The Vegetarian Imperative

Not very long ago, a smoker could unhesitatingly light up a cigarette in a public place and puff away. No one would object in spite of the obvious fact that the room was polluted with toxic second hand smoke. After a twenty year campaign to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco and the subsequent public health costs, smoking in public is no longer socially acceptable behavior. In fact, it’s banned by law and heavily taxed.

Meat eating and the wholesale production of flesh foods will eventually be viewed with the same disdain. Meat is artificially cheap  due to heavy tax payer subsidization of corn and soybean production. Whether you eat meat or not, you’re footing the bill for someone else’s Big Mac. If a pound of flesh was not subsidized, it would cost $35/lb, just as it does in countries like Japan where grazing land is scarce. The real cost of an unsubsidized Big Mac is $7.00, not the current $2.00. Guess who pays the $5.00 difference?

Besides the economics of meat consumption there’s the ethical issues surrounding slaughter. Killing deadens the human spirit to the higher sentiments of life. In that sense, vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism. Western civilization considers human life to be sacred, but Vedic culture recognizes all life forms as sacred.

This is the reason for being vegetarian, which is ecology in its deepest sense. Animal life should not be taken for our own purposes, nor should it be artificially created as it is done in the West, where millions of cattle, pigs and chickens are reared for slaughter in factory farms.