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Our subjects cover: animals, religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.
It is always interesting to me how long discussions (or disagreements) in this particular group often tend to result from what seemed to start out with a few basic statements.
Anyway, in going back to some of the original emails (after reading and deleting several tonight in the ongoing attempt to keep my inbox down to fewer than 100 emails), there are a few statements that I think probably prompted a lot of these responses. I, like a few others here, still don't think that calling people who eat meat "stupid", etc. can create good relationships that may ultimately end up in helping the cause. At least, I don't think it would work for me. I love my family and friends. They have been exposed to my changed eating habits, and some have changed their own. Some have not. I think that those who have not are basically in the same spot as I was before I stopped eating meat. For me, it was a lack of awareness, probably thinking that meat was important for health, not understanding that animals really are not always "humanely" (an oxymoron, I know) killed, and accepting the traditions and "norms" that I was taught as a child--which I no longer view as "right". I can't honestly say why it took me so long. I'm not young by any means and still often think of my sadness in learning that a couple lambs that I had grown very fond of as a child on the farm had suddenly "disappeared" one morning. I still question the benefit of parents doing to them whatever was done versus letting me continue to develop a wonderful relationship with those animals. (Of course, we didn't have a lot of money, and I'm sure that they were trying to make ends meet in the same way that they had been taught.)
As far as trying to promote awareness based on kindness to animals or health, I think the original point was that SOME people unfortunately are just often more apt to be concerned about their health than animals. Several vegetarians that I associate with in person have stated that they started out for health reasons first and then recognized the animal/factory farm aspect. In their case, I think a lot of it had to do with what they were first exposed to. None of the reasons should be discounted, but I think some people are just more likely to change based on one reason versus another. I also know of people who became vegetarians primarily because of world hunger or the environment. When you put all those reasons together, it seems that almost anyone would respond to at least one of those factors. Unfortunately, traditions, the "norm", and the taste for meat are still powerful. (I often think I could have easily been a vegetarian as a kid--when I couldn't stand looking at bones, tendons, fat and all the "junk" on my plate--if I had been successful in not submitting to parental control (really just filling my mouth and then excusing myself to dispose of the meat in the bathroom).
As far as hunting vs. factory farms, I am deeply saddened by both. The majority of people that I know probably buy meat in the store. I have a business relationship with someone who hunts and has influenced very young people to do so. It's very tough to understand how killing a member of any family (human or nonhuman) is the "right" thing to do.
I LOVED SEEING THE 103-year-old Loma Linda woman who lifts weights!
Go on to: Comments by Frank and Mary - 18 Feb 2009
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