Friday, June 20, 2008

Vegetarians: The Next Jehovah's Witnesses?

Yesterday morning while I was preparing to imbibe my daily dose of caffeine, I was interrupted by a polite, yet demanding ring from my doorbell. It turned out to be a cute, geeky looking young lady who happened to be holding a rabbit in her arms. Before I could say anything she blurted out something along the lines of 'Would you like to change your life for the better?' and handed me a flyer. It was a flashy flyer with lots of different fonts and colors. There was a photo of a rabbit, either the same one the girl was holding or a cousin of his. The image was captioned 'How could you eat him?'. Some of the other erratically placed messages read 'Become clean, don't eat the flesh of innocent animals', 'Animals are sentient beings, some might be even smarter than you' and 'Lead a healthy life - become a vegetarian'.

In just a couple of seconds this single piece of paper managed to insult my intelligence, imply that I'm not clean and suggest that I'm unhealthy. Even though I was cranky (as I always am before my coffee) and a bit annoyed by this intrusion I just handed her the flyer, said 'No thanks' and wished her a pleasant day.

Later on I met with a friend who lives a couple of blocks away from my apartment. It turned out the same thing happened to him, although this time it a was a young man who had offered him to 'Change his life for the better' (Fortunately he wasn't bearing any fluffy animals). We also noticed the flyers around town pasted on buildings and telephone booths.

If that was the only unpleasant encounter I've had with vegetarians I would have probably forgotten about it in a jiffy. Unfortunately it wasn't. I've known my share of vegetarians, and half of them were pleasant, ordinary people. The other half were a different story. Haughty and arrogant they never missed a chance to call meat - flesh and meat eaters - mass murderers.

Before I continue I would like to get one thing straight. I have absolutely nothing against vegetarians, on the contrary - I respect their choice for whatever reason they've made it - lifestyle, health, religion, love for the animals or environmental concerns. I also expect them to respect mine. Looking down upon someone and insulting them will not make anyone a vegetarian. It's like trying to convert an atheist by informing him that he shall rot in the deepest pits of hell. In addition, using Jehovah's Witnesses tactics by knocking on peoples doors and offering them enlightenment will not help your cause, it will hurt it.

Of course, there are many meat eaters that are giving vegetarians a hard time by calling them names (which I will not cite as I don't wish to offend anyone) and condemning their choices just because they are different. I dislike those people just as much as the haughty vegetarians.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is "Live and let live'', not just to vegetarians and meat eaters but to people of different religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Live and let live, respect other people not in spite of their differences but because of them. Just think of how boring our world will be without it's diversity, without our diversity.

I would be delighted to hear your opinions on the subject in the comments. Just keep it civil :-)

1 коментара:

Anonymous said...

My primary reason for being a vegetarian is simple: I'm appalled by the heinous treatment of animals in today's meat industry. So while I do respect people's choice to eat meat from sources that treat animals fairly (for example organic meat), I don't really respect people's choice to purchase products from corporations that (arguably) torture animals.

I also think it is fallacious to expect everyone to respect your choice, and your behavior. There are two sides to this issue:
1) The meat-eaters' right to eat meat
2) The animals' right to a life free of unnecessary pain and/or the right to live.
You can't reasonably ask someone to respect your right to eat meat without also asking them to ignore the animals' right to a proper life. One of these two rights have to take precedent, and expecting people to respect your choice is here essentially equivalent to asking them to not respect the animal's right to live. Respecting both of these rights is as impossible as simultaneously respecting the black man's right to be free, and the white man's right to enslave the black man.

That being said, I do agree that many animal right activists behave improperly, and going door to door handing out fliers is definitely crossing a line.