When I was in preschool, my family and I went to a petting zoo. They had all the animals I expected to see — goats, llamas, chickens and a ton of turkeys. The next day, I was sitting at my kitchen table eating a turkey sandwich when the turkeys from the day before popped into my head. I quickly and anxiously asked my mom if the turkey I was eating was that animal I saw the day before. This is when it clicked in my head that the meat I ate was a real-live animal. On that day, I stopped eating meat and haven’t eaten it since. Obviously, I am biased already being a vegetarian, but I believe eating meat is unnecessary with all of the good vegetarian options available.
Many people’s initial reaction when they are presented with the suggestion to stop eating meat is, “but I like meat” or “if I don’t eat it, someone else will,” and maybe that’s true. However, if we don’t stop eating meat one by one, we will never be able to help the animals or the environment we all live in.
Many people aren’t aware that in order to produce one pound of beef you need 1,799 gallons of water.
To put that into perspective, it only takes 108 gallons of water to produce one pound of corn. That is a huge difference between how much water it takes to make the same amount of beef. Think about how many burgers we eat as a society and imagine how many thousands of gallons of water are used each day to produce meat.
In the past, I could see where it would’ve been difficult to be a vegetarian because it just wasn’t as common. Now, most restaurants have at least one vegetarian option, including restaurants that are strictly vegetarian or vegan. In addition, many places can alter your meals in order to make them vegetarian. Even the dining halls at Marquette have been more sensitive to vegetarian diets and offer several non-salad vegetarian alternatives.
There is also an appetizing substitute for nearly any meat product. Of course, no non-meat product is going to taste as good as the meat it is trying to imitate; however, if you give it a chance and slowly try to incorporate it into your diet, it will start to feel normal and not like you are replacing what you actually want to eat.
Being a vegetarian is equally expensive, if not cheaper, than eating meat. Fresh fruit and vegetables are some of the least expensive things you can get at the store. There are always cost-effective meat substitutes.
I would suggest that everyone at least try to go vegetarian. I know everyone likes animals, and we all need the environment to live. With all the available options, people should try to go even just a week without eating meat, and see how it makes them feel. I bet they will realize that a diet without meat really isn’t that bad, and they won’t miss it as much as they thought they would.