The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Haley’s Comments: Why go without meat?

I have a confession to make. Please prepare to roll your eyes if you haven’t already.

I am a vegetarian. Have been for over four and a half years. Perhaps the only thing besides my vegetarianism that I’ve stuck with longer is my favorite color, which is green by the way, and has been since I was seven years old.

Well, now that that’s out in the open, I’d best explain myself before you turn the page. I’m not one of those “in your face” sort of vegetarians. I don’t go on random rants about how horrible I think people who eat meat are. I mean, come on, there’s plenty of great carnivores in this world. Abraham Lincoln was a pretty great guy, and I’m quite sure he wasn’t a vegetarian.

I guess I’m one of those vegetarians who believes and understands that vegetarianism is a life choice. I choose to not eat meat. It works for me, but that gives me no right to expect it to work for anybody else.

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Now, I really don’t appreciate it when I order a vegetarian omelet and as I’m eating discover that for whatever reason there’s ham in it. Do I freak out? Inwardly, sure; but towards the chef or waiter/waitress? No. Like I said, I’m a quiet sort of vegetarian, and wouldn’t want to make someone’s job more difficult and/or risk getting my food spit on anyway.

I find it funny the reaction I get when I tell people I’m a vegetarian. I say reaction because it’s always the same: “Really?” looking at me in wide-eyed wonder, disbelieving that I could be one of them. This is followed quickly by the invasive question “Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?” as though there’s no possible way to justify my anti-meat ways.

Four and a half years ago was a long time ago. What made me stick with something that I started at the age of 15? My mom was sure it was “just a phase.” I think that even then, even in my teenaged arrogance, I was able to admit to myself the probability of it not being something I’d do forever. Surely there’s something that makes it worthwhile.

Fifteen-year-old me would have coolly answered the question of “why” by saying that she hated the way animals were treated in slaughterhouses. After a while, the word “slaughterhouses” was replaced with “meat-producing farms.” Sometime after that, after having done more research on meat production, the amount of chemicals that animals are fed, which remains in the meat even once it’s reached your kitchen table, became another reason solidifying my veggie ideology.

More recently, I’ve added the impact that meat production has on the environment to my list of reasons.

Really, vegetarianism is something I easily could have given up a long time ago. It’s tough to be an undergrad and still continue to not eat meat.

Sometimes, I end up eating the same thing for a week straight having run out of affordable options. That should be more than enough reason for me to jump off the wagon, but I haven’t yet.

Maybe it’s just a habit. Something that I once felt I needed to do, and now feel compelled to do it, as if eating a piece of bacon would shake up my whole world. And maybe it would. At this stage in the game, I’m sure it would at least shake up my stomach.

I guess the answer I most like to go with is that I’m still a vegetarian because it’s something that I really believe in; something that I’ve found more and more reasons to believe in over the years.

But most of the time, I don’t think I really take in the bigger picture of saving Bambi or saving the planet. It’s just something that I do for myself. And I think that’s legitimate reason enough.

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Haley’s Comments: Why go without meat?