By: Caitlin Haggerty
Zoe Falkson ‘20, has never tasted meat. She recounts a story from her early childhood where someone handed her a bowl of chicken noodle soup and explained what vegetarianism was. Falkson claims that at that moment, it never occurred to her that humans ate other animals. In an interview, she states that “the concept of eating meat never made sense to her” and she “never has found meat appealing”. While Falkson has grown up eating vegetarian, she has also grown a perspective on why eating meat is immoral and harmful.
In recent years, the concept of abstaining from meat consumption has grown considerably widespread. Whether this is because of moral reasons, religious or cultural reasons, upbringing, or simply a choice to change one’s diet, about 375 million people around the world live free of meat consumption. Many environments around the world have made great strides to provide adequate nutrition to replace that of meat, but more improvement must be made. Zooming in on one community in particular, I interviewed Beaver students to gain insight on their opinions and experiences regarding their diet and if they believe Beaver provides adequate vegetarian options.
Cattle grazing is the number one cause of deforestation, which contributes significantly to climate change. Along with this, the ozone layer is disappearing due in part to the methane gas emitted from cows and those consuming meat. Not only is meat production a leading cause of climate change, but it is also unnecessarily abundant.
Falkson expresses that she understands that “[eating meat] is the cycle of life, but considering that the average American eats 7x their recommended daily value of protein, we don’t need to be eating so much and producing so many animals to feed people.”
Animals, such as chickens, cows, and pigs, are often deprived of living natural lives free of human exploitation or unnecessary cruelty and pain. With this knowledge of the detriments of eating meat, Falkson fully embraces the vegetarian diet.
Falkson advised aspiring vegetarians to not go “cold turkey” (pun not intended). One cannot eliminate nutrients out of their diet without adding in replacements: try out different alternatives to meat and ease your way into it. Falkson recommends soy sausages and bacon as alternatives.
In the Beaver cafeteria, though, there are not usually soy sausages served at lunch. One vegetarian student, Ravi Kalan ‘21, feels that there are limited options for him at lunch and he has sometimes found himself eating rice while his peers are choosing between chicken and beef. Kalan has been vegetarian for his whole life and understands the challenges of maintaining a balanced diet. He believes that Beaver could improve in providing more meat-alternatives in the cafeteria.
Regardless of the reasoning, going vegetarian is a great choice if it works for the individual. Along with this, by making the Beaver community more friendly towards vegetarian needs, others may begin to feel more inclined to change their meat consumption levels as well.