My little 'experiment' began in the wonderful Festival of Creativity. I had a fatty fast food hamburger in Vienna before heading to Czech mountains to enjoy a last piece of meat before trying to survive with vegan food for an whole week. Little did I know it was going to be my last for longer.
Two things happened there. Firstly, we had amazing cooks and amazing food. I did not expect to enjoy my week of 'survival' that much. Secondly, I had some very inspiring conversations with my new friends who had their interesting opinions on the matter. So I decided to keep going for a while.
Since I am back, I have not eaten any meat other than fish, almost no eggs, and I have mostly replaced milk with soy.
What I have realized
First things first: to be honest, I really like meat and there is no substitute for a good steak. I can imagine living on without eating meat at all, but it is real joy.
On the other hand, vegetarian (or even vegan) food can be very delicious and easy to cook. I feel quite energetic and well too. It also cheaper, but this is not really a big factor for me as my Turkish roots do not let me cut on eating as long as I do not have to :).
Finally, it actually is not that easy to eat out. Mostly I do find something delicious and it is not much harder than avoiding pork in Germany, but still, the choices are mostly limited.
I do not think it is a bad thing to eat meat. I will list some points soon, but none of them are directly related to eating meat itself, but more like its side effects. I have the feeling I have had enough of my experiments, so as long as I am sure there is no problem with my following concerns, I guess I will return to eating meat, but probably less than before, and somehow differently.
Love of mother nature, or animals in particular
Animals who get to eat meat, do so. I do not feel like being an exception to it. I see no reason to love a "victim" more than the hunter, this is just the natural course of the nature. Death is a part of life, and becoming food for another live being is a good kind, I think.
BUT, we humans do not do it quite the natural way. I highly recommend Sapiens by Harari if you are interested in how the human diets has changed and changed the nature in the course of evolution.
The first difference is that, no other animal farms one other. Farming means we have impact not only on the death of the animals but on their daily lives as well. With great power comes great responsibility, we are responsible, that they have a good, natural life before they are slaughtered. This is the reason I refuse to eat industrial meat after now as long as I do not have to. I am fine with good, natural farms on this matter.
Another great difference is how we see animals. In Sapiens, Harari explains how humans used to see animals as a part of the whole we belonged to (religious impacts of the farming revolution are also very interesting) . I like it very much how people in Pagan cultures mostly used to "apologize" or thank their preys. It is very important that we do not forget the love and respect to the nature, including our preys. As long as we have this in mind, I do not think eating meat hurts our spiritual development.
Another religious practice that I really like is the Muslim "Sacrifice Feast", where people who can afford it together sacrifice an animal and share its meat with the poor and the needy. The related part is that you are supposed to be there during the slaughter, or even do it yourself if you are capable of accomplishing the task without giving the animal more any pain than necessary. I think it helps us realize the real cost of eating meat. After this I never wasted any meat. Knowing the cost, it is a decision to eat meat, but ignorance of this is no excuse for eating meat.
The other problem with humans is that, there are too many of us, and those who can afford it get much more than our share of ecological resources. Meat production has a huge impact on the environment, whereas vegetarian/vegan food production is generally more environment friendly. However, going full vegan is not the best solution, as this article suggests. The main cause of this problem is in my opinion the human overpopulation, which also causes many more problems. Sadly, that's not an easy problem to solve. When it comes to eating meat and other animal products, the way to go is to reduce consumption and increase efficiency. I personally do not think complete absence is necessary.
When I invite friends over, I mostly cook veggie, and most people are fine with that. When I am invited, I do not ask them to cook separately for me. If they make the offer, I take it thankfully. Otherwise my plan is to eat beforehand and sit with them eating what I can find. I try that the only difference I create is that I expect them to respect that when I do not want to eat meat, it should be OK :) . If there is something that contains small bits of animal productions, I am also find with that. There is no need to be extremely picky. It is not a good thing to make others lives harder.
What is next?
For the reasons above, I think I will keep eating meat from good sources, but not too much of it. (For friends in Germany: kaufnekuh looks interesting) I am also fine with hunting of animals whose species are not endangered. Let's see how it is going to turn out.