I am not a lifelong vegetarian. I had much trouble not succumbing to peer pressure when it came to eating meat.
My family were cattle farmers, my uncle a pork farmer, and my own family largely into hunting and fishing.
It was on a trip to one of those farms ( a pig farm) that I saw a pig with a broken leg being dragged off to a corner of a field by a tractor to be killed. I could see the pigs eyes, it was scared, it was hurt and it was screaming.
I will take that image with me to the grave.
I stopped eating pork that day.
Another visit to a farm I saw calves being kept in dog "igloo's" in the hot sun. Everytime I went to them they tried to suckle my fingers. I asked what they were in the igloo's for and the farmer told me "They are there for veal, best meat in the world!" I told him I didn't understand and he explained in detail how they would be kept in the huts until they were almost 6 months old and then killed for meat.
I asked why they would not be allowed to run around and get older and the farmer told me "Then the meat wouldn't be WHITE"
I never ate Veal, and I still never have.
It is stories such as these that I have string together over a series of years in my life that make it so much more important to become educated. Further I also must be an advocate and a responsible citizen in this world.
For me that means I cannot eat meat that is manufactured in unethical and sometimes in cruel ways. I am a citizen that wishes to become and help others to become enlightened regarding the sociological, economical and ethical repurcussions of supporting "feed-lot" mentailties, and unethical cruel practices against sentient beings.
I find that often, as I was, people are not ignorant by choice on issues such as Fois Gras and Veal but often are told white lies by people who wish to indulge in a meal without caring for the ramifications of that meal.
I think of this as mindless eating, people placing truth in logic that is at best fuzzy.
I am not saying that I would never eat meat. There are animals that eat meat that REQUIRE it. I for one believe that my body does not require meat on the level that certain meat agencies have led me to believe I need it. Conversly I will not force my cat or dog to eat vegetarian, I would be just as much as a sociopath as those who force feed a duck through a tube for foi gras.
Instead I am saying that I cannot eat it without being willing to do the dirty work. At the very least understand the circumstances in which your food comes from. Upon inspection of the process, one may find you may not "truly" be able to enjoy it. Ignorance or inability to listen to factmay result in unwillingly supporting a n industry that thrives on the mistreatment not only of its sentient animals but the sentient human animals who eat it.
The good things in life are not free. Great things come at great costs and great sacrifices. But it is when we make truly educated descisions that take into consideration such costs and sacrafices that we become truly involved and responsible citizens in this world.