I am often asked why I am a vegetarian as this is rare in a country like Turkey. And I greatly dislike answering these as the questions that follow are usually stupid and often include mockery. However, I somehow (academic procrastination?) felt the neccessity to discuss certain aspects of vegetarianism:

First of all and actually most importantly, vegetarianism is not simply a choice of diet. It’s a political and ethical attitude. It’s standing for ‘life.’ In other words, while there are also vegetarians out there, who do not eat animal bodies for the sole reason that they find it disgusting, there are also people who refuse to eat animals because it has other connotations. This can vary from person to person, but the main idea is, eating meat (or animals in general) justifies and normalizes murder, the sight of blood. Remember sacrificing animals as part of religious ritual in Islam and how little kids see this as a glorification – with animal blood on their foreheads.

Again, vegetarianism is standing for ‘life.’ The world has gone crazy about lowering the amount of water used, at least Turkey did because there is water scarcity. Have you ever considered the amount of water to make say a baby cow to grow up enough to be slaughtered compared to the amount of meat/nutrition you get from the cow (not including the cereals used to feed it). Before you even say “they are going to die anyway.” Well, we are talking about animals that are produced to be slaugthered at a certain age – that is animal overproduction (what a disgusting word to use here) farms. In short, with that amount of water and cereals wasted, you would not need an initiative like Live 8, where people think they are doing something useful and have their conscience comfortable. Anyway, there are a lot of statistics about these: like, 80% of agricultural fields are used to feed animals. And that amount of space could be used to produce more vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. More information is available in Turkish here.

Secondly, being a vegetarian is being the Other. There are no words in use that I know of to refer to those normal people who eat meat (unlike the word heterosexual to refer to the same situation in terms of sexual orientation – but then, vegetarians don’t experience social pressure other than the limited number of foods to choose from outside home). That is, I am marginalized when I say I am a vegetarian, as those meat eaters do not use a word to describe themselves – they do not have the need to do so anyway. So, this is another point to reinforce non-vegetarianism.

And thirdly… The situation is similar in Got Milk? campaign, where milk/dairy producers started an immense promotion of milk consumption saying that it’s healthy and needed to drink milk. Similar to this, we have the myth of the healthy meat, which continously tells you to eat meat and otherwise you’ll have certain deficiencies – with ads speaking, doctors commanding, etc.

And so on…


This post has 1 comment.

  1. Se├žil
    30 Oct 07
    1:06

    These are the words that I’d say if I wrote.. Thanks.