Thoughtful post from personal development expert Steve Pavlina, a longtime vegan:
I think the best way for us to make sure our diets are in line with our morals is to stay connected with the end-to-end processes that we support through our food choices.
For example, if you’re a meat eater, then I would strongly recommend that you go hunting once in a while and eat what you kill. I think it’s important to have that experience, so you can fully appreciate your choices. If you can’t personally kill an animal and prepare it for consumption, that would signal a major internal incongruency, so perhaps it would be wise to reevaluate your food choices.
I wouldn’t say you need to do this every time you eat meat, but do it at least once a year to stay connected to the process from killing to consuming. For someone who only eats fish, then going fishing would suffice.
I think about 9 billion farm animals are slaughtered for food each year in the USA. I wonder how many of those deaths would occur if the end consumers had to do the killing personally. I think we can all agree that it would be a lot less than 9 billion killings.
If you eat meat but you’ve never personally and deliberately killed and eaten an animal, and you resist even making the attempt, does that make you a chicken? Yeah, I think it does. After all, if your values support eating meat, then surely they must support the most basic process that makes it possible to eat meat: to deliberately kill an animal and eat its flesh.
I totally agree that nearly all meat in America is eaten by people too sensitive to go hunting, and in fact much of it is eaten by people who would decry hunting as cruel and barbaric. I think Pavlina’s advice could awaken a lot of meat eaters to their ethical inconsistencies, and force them to rethink their food choices.
I get a lot out of following Steve Pavlina’s work. I read his Personal Development for Smart People last summer, and found it by far the most useful such book I’ve yet read—it’s completely straightforward and non-flakey (the other book that’s helped me enormously is David Allen’s Getting Things Done.) Link.