I grew up on a small farm in Kenya. We raised a menagerie of farm animals, and then once in a while we killed them for meat.
My diet wasn't the greatest nutrition-wise, so needless to say I craved meat to no end. I lived for the days we'd slaughter that chicken, and we celebrated Christmas by killing one of the goats.
One time as a child, I remember being so sad as I had just witnessed one of our goats that I'd become so attached to had get killed on Dec 24th, in preparation for christmas.
But I was a child and had been taught not to question adults, and certainly expressing emotions was not just frowned upon in our family, it was cause for humiliation.
So I swallowed my sadness and savored the delicious dish of curry made from said favorite goat.
From here on, I'm going to go on and assume you're reading this because you're considering vegan vs vegetarian lifestyle, and I will be happy to give you the kick in the butt you might need.
What I'm saying is though is that, if you're the type that's offended by vegan/vegetarian moralistic arguments you should stop reading here.
Why exactly do you eat animals? Is it merely out of habit, out of convenience?
Have you actually ever personally killed an animal for food? Ever even watched a small animal being slaughtered?
You should try it. You'll never look at your meat the same way again, much like Mark Zukerberg.
Do you hunt your own food? Have you ever looked an animal in the eyes while it keels over, knowing that the reason it had to die was so that you could enjoy a juicy steak?
Could you get that nutrition any other way?
Consider this hypothetical scenario - what if a certain race, say the Chinese were very high in....oh, say, protein? Does that give us a right to corner them and then consume them? Why not? Because they have 2 legs and two hands? Because they have a brain similar to ours? Because we can interbreed with them?
These may seem like obnoxious questions, but perhaps they can allow you to begin to see the arrogance of the human race when we slaughter animals en mass just because they were bred for food.
It's one thing to kill for protection and or/survival, it's yet another to kill "just because we're used to it".
From a moral perspective, whether you choose to become vegan vs vegetarian depends on how much you feel animals shouldn't be exploited by humans.
Personally I draw the line at whether or not the animal had to die specifically so that I could benefit from its death.
This is the reason that I am a vegetarian and not vegan. However, I'm also opposed to using silk, leather, fur etc. Wool is also ok because an animal didn't have to die to produce it.
Honey is okay because bees didn't die when they produced the honey, as is milk, eggs etc.
Some strict vegans feel that humans come from the perspective that humans have no moral right to exploit animals for any reason whatsoever. From a western perspective, I can understand.
Commercial farms are appalling and unbelievably inhumane it's amazing. But that triple burger is to die for right? Yeah, sometimes literally!
Here in the US I'm conflicted when it comes to milk and eggs, specifically because I want to be sure the animals were raised humanely.
This might be a good time to mention that "free range eggs" and "cage free eggs", from what I've heard may not mean very much really.
If you really want to be assured of how your egg chickens were treated, it might behoove you to buy them directly from a local farmer if that is at all possible.
That way you can visit their farm and witness for yourself how the chickens are actually being raised.
See, it isn't that I necessarily think humans aren't entitled to eat animals. It's that I think we have become incredibly gluttonous and out of control about the amount of meat we consume.
Of course, most of this gluttony physically manifests in the form of our overextending bellies and behinds.
Don't get me wrong - I know one too many overweight vegetarians/vegans. But that's probably because they replaced meat with potato chips and bagel. Not helping!
Health-wise, there are a couple of factors to consider in choosing a vegan vs vegetarian lifestyle.
Do you feel that plant protein is enough for you? I started out vegan - I tend to struggle just to maintain good weight, which isn't unusual for a person with gluten allergy.
To be continued
Done with this page? Go see our awesome vegetarian recipes