Opinion: Going vegetarian isn’t to protect animals

Anne Buie

Anne Buie

Anne BuieRecently, I gave up meat cold turkey.

I never really thought I would go vegetarian. I’m never one to turn down a hamburger, and I used to get a BLT from Jimmy John’s at least once a week.

And then, I spent my summer working in a kitchen. It was there I quickly realized my disgust for the meat industry is larger than my love for a Five Guys’ hamburger.

Although meat tastes good, I’ve been skeptical for a while about the meat process. And it turns out the questionable meat process is something that has been going on since 1906.

Upston Sinclair changed history when he exposed the meat industry’s questionable practices with his novel The Jungle, published in 1906.

At the time, diseased animals and cow fetuses were sometimes packaged and sold to vendors throughout the book.

And who’s to say people aren’t doing that now?

This isn’t an ethics problem for me – I wasn’t concerned about animal rights when I made the decision to give up meat.

For me, I felt like the meat industry was partaking in questionable and, at times, unethical practices.
In Jonathon Foer’s book Eating Animals, he discusses visiting a slaughterhouse.

On his tour, Foer sees a machine called a shocker, a device used to knock out pigs.

But when Foer inquired about the machine, people were hesitant to share any futher information except its name with him.

Why? What’s the meat industry hiding from us?

It also seems to be a common occurrence in slaughterhouses for the USDA inspector to have his vision blocked from seeing the animal and actually looking at the meat he or she is supposed to inspect.

“It’s virtually impossible for [USDA inspectors] to monitor the slaughter area when they’re trying to detect diseases and abnormalities in the carcasses that are whizzing by,” Former USDA Dave Carney said as published in Eating Animals.

Excuse me? What does he mean by the meat is whizzing by? How on earth is someone supposed to fully inspect the meat to ensure the carcass is not carrying any strange diseases?

But what it really boils down to is I’m sick of my food being packed with hormones and antibiotics in order to keep meat looking a little fresher for a little longer.

The meat industry is like any typical business – their primary goal is to keep costs as low as possible to maximize their profits.

But as the customer, I can take my business elsewhere.

And it looks like I’ll be done with the meat industry for a while.

Buie, a sophomore political science major from Charlotte, N.C., is the managing editor