Vegetarians Unite…or Not

Disclaimer:  I am not a vegetarian.  I’m not even close.  But I have been making a special effort for the last couple of years not to eat chicken.  I haven’t been successful, but I can at least say that I’ve dropped my chicken consumption by about 80%.  I would LIKE to be a vegetarian, but I have the same problem with it that I have with quitting smoking:  No discipline.  Oh yeah, there’s that addiction thing, too. 

If you don’t believe me, try giving up chicken.  If you pay attention, a huge majority of fast-food places serve chicken exclusively.  “Hamburger” fast-food places always serve chicken too.  Check out the freezer section for ready-made dinners–mostly chicken.  Higher-end restaurants always have chicken as an option.  Those in between (see:Applebee’s) feature wings and “boneless” wings.  Ditto even pizza places.  You can’t escape chicken, and it’s been touted as a healthy alternative to red meat, which in our world primarily means beef. 

It would be good to start giving up meat by giving up baby animals like lamb and veal and piglets, followed by giving up adult animals that are kept in atrocious conditions.  Which pretty much includes all adult animals grown for food unless they’re raised on small farms. 

So when I decided to focus on reducing meat intake, I decided to focus on chickens, and my reason was that chickens are more abused than any other food animal.  That isn’t necessarily true.   The giant pens that hold beef cattle can be seen from space.  But I think it’s something about chickens.  They’re birds, and I have a soft spot in my heart for birds.  Baby chicks.  Is there anything cuter?  And hens are good mothers.  They coo at their chicks and herd them around to protect them from danger.  And maybe my choice is influenced by my knowlege of a chicken house in Mississippi during my young college days, where the farmer went bankrupt and thousands of chickens suffocated in their quarters because they turned off his electricity.

Today’s New York Times Magazine has an article about Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States.  He’s a Vegan.  If I’m ever successful at not eating chickens, and then proceeding to other animals, I’ll never be a Vegan.  Vegans hold that even eating the products of animals is exploitation of them.  So…no eggs.  No milk.  No cheese.  No honey.  What?  The exploitation of bees?  Like bees haven’t been making honey since they evolved from, oh, pterodactyls?  I can’t get my brain to reject the idea of “mining” animals for their products.  Nor do I think it’s bad to eat them once their mining days are over. 

But Pacelle is a smart guy.  He has turned the Humane Society into an organization which calls for the humane treatment of food animals in addition to companion animals.  After all, one culture’s pet is another’s food source.  I think Pacelle is the kind of person who will transform our view of how we treat animals.  For the full article, along with a great picture of Pacelle surrounded by chickens, go here: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/magazine/26animal-t.html?ei=5070

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11 responses to “Vegetarians Unite…or Not

  1. I could probably give up chicken…except for wings! But pork…never! I am a lifetime member of the Loyal Order of Lechon Lovers….lol!

    I also like lamb, but didn’t know it is a “baby.”
    But that doesn’t influence my taste for it. In ‘Nawlins, I had a wonderful lamb in praeline sauce. Best lamb I ever had!

    Don’t care too much for fish, except shellfish. I find most fish tasteless and couldn’t tell a snapper from a grouper from a pompano. And I guess most folks can’t either since a number of restaurants got caught trying to pass off inferior fish as “grouper.”

  2. Uh…can I have the *blue* pill? lol!

  3. Ah yes, the I don’t want to know pill 🙂 When you click on that video, you will see one called “Meet Your Meat”, a series of videos put together by PETA. I started to post it…but…
    These are the worst of the worst, and things like this don’t happen in all factory farming operations, but the potential is there.

  4. Also, I meant to mention that wings…I think Lindy’s are the greatest…but if you get 10 wings, that means 5 chickens had to die…

  5. > if you get 10 wings… 5 chickens had to die…<

    No, they were already dead for their other meat; I’m making sure those wings aren’t wasted….lol!

    In Tallahassee. I prefer Beef O’ Brady’s wings.

    In northeast Florida, such as St. Augustine and Orange Park, Dick’s Wings is wonderful.

    And I especially like one of Dick’s T-Shirts:
    “I prefer Dick’s to Hooters” lol!

    I’ve not bought it yet because I first have to wear a New Orleans T-shirt I bought last Thanksgiving when we were there:

    “Katrina gave me a blow job I’ll never forget.”

    Maybe I’ll wear it next Saturday…. lol!

  6. I need one of those Dick’s T-shirts 🙂
    There is always the famous New Orleans T-shirt which says “I Suck Heads”–referring to eating crawfish.
    My favorite T-shirt ever was one I got in Des Moines, which said “Jesus Is Coming–Look Busy”.

  7. I make my own wings with my turkey fryer. And you two really need to stop talking dirty to one another. lol

  8. > I need one of those Dick’s T-shirts “I Suck Heads”–referring to eating crawfish. <

    Now that is something I will not do. I like crawfish tails, but the idea of sucking mooshy brains is nasty.

    Stangely, I have no problem with eating “sweetbreads”, which I believe are cow brains and a “French” specialty.

    OK Nick, you’re bringing wings to the victory celebration…lol! And I like fried turkey too.

    But Thanksgiving may be more elitist – pre-peeled large shrimp, prime rib, lamb (hopefully) and pre-cracked crab legs. Those are the your typical “star” entree on a Vegas buffet!

  9. Hmm…part of my reply got dropped…

    > I need one of those Dick’s T-shirts<

    Santa may have heard you!

  10. It’s rather interesting that a blog about vegetarianism, sort of, has ended up in a discussion about meat 🙂 Whatever brains crawfish have were boiled away, so you aren’t really sucking mooshy brains 🙂 However, I’m with you. I have a vivid memory of sitting on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain one Mardi Gras with a friend and a pound or so of crawfish, eating the tails and tossing the heads up in the air which would be caught by seagulls before they fell to the ground.

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