[Sydney Morning Herald - opinion]

The question of why I am a vegetarian turns me into a bore, makes me earnest and dull. Who cares? I'm a wimpy, four-eyed, latte-sipping, save-the-whales-and-forests kind of guy.

Let's turn the tables. I'm going to ask you why you eat meat (anything that has a brain).

"Because everyone else does." Spoken like a true sheep. Your mother fed you meat, you ate it at school and it can't be wrong. Would you eat whale? Dog? Dolphin? You wouldn't? What's the difference between a dog's pain and a lamb's?

"But domesticated animals are bred for food."

If we bred dogs for food, would that be OK? Why eat pigs then? Once upon a time, when white men owned slaves, anyone who said it was wrong - think wimpy, four-eyed, latte-sipping, save-the-whales-and-forests kind of guy - would be mocked. Laughed out of the pub. "Everyone knows slavery is natural, it's the way things are," they'd shout at him.
"They kill them painlessly." Been to an abattoir? Would you prefer instant, painless death to getting on with life, finding food, having children? You don't choose death? What would animals choose?

"I tried vegetarianism. I felt weak. I was miserable." Pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their doctors (which they're probably doing anyway). For the rest of us, anyone who thinks about their diet and makes sure they eat a variety of proteins (grains, pulses, beans, nuts, dairy) and fresh fruit and veggies will be perfectly healthy. They'll save money, eat less saturated fat, more fibre, more greens and feel more positive.

It's good to make a difference, however small, in a world where we feel so powerless.

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