Ok... not *really*....
BUT I am always baffled by the idea that plants are somehow *less* living than animals, specifically when it comes to vegetarianism. I've heard so many times "I am a vegetarian because taking a life is wrong." or "I could never, ever kill anything." So my initial question, "What do you eat?" Well the answer of course is plants. So again, I ask, how are plants *less* living than animals?
In basic interaction science, there is a visual tool called an energy pyramid that deals with the transfer of energy from one organism to another. At the bottom of the pyramid are plants who receive their energy directly from the sun. The pyramid progresses, showing energy loss, to herbivores, then omnivores, and then carnivores at the top. Therefore, from an energy stand point plants could arguably be *more* alive than animals (including humans). Those of us that work with energy can attest that there is a *lifeforce* in plants. So why is this lifeforce less important than that of animals?
I can only conclude that it is a comfort thing. Plants do not cry, whine, or do cute little animal things. It is easy to *ignore* the fact that they are indeed alive. But this is in fact a delusion. Even science is beginning to provide proof that plants communicate:
Next, I would go on to ask a person providing this arguement for vegetarianism why they are incredulous when a human (humans ARE animals btw people) partakes in the eating of meat, but not when the same is done by the animals they love so much? I can assure you that the beef I eat came to a much nicer end than the antelope taken down by the lioness, or the mouse teased and tortured by your beloved house cat. Are humans now somehow above the cycle of life?
This brings me to my biggest problem with the posts I have encountered, and the reason why I have posted this here on Real Pagans. In addition to being indignant about consuming meat, *many* seem to want to push vegetarianism as a dogma of paganism or Wicca. "How can you condone the killing of innocent animals when you are pagan. Pagans are suppose to be about protecting nature." Ok.. well how about this... I am for protecting the natural balance in nature, and this means the cycle of life, which in turn means consuming meat. Not only is there absolutely no support for the claim that vegetarianism is a component of paganism as a whole or Wicca, paganism has a long history of animal sacrifice.
In addition, I ask these people, do you bathe? Do you take antibiotics? Do you wash you hands? Do you walk on the grass? All of these lead to death. But again, these deaths are easily *ignored.* The *cuteness factor* has been removed. And, again, that's what it really comes down to, your own personal comfort level. YOUR *personal* comfort level.... so do not get indignant when our level is different than yours. My path is about amplifying my connection with the divine energy of the universe, and part of that is recognizing my natural place in the cycle of life, not removing myself from it. Vegetarianism is NOT a pagan concept. Please do not try to sell it as such.
Hear, hear Strata. This is among the reason (besides my perpetual state of illness) why I stopped being a vegetarian after 5 years. It didn't make sense. Do I think there are *better* more *humane* ways to treat farm-factory animals? Yes, I do. I don't think our place in the food chain is an excuse to overlook our ability to reason. But in the general balance and cycle of things I believe it is a person's place to eat meat.
I also get irritated when veganism/vegetarianism gets sold as a part of ANY religion. I've seen many debates that say Jesus would have been a vegetarian and so on. My belief is life is life, but not all killing is murder.
I've never had the chance or even thought to bring up your second point, the cycle of life. Usually when this topic comes up, I bring up plants, and brushing of teeth. At which point I'm called a name such as cruel or heartless and they change the subject.
For me the choice was easy. I did not want to stop eating meat, so I chose an alternative. I support local humane farms and dairies. But again this is MY choice and don't expect everyone to agree.
I am a vegetarian because of environmental concerns. I see my attempts to reduce my negative impact on the Earth as being inherent in my spirituality. I find that being a vegetarian is incredibly easy for me. Therefore, eating meat and then claiming to have a spiritual connection with the Earth would not sit well with my conscience.
On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with hunting, as long as it is not done simply for sport. Hunting does not have the same environmental impact as factory farming does. Personally, I just couldn't bring myself to shoot an animal. And yes, that is because of my own "comfort level," as Strata phrased it.
I realize that these are my personal beliefs, and I do not wish to push them upon anyone. In no way do I look down upon non-vegetarians as being "bad." This is the way I choose to live, in alignment with my own belief system.