Craig Hunter has recently become a vegan. He has written a guest post for Eco Eats to explain the motives behind his change in lifestyle.
I’ve been told that it’s somehow ironic that my surname is Hunter and that for the last ten years I have been vegetarian and for the last seven months a vegan.
To me I find that archaic in some way. Just like I find it monotonous when I’m asked why do I not eat meat or animal products.
The truth of the matter is that the common rhetoric about the food I choose to eat and not eat is something I understood to be true when I became a vegetarian to where I am today as a vegan.
Simply, the texture and taste of flesh had always made me feel uneasy about what I was eating. My most common memory of food from my youth is being forced to finish my Sunday lunch every week. I hated it, and not because my mum had skills in better areas than the kitchen (I will add that she is a pescetarian, which may explain the bad food, but I would like someone to explain pescetarianism to me because I just think it’s a cop out). I hated it because it was bland.
I’ve thought a lot about this point, particularly because of my degree in Early Childhood Studies. Although a lot has changed, food is still pretty boring here in regards to the colours and taste of the food etc. But if you look at other countries, their meals are vibrant and exciting. This is why I think big companies targeted children with bold and powerful imagery to attract them to their man made produce (I refuse to call it food).
Since becoming a vegetarian I have experienced food I had never done before. I’ve found a passion in trying new things and cooking from scratch. I’m excited and can see so many wonderful ways we can teach young children about the world through food. But I’m not naïve and know that people can do this with meat/animal produce in their diet.
When I see a dead animal I feel just as bad as the idea of a human dying. This may be difficult for people to understand, but it’s more about the loss of life than anything. I live in the countryside and see a lot of roadkill. Many drivers I see have total disregard for the speed limits in the countryside so any animal trying to cross the road has no chance if the driver has a total lack of respect for anything in its way.
I see animals who live with us rather than a subspecies. The idea that huge corporate businesses chop down woodland and rainforests to produce mass amounts of meat for an overpopulated world is illogical. I want to be more in control of what I eat. As the recent horse meat scandal has shown these companies care less about what goes into their products and more about the money to be made from cheap produce.
The ideology I have on society and Western culture is that we are so far advanced now that we can live, eat healthy and enjoy what we eat without animal meat anymore.
But I understand perfectly that I contradict myself and go against my ideas daily. I live with meat eaters and I cook most of the evening meals every day, so I have to prepare and cook meat.
It is a problem for me and it does irk me, but the meat eaters are not eating it to offend me, just like I’m not eating meat to make the weekly shop more awkward.
Although I’m respectful as I can be about other people’s diets, even if I am getting an earful from a load of meat eaters at a dinner table, I do question certain meat eaters’ ideas. For example; I have seen on numerous occasions people eat an almost raw steak yet when a dead cow is on the news they freak out.
When I have asked friends if they could kill and then eat an animal, most are repulsed at the idea, but the friends who have said they could do it, I believe them and respect them for it.
I cannot understand people’s objections to certain meat purely because of the look of it or idea of eating something unusual; for example an insect or a kangaroo’s bollock. Taste is different; if you’ve tried it and not liked it then at least you have justification.
My first year as a vegetarian I did eat meat less than five times because there were opportunities to try things that I’d never eaten before. I was glad I tried those things because my reasons for giving up meat in the first place were accounted for.
In the perfect world I would obviously love to see more and more people become vegetarian but I’m not naïve enough to think the whole world can change, although in the long term it would benefit the environment. I just hope that more people can be more understanding and respectful. And maybe that will slowly change their attitudes to the other species we share this world with.
Do you agree with Craig’s views? Share your comments below.