For this New Year, progressive readers on Blue Jersey can do something for genuine, positive change in their lives: become a full-fledged vegetarian and animal rights advocate. Forgive me for proselytizing, an act that I usually consider unethical, but this is something that deeply concerns me — and I think animal rights correlates with the tenets of liberalism, particularly the preservation of individual rights.
Animal rights is an important component of liberalism because we as a movement have always sought to preserve individual freedoms, regardless of race, gender, religion (or lack thereof), belief system, or sexual orientation. Surely, these rights can and should extend to sentient being who share the capacity for suffering that humans have. One of the reasons that I’m writing this piece is because I’m convinced that fellow progressives are simply behind the curve if they haven’t already converted to vegetarianism and because I don’t fathom how those who favor the rights of the disenfranchised in the above human areas find it compatible in their belief system to eat the flesh of creatures who, from factory farming practices, are beaten, kicked, prodded, and tortured. Factory farms, where most of our meat production comes from, are anything but open farms where cows, pigs, and other animals roam free, and the most cursory research on their conditions will truly horrify you.
If you consider yourself an environmentalist, then you should strongly consider switching to a vegetarian lifestyle. The amount of land that needs to be used to create a pound of meat is staggering when compared to renewable farming practices, meat consumption is the driving factor behind most worldwide rainforest destruction, and meat byproducts and animal feces from factory farms are polluting our soil, streams, and air. Our planet simply cannot sustain our meat-based dietary practices for much longer. One of beliefs that liberals seem to hold is that we as a culture must be responsible for our actions, and a lot of pain, suffering, and environmental degradation goes into the global meat industry.
By switching to a vegetarian lifestyle, you will make a change, however small, that will positively impact our planet and the animals who live on it; you’ll feel good about your body, be healthier, and be leading a sustainable lifestyle. As a vegetarian for 16+ years, I made that choice a long time ago and am better for it. Besides becoming a vegetarian, perhaps consider ruling out circuses, which are often cruel to their animal performers; buying cruelty-free products; lobbying legislators for animal rights-oriented laws; and not wearing animals, if possible. If you are still on the fence, or just need some basic information on vegetarian recipes and such, just see the website “GoVeg” below; for more on factory farming, watch the “meetyourmeat.com” video on the same page.
Go Veg link .