From the early 711 AD origin of bullfighting  to present day mass caging of farm animals, the issue of animal cruelty, unfortunately, spans long across human history. Sure, less people now blatantly skin animals for religious sacrifice and increasingly more condone cockfighting, but what about the unjust, unapologetic treatment of animals driven by the force of consumerism for dairy, meat, and seafood? The global meat production alone is shown to have approximately quadrupled over 50 years from 78 million tonnes in 1963 to 308 million tonnes in 2013 , and the number is still rising! The methods of animal cruelty may have evolved, but at its core, the concept of humans as the alpha species exploiting animals persists even in our modern lives today.
Years ago, a couple of my friends and I came across an animal cruelty documentary titled Food, Inc., and whilst the documentary was eye-opening, it didn’t necessarily encourage me to change my diet. Maybe I was too young or maybe I just didn’t care, but as I grow up, the problems of animal cruelty and unsustainable farming became more prevalent. I kept hearing about the increasing practice of blast fishing, the increasing force at which cows’ milk are taken away from their own calves, the increasing amount of chemical and environmental investment (in the form of land, water, and electricity just to name a few) needed to prepare animal meat for human consumption, and these are just a few out of the many more examples out there. On top of that, I have also coincidentally crossed paths with more and more people who had consciously decided to become pescatarians or vegetarians or even vegans altogether.
Hearing news of excessive animal/environmental abuse and being exposed to varying arguments for pescatarianism/vegetarianism/veganism ultimately allowed the snowball effect to win over me, and I’m proud to announce that I have made up my mind to commit to reducing my own meat consumption from here on out!
Whilst some people find it easy to spontaneously stop eating meat, I noticed that meat consumption is a rather integral part of my life and therefore not as easy to let go. This is because, not only have I been raised as an omnivore, but I’ve also realised that eating meat has become somewhat of a social convention nowadays. I mean, we don’t hear “hey, wanna grab a salad?” enough, but it sure is a different story with “hey, let’s grab a burger!”
To quote another mainstream saying then, “start with baby steps”, and this is exactly what I plan on doing. A few months ago, I came across this 2013 The Guardian article (see screenshot) on flexitarianism and have been giving the concept ago ever since the start of 2016 – no, it’s not a New Year’s resolution per say, but it’s convenient that I discovered it around a time arguably synonymous to setting goals and bettering oneself.
Initially, I started simply by doing Meatless Mondays. Nevertheless, less than two months have gone by and I’m happy to announce that I now only consume meat at social gatherings during weekends and am otherwise a vegetarian! I’ve enjoyed being a flexitarian, but the journey is still long. I still want to read the news, attend talks, and exchange ideas about reducing meat consumption, and I have yet to decide whether to aspire to become a full-time vegetarian or vegan. That being said, guess I’ll just have to continue taking baby steps 😉
>> What Do You Think?
- Is it necessary for everyone to reduce meat and/or dairy consumption? Why?
- Are you a fellow flexitarian/pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan? What were/are some of the challenges you faced/are facing in adopting such diet? What are the solutions?
- What are your reasons for trying or not trying to reduce your meat and/or dairy intake? Does anyone you know strongly agree or disagree? If yes, then what are their reasons?
- Is veganism the future’s version of today’s cockfight ban? What are your predictions on the future of flexitarianism/pescatarianism/vegetarianism/veganism?
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