This is the thinking, divided into a top six list in (mostly) chronological order, though with some overlap, that led me to deciding to try and quit eating meat. (So far I’ve reduced my meat eating by 80-90% over the last four months.)
6. Two friends talked to me about their decisions to go vegetarian. (Because I asked. Neither were in any way trying to recruit me.) One had read a book about the treatment of livestock and was upset enough to convert to a meatless diet. The other called going vegetarian one of the things she was most proud of. Inspiring me and debunking the myth I’ll refer to in #3.
5. My reading about the intimate relationships certain peoples had with the animals they depended on for food. It is thought, based on dates of animal shrines etc., that the first form of worship of a deity was the reverence for the animals these peoples hunted and sacrificed for food. Instead of thanking God for a meal these people thanked the animal. (Interesting stuff, I know about it primarily from reading Joseph Campbell.)
3. I’m sure there is great variety among individuals in their craving of meat. Possibly those intense cravings, among some, come from a true need for meat in their diet. That’s perfectly possible and one of many reasons becoming a vegetarian should be a personal decision and not pushed onto others with judgments, which I find is how the vast majority of vegetarians live. But I noticed my own thinking mirrored that of people I talked to where we fell back on “I like meat too much to give it up.” Followed with the reverse assumed of vegetarians that they must not have liked meat that much to have given it up. Which might be sometimes the case, but I think that’s a myth that took hold because it’s comfortable to believe. At least for me, that was my underlying thinking, and realizing that left me wondering how much I really would miss meat. How would I know unless I tried going without it?
2. I read that eating meat is a significant factor in causing global warming due to the flatulence of all the animals leading up to slaughter. I feel better doing what I can to help limit the effects from human caused global warming, which I’m already “out” as considering a colossal issue not getting near the attention dealing with it requires.
1. My oldest niece drew a picture on Thanksgiving of a turkey saying “Please don’t eat me.” A year later she became a vegetarian. That little baby I held in my arms grew up to reflect on eating animals, developed an intimate relationship with those animals (As far as I know on her own. No one else in her family is vegetarian), and decided she wanted to eat differently. She inspired me to try.