Broadly speaking, slaves can be divided into two groups: those who eat meat, and those who don’t.
The latter group of non-meat-eaters can be further subdivided into those who don’t eat meat by choice (the few) and those who don’t have any meat to eat (the many).
Among those who refrain from eating meat by choice there are many different motivations: religious, health, lack of appeal and ethics. Among those who refrain for ethical reasons, the vegetarian lifestyle ranges from extreme vegan to more relaxed ovolactarian, or the even more relaxed “fish ain’t meat” subgroup.
Heated debate between meat-eaters and vegetarians (recommended read post and comments: Vegans Are Not From Vegas) shows the arguments boil down to biological imperative versus moral imperative. In a nutshell: Yes, humans are biologically prepared to eat meat. But does this mean all humans must?
For many vegetarians, the issue isn’t even with the meat itself, but what’s behind it. For these people, the crude reality of industrial animal slaughter provokes such strong rejection that some form of non-violent resistance or conscientious objection becomes necessary. Usually this starts by going off the meat. At stake are individual karma issues which some people can advance this way, just as others advance in other ways.
Because karma loves symmetry, in the developed world the luxury is to NOT eat meat. Just compare the price of a tofu dog compared to a normal hot dog (tofu dog girl below not included). Or of rice milk compared to cow milk. Plus the high-potency vitamin complex… the spirulina steak-in-a-pill… going off the meat and keeping healthy is a feasible but expensive endeavor.
But saying no is a also rare opportunity for a slave to gain an inch of freedom. It will cost you, but sometimes that’s what it takes to feel a little more human. And to have a pretext to chat up Ms. Tofu Dog. You might not eat it, but you don’t have to beat it. Priceless!
Photo via Creative Commons from Flickr: extra tofu dog!
and from the PETA website