2001-Fri Jan 19 14:39:39 EST 2018
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Would you ever consider going vegetarian? I ponder it all the time. I pore over cookbooks, miscellaneous periodicals and the Epicurious iPhone app almost daily in search of creative vegetarian solutions for my mostly meatless life.
But in spite of all my low-meat leanings, I’m no vegetarian.
Let me explain: I’m a big supporter of any movement that proposes minimizing meat consumption in our daily diets. This doesn’t mean that eating meat can’t be healthy, but when it comes down to it, meat –– as it’s produced in the United States today –– tends toward the morally indefensible and socially expensive.
More and more young veterinarians are coming to the same conclusion. Whether we plan to practice on agricultural species or not, we’re all required to achieve more than a passing understanding of food animal medicine.
Although plenty of schools are making it easier for students to “track” toward their desired area of specialization, there’s no escaping the reality of industrial animal medicine in veterinary school.
And given that most veterinary students now hail from nonrural locales, the direct observation of industrial animal agriculture’s practices has a way of impressing — and not always positively.
All those cramped conditions and intensive farming operations? They’re not just bad for the animals — they’re bad for the environment, our health and, ultimately, our economy.
But the solution doesn’t necessarily lie in vegetarianism or veganism. Increasingly, in-the-know animal lovers who don’t harbor moral qualms about consuming animal protein are turning to the slow food movement’s thoughtful approach to meat: Eat less of it. And when you do eat meat, consume only sustainably raised and humanely slaughtered animals.
It’s a trend that helps explain why the concept of Meatless Mondays is catching on quickly among people like me. Originally conceived as a marketing initiative in conjunction with Johns Hopkins to promote healthier humans and a healthier planet, it’s since been adopted by animal welfare activists in a bid for better conditions for animals.
I think it’s a great idea! Just don’t ask your pet to go there, unless she’s a rabbit, llama or goat. Given all the insects my hens eat, I wouldn’t even ask them to opt for a meatless diet — much less my mostly carnivorous dogs and cats.
So how about you? Can you see yourself going meatless on Mondays?
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