Saturday, September 20, 2014

Disquieting Vegetarians

I have many friends and acquaintances who are vegetarians, especially at work.  At a hospital, whole departments can tend that way.  I don't often talk with any of them about their reasons.  I imagine they vary among the various elements of health, identification with creatures with faces, and disgust at eating things with blood, fat, and muscle.  None of those moves me greatly, but those make sense to me.

Twice this week I have gotten into chats with vegetarians who were quite emphatic when discussing human beings in another context - overcrowding in her once-small childhood village for one, general coarseness and deterioration of culture for the other - how much they disliked people in general and considered animals more valuable.  They didn't tie it in to their vegetarianism, and I didn't think it was nice to do so myself. It was the first time I'd made this association.

The dual experience prompted me to think back over other conversations in my lifetime.  Obvious selection bias here.  I remembered other vegetarians who had large swaths of humanity they pretty openly disliked.  This just creeps me out.

BTW, the sound of gunfire in the distance at present.  Either hunters, or hunters practicing.  Couldn't do it myself, because I'd hate to succeed.  Wouldn't like to butcher an animal.


james said...

I know what you mean about butchering a deer. I'm not very excited about getting mucky disassembling a chicken, or shoving seeds in the mud, or yanking out muddy roots while digging--but once I get started and get dirty it's OK. I just have to remember not to wipe the sweat off my face.

Never did get the hang of cleaning a fish--too many bones, and the stuff we caught wasn't very big. I do a pretty decent job with a chicken, though.

FWIW, I'm told my kindergarten teacher complained that I wasn't cooperative because I wouldn't do finger painting.


There's some serious sampling bias in my contacts with vegetarians too--but in another direction. The majority have been vegetarians because they're Hindu. (and usually scientists or engineers as well, hence a sampling bias) As for the rest--I haven't asked, but they were mostly nice folks without a lot of baggage. (I say "mostly" to be safe because I might have forgotten somebody who wasn't.)

Texan99 said...

I've never minded butchering animals or fish, but I truly, truly hate the killing. I don't even like to kill something like a crab. I'm much happier if someone else will do it, then turn it over to me for butchering, and even then I'd prefer not to have met the animal while alive--unless it's a chicken, in which case for some reason I don't much care. Makes no sense.

Sam L. said...

I worked on a chicken farm in my youth, and I remember my grandpa cutting the head off a chicken before grandma plucked and cut it up for Sunday dinner.

Don't care much for them on the hoof, but do love them on the plate.