

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