Since the time I started blogging, I mentioned several times that I'm a vegetarian; I've been one for 12 years now, in fact. And each time, someone asked me, "why?" – so I finally decided to sit down and try to write a decent and well-rounded answer.
Because of health reasons
You should know that in the meat industry, like everywhere else, the owners are interested to have as much production in as little time as possible. Cattle and poultry are given unhealthy food that makes the quality of the meat deteriorate. And not just that, but unless you're buying organic, your meat probably contains hormones as well, which are given to animals in order to stimulate growth. That's right – hormones. Many people are concerned because of phytoestrogens in soy, but in my opinion, the hormonal additives to meat are much more dangerous.
Because of the environment
Numerous studies have proved that reducing meat consumption would allow us to reduce waste, and would make us able to use the earth's resources to feed more people who are currently starving. I know this is debatable, but it's definitely food for thought.
Because of frugality
Meat, especially good quality meat, isn't cheap. It usually eats up (no pun intended) a big part of the family grocery budget. Pick up any frugal cookbook, and it will suggest ways to 'stretch' meat, or cut down on meat consumption in other ways. To save money, even the carnivores in our family eat meat only once or twice a week.
Because of how animals are treated
God allows us to slaughter animals and eat meat, but He clearly and explicitly forbids cruel treatment of animals. This doesn't mean that animals are equal to human beings, but their suffering definitely isn't something we are allowed to ignore. Truly, I can't imagine our kind, gentle, merciful and loving God not frowning upon cruel treatment of animals. Let's have a look…
Exodus 23:4-5: "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him."
Exodus 23:12: "Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed" (emphasis mine).
Deuteronomy 22:10 - "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together."
Proverbs 12:10 - "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
How animals are typically treated in today's meat industry? Often they are unable to even move freely, or breathe fresh air. Again, it's all about reducing costs while producing as much meat as possible.
In my current situation, I'm unable to afford free-range meat, and thus I'm choosing not to eat meat at all, rather than support this cruel industry. I eat well, I'm healthy and I don't feel deprived because of this slight alteration in my menu.