How to stop eating animals

A while ago I went camping with my kids. We have been experimenting with self sufficiency and minimalism, so we pack lightly and we have fun laughing at people that bring piles of stuff to the great outdoors.

Collecting your own food fits right into this approach, so my son and I took up fishing. What could be better than catching a fish and cooking it over a fire that you made yourself, right? Little did I know that by the end of this camping trip, I would be a vegetarian.


We woke on the first morning of the camp, made a fire, boiled water for coffee and watched the beautiful sunrise. A little later I joined my son at the river for a bit of fishing. I couldn't believe it when I got a bite almost immediately and pulled out a 3-4 pound carp (no fisherman's tale, I promise). Excitement all around. As I unhooked the fish, doubt set in. Did I really want to kill this beautiful creature? I asked the kids if I should throw it back, but they were all too keen to have it for lunch. Yet they disappeared when it came to the actual killing.

I was glad that they had disappeared. I already knew that I didn't want them to see what I was about to do. My brother once told me that you can kill fish by hitting them on the top of the head with the back of your pocket knife. I tried this a few times, but to no avail. The fish kept on flapping.

Next I tried stabbing the fish into where I thought its brain was and I saw its rich red blood oozing out. Still it wouldn't die. I ended up cutting its head off. It fought for its life to the bitter end.

I still feel sick when I think about it.


Over the next few days I remembered the thick red blood coming out of the fish's head. I had murdered a living being. It didn't feel good. I didn't want to do it again.

Then I started thinking about the other animals that I eat. Cows, chickens, even lambs. Somebody murders them too. Their blood is spilled too.

That sealed it. I didn't want to eat animals anymore. That was about 6 weeks ago. I haven't really been counting. Nor have I been tempted. This is not something that I am 'giving up'. Nor it it a decision based on principle or rational argument. All I know is that I can't stand the thought of animals being killed so that I can eat them. I want no further part of it.


I will not try to convince anyone else to go vegetarian. I hate it when people try and force their own beliefs down my throat. Its almost worse than eating meat.

But if you want to know how you can become vegetarian, I can tell you that once I knew why I wanted to do it, the rest was really easy. So the first step is to have a really good reason for quitting meat. If you find that you can't stick to your resolution, maybe you should reconsider the reason why you want to do this.

Its that simple. Once you know why, you will figure out how.

Where there's a will, there is a way.


Steve M said...

It's been 25 years for me not choosing to eat meat. Longer than the time I unconsciously ate it.

The funny thing is, the reason that I stopped, and the (many) reasons I continue not to eat it are blurrier than ever. I can't exactly articulate why I stopped - killing living things, health, having a cause, etc etc.

So why I agree with you that finding "out why" is important, staying rigid to that original idea is also questionable. Stay flexible, update your beliefs, toss out flakey reasons and even import fresh ones! Even if the reason is, "just because".

Albert said...

Thanks Steve. Twenty five years of habit provides enormous momentum. But to start that up, one needs the strong motivation of a solid 'why'.

I guess from now on I will eat from the 'veggie pizza' boxes with you.

Horace said...

I do not eat animals either and for the same reason as you. I choose not to kill living beings. Thanks for your article. It is good to know that there are others that get it. Its about compassion.