I am what is considered a militant vegetarian. In reality, I am a spiritual vegetarian. I do not eat, wear or otherwise consume any creature. I define a creature as a being with a nerve center and thus the capacity for pain and the potential for thought.
Further, I keep a meat free home. Visitors and family alike may not bring meat in to my home. In order to create a society where all can live freely and pursue happiness, in public we cope with and tolerate situations which may cross our personal boundaries or be at odds with our values. For me this means operating on a shielded level. Home is the one place where our values prevail and we can be comfortable and vulnerable. Dead animals distress me, and the butchered carcass of a creature killed to be eaten horrifies me. I simply will not subject myself to that in the one place I have to truly feel comfortable, and I absolutely believe eating meat is wrong. I will not allow my home to entertain that which I find to be vile.
To me it is human arrogance to assume from our narrow point of view that other creatures are insentient and thus ours to consume. If indeed such were true, it would instill an obligation to protect rather than a right to kill and abuse.
My mind always journeys back to the old Twilight Zone episode where Earth is visited by seemingly benevolent aliens. When they arrive, they leave a book with us. Shortly they've cured the world of hunger and brought peace to the planet, so the title of the book, "To Serve Man," seems to indicate an altruistic purpose. As time progresses, the aliens begin transporting humans to visit the extraterrestrial world. Only at this point is it found that the book is actually a cook book, and humans were being fattened, pacified, and carted away as fodder.
How would I feel to walk in to a dwelling as a pet to find my sister's arm being chewed on by some other creature? How would I feel to be hunted, or bred and penned, sensing I would only be killed and eaten? To another race perhaps I would be considered insentient and thus invalid.
Such has been the sin of human history. Over and over again we've found reasons to count the differences between ourselves and others as righteous authority to commit atrocities upon each other. In the United States alone our history includes slavery, torture, and killing of one race by another - excused by the difference of skin color. Hate crimes are rampant, gangs threaten whole communities, and wars rage - all over perceived differences. We must stop reducing life around us to nothing more than a commodity to be controlled or consumed. Where is our compassion and empathy?
Neither will I handle a dish with meat on it, or allow any of my possessions to carry rotting flesh (when it no longer lives, it begins rotting) in it. Washing it out cannot remove the taint that is left, because the death that it bore is not insignificant. To me, it would be akin to a doctor using a knife to work on a cadaver, slicing away a piece for examination and laying it on a tray. Along comes a visitor, looking for something to hold his food, and the doctor empties the tray, washes it and the knife off, and offers it to the visitor. I suspect most would refuse, despite it having been washed.
If food has been cooked with meat, it is no longer vegetarian. Separating the meat from the vegetables simply does not make it vegetarian. The fluids from the meat cover and cook in to the surrounding food, and the vegetables now contain part of the meat and carry that taint of death.
Meat simply is not food to a spiritual vegetarian.
© Elven Lore 04/28/08