By Hannah Bouchard
I grew up in an Irish and French family that ate meat with every meal. I’ve tried cow, pig, chicken, deer and ostrich. I loved to eat meat. I loved Buffalo Wild Wings, McNuggets, Chicken Caesar Salads; you name it. My family raised me on meat, and I was totally cool with that. When I became a pescetarian almost two years ago, I thought that maybe I should just cut down rather than give it all up completely, but then I realized that I didn’t trust myself to actually cut down, so instead, I just cut.
When I tell people that I gave up meat to help the environment, it’s followed by my opportunity to say everything I know about animal agriculture and climate change and how giving up red meat could help save the planet. I tell them about the hundreds of gallons of water and pounds of grain that goes into making just one-quarter pound of beef. I tell them that cows burp and fart methane. I tell them that grazing is the major reason why deforestation is constantly worsening. I say that if we rerouted all the food we feed to farm animals and fed it to starving people, we could almost eradicate world hunger. I also say that by cutting beef and other meats from my diet, I basically can help lessen the horror of natural disasters that have become so horrifying recently.
It seems that, with no success, they just reply, “That’s so great! I could never give up beef; I like burgers too much.” Or “I’d do that, but I need protein.” Or “I grew up on a meat diet.” All of these excuses are just that: excuses. It frustrates me because while I don’t want to be the one to force people to eat a certain way, I feel shocked that people can watch and live the repercussions of climate change and neglect to help it just because of the taste of artery-clogging foods.
The problem is so much bigger than your pickiness. There are so many alternatives to meat that I’ve tried, and I find them almost always enjoyable, and often better as they don’t contain the fats and other harmful qualities that meat does.
If I, someone whose family worshipped filet mignon and had fresh venison for dinner after my grandpa would hunt, can give up meat for over a year, I swear, anyone should be able to.
Hannah is a freshman
Graphic by David Giacomini