How does that joke go? "How can you tell if someone is a vegan/vegetarian? Don't worry, they'll tell you." Of course, not all vegetarians fit the pretentious stereotype, and they understandably don't like the constant assumptions. Just like meat eaters are tired of being pegged as gluttonous, cholesterol-drooling T-Rex. But times have changed. Vegetarians are no longer shunned outcasts as some still maintain. And with health becoming such a trend (even if it's not always well-adhered to), meat eaters are becoming a more regular target of food-shaming.
Enough! Below are the 14 dumbest things meat eaters have to deal with.
1. Being demonized by animal rights activists for eating meat.
We can eat meat and still be advocates for animal rights. Most meat eaters want animals to be treated as humanely as possible, and many of them take part in efforts to stop animal abuse just as vegetarians do. On the flip side, many fruits and vegetables come from farms that exploit low-wage migrant workers. Are you, veggie or meat eater, eating that produce? We're talking about human beings, not animals. Vegetarians would probably want those workers to be paid a decent wage and treated fairly, right?
2. Taking flak for not treating animals exactly like people.
As higher brain functioned beings, we should be concerned about the welfare of animals, but the fact remains: animals are not people. In some sections of the globe, animals are treated as pets, loved and cared for almost as members of the family. In other sections, those same animals are used as food sources. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs. Here, that would be bizarre if not downright horrific to some, but that's just a way of life in certain portions of the world. Different people, different upbringings, different diets.
3. "Do you have any idea what's in that?"
Yeah. An animal.
4. Being bombarded by grotesque "this is the reality of meat" photos.
We don't mind a documentary once in a while, or even truth-revealing photos. We're openminded people -- remember, we eat meat and vegetables. But suggesting is a much better strategy than forcing it into a social media feed. Vegetarians don't enjoy being ambushed because of their vegetarianism. Please, grant us the same courtesy.
Furthermore, most of us have never had romantic notions of what goes on in a slaughterhouse. We realize animals need to be killed and butchered in order for us to eat them, and that was never supposed to be a pretty affair. We also know that some actors in the meat industry are worse than others. You're not blowing any minds here.
5. "Do you know what that's doing to your insides?"
Yeah, the meat is delivering tasty care packages to a hunger zone desperately in need of them. Listen, we know in large quantities meat isn't the greatest thing for our health, but you know what? It tastes delicious and we're not perfect. No one is. If happiness to you is carrying around hundred pound bags of kale and tofu to prepare for the CrossFit Games, go for it.
6. Being expected to cater to vegetarian visitors, while vegetarians are never expected to cook meat for visiting meat eaters.
You choose to eat what you want. We choose to eat what we want. You've never heard the phrase "meat eater option." What a juicy, flame-broiled double standard. You know it is still possible to cook meat without it getting into your stomach, right?
(Relax, we're kidding. If you make this argument to your vegetarian friends, you're probably kind of a jerk. Sigh ... meat problems.)
7. "Ugh, you're not actually going to eat that are you?"
Well, we were, until you decided to start lectur---no, you know what, meat forever:
8. "Meat production does great harm to the environment!"
Absolutely, when profit and cost cutting are the primary concerns, any industry can become a breeding ground for environmental insensitivity and ignorance, and food production is particularly vulnerable to this. Feel free to write your congressman, boycott those companies or organize a protest. Your friend eating a cheeseburger after a long day at work is just trying to live his life.
9. "You can get all your protein from these non-meat things!"
Mmmm, yeah, like beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and yogurt. Those things all sound good. But it begs the question: do you grocery shop in a retirement home? Or perhaps another place where teeth are optional?
10. "Vegetables" is a much longer word than "meat."
Having to utter four syllables as opposed to just one? Sorry, this is the age of brevity, and people have short attention spans. Now, vegetarians might ask, "What does that have anything to do wi---" TOO LATE WE'RE ALREADY EATING OUR STEAKS.
11. Having to accommodate vegetarian friends when going out to eat.
Vegetarians are not the only ones with a limited number of places to eat. As meat eaters going out with vegetarian friends who insist on eating a real meal, we have fewer places to eat, too. And we don't always mind making the sacrifice. Hey, they're our friends. We accept them for who they are. Most of the time.
12. Having to explain bacon.
It's hard to understand if you don't eat it. Bacon is really great and meat eaters are not shy about expressing their love for it. We absolutely respect that it doesn't fit your diet, but don't ask us to explain its powerful and delicious magnetism.
13. Being lectured on how humans were never meant to eat meat.
Humans evolved into the superior species of the planet in part because of eating meat. That's right. Eating meat played a significant role in making our brains larger, as well as increasing our social and communication skills. Also our digestive systems are built for it. It's safe to say most people are fairly disgusted when animals are abused, but it's ironic when a vegetarian voices well thought out reasoning against the killing of animals. Because without the hunting and meat-eating portion of evolution, they might not have been physiologically able to.
14. Being called lazy or ignorant for not analyzing every aspect of where our food comes from.
To be blunt, some people just don't have the time to think about where their food comes from or what's happening to farm animals. In a perfect world, we would love for there to be zero animal suffering, 100 percent work efficiency and to see people living longer and healthier lives than ever before. But the cold hard truth is that 46.5 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. About 22 million people are underemployed. One in six people in the U.S. is food insecure, a nice way of saying they sometimes go hungry. These people don't necessarily have the luxury to worry about where their food comes from, or what's in it, or how it will be packaged and produced. Their most pressing concern is, "Will we have food?"
Meat eaters can and should care about decreasing animal cruelty. We can and should increase the efficiency of food production, which may even mean decreasing our total meat consumption. We can and should increase health awareness. But even if we are the most healthy, efficient and humane we can be, some will still view us as slobbering barbarians simply because we eat meat.