Why I Am a Meatan.

(First published in May 2002 in the New York Press)

My current status as a Meatan, one who eats only meat, dairy and "field killed" grain products, is largely due to the attitude of a former coworker. She was an aggressive vegan, really in your face with her vegetarian agenda. I don’t like to have things jammed down my throat, but it forced me to think about my own food preferences. She helped me realize I had to do something to combat the constant slaughter of living things in order to feed people.
We were eating our respective lunches in my office. Mine was a wonderful piece of grilled chicken. She had a scowl on her face as she watched. She gave a short speech about how she "used to eat meat," but now only fruits and vegetables. Like a flash the cruelty of the vegetarian lifestyle and the true glory of the Meatan way of life was revealed.
Let me bring up two pieces of information, which together form the foundation of the Meatan philosophy.
A biologist once hooked up EKG-type monitors to various types of plants. His work demonstrated that the plants were alive with electricity, much the way we are. The plants registered "pain" when flowers and fruit were plucked off. Plants demonstrated different reactions when exposed to soothing classical music or the pounding of heavy metal. Foundation A: Plants are living, sentient beings.
Foundation B is based on the realization that most fruits and vegetables are picked "green." Think of those lovely tomatoes still "on the vine" ripening in the store. Stores have automatic watering systems for the veggies. Does one water dead plants? Ever see them feeding the meat selections? It only stands to reason that fruits and vegetables are still in the process of growing and developing when we purchase and consume them.
On the other hand, what Meatans consume is quite dead. In my years of meat consumption, I have never purchased orange roughy or steak capable of registering pain when put on the grill. When vegetarians slice a still-ripening tomato they are brutally carving into a living, feeling thing. Consider how the protective coating of a banana is ripped off to reveal the still-growing-and-maturing soft inside, which is bitten into hunks and masticated into a formless mass. Barbarism unbound.
The doctrine of "field killing" allows Meatans to eat a non-meat bun with our burger. The wheat and other grains used in breads and beer has been humanely killed. It is a quick, instant death–with dignity. Not to be compared with the brutal way in which the vegan takes an apple that was ripped from its life-support system and yet continues to mature and develop until it is bitten or sliced into manageable pieces to be chewed and swallowed. Oh, the humanity!
Meatans also eat products that have never been alive. Hot tamales and pork rinds: you know, foodstuff made from home insulating products mixed with sugar and/or salt. There are doctrinal differences when it comes to condiments: one side avoids any form of tomato, while the others rationalizes the consumption thereof by pointing out that tomatoes turned into ketchup were humanely dispatched with a combination of high-speed rotating knives and chemical additives. Some will only drink boiled water and artificial beverages while others argue that "juiced" fruits and vegetables were converted from life to liquid in a quick, loving manner.
In the end, our strength is in our diversity and we celebrate it–with meat.
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