Revised Spring 2008—-Onstad
A different reason for vegetarianism to occur – religion or individual – has developed a way of life. Uniting both animals and humans as equals, vegetarianism embraces equality.
People in the United States are often confused of what a vegetarian means. Does it mean no meat except fish? Can vegetarians eat dairy? Vegetarian is properly described as “a person who does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl or in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vegetarian)
One of the earliest vegetarians recorded in history comes from the country of Greece. Dating back to the 8th Century B.C., Hesiods believed in “friendliness with the lower creatures.” (http://www.ivu.org/congress/wvc57/souvenir/yesterday.html) Other countries also used this lifestyle B.C. – India and Persia.
After B.C. vegetarianism soon spread throughout Asia and Europe. Other countries such as Italy, Rome, and England started to use vegetarianism as a part of their lifestyle. The individuals whom involved themselves in vegetarianism, in Europe, mostly used this for non-religious purposes. “Every animal (of the higher species) has ideas, since he has senses. He even combines his ideas up to a certain point, and man differs, in this respect, only in the more or less. Some philosophic writers have even advanced that there is more difference between this man and that man, than between this man and that (non-human) animal. It is not, therefore, intelligence so much as his quality of being a free agent which makes the difference. - Discourse Upon Inequality Among Men, Jean-Jacques Roussea (http://www.ivu.org/history/renaissance/rousseau.html)
After the United Stated became an established country, the founding fathers often preached about farming and its positive medical effects. “The large majority of mankind do not eat any animal food, or so sparingly and at such long intervals that it cannot be said to form their nourishment.” (http://www.ivu.org/congress/1850/history.html)
When the economic shift happened in the United States, ranching became more beneficial than farming. The United States market soon expressed that meat was more affordable and also provides vital nutrients. Meat soon became a staple for an American Citizen’s diet.
This view of meat is now apart of our subconscious mind. Families and individuals are unaware of most vegetarian’s ideals. One ideal is the loyalty to animals. People will view animals as a creature that encompasses thought and feelings. Most vegetarian religions also view this ideal too.
A different ideal is working to improve the environment. It costs more to care and slaughter an animal than it is to farm crops. Recent studies have shown that if farming replaced ranching, the benefits would become apparent.
By not eating meat an individual will protest the unruly act towards animals, benefit the environment, or act upon their religious practices. One must yield the will power of changing to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Becoming a vegetarian is a very hard thing to switch too because of the average staple of meat. When a person values the benefits of vegetarianism, the individual will know the differences they are making. Even though they are not supporting the “normal” lifestyle, vegetarians live a challenging and exciting lifestyle.
Vegetarianism has only one definition but the reason behind this has many different reasons. Whether you want to support animal rights or the environment people should learn the benefits of becoming a vegetarian.