I started being a vegetarian back in April, roughly. That’s April 2013, in the optimistic hope that someone might be reading this years from now.
From then on I’ve had people ask “why?” a few times. My reaction is somewhat muted and unsure, and I think I’ve finally figured out why this is.
I used to think it was because my reasons were a bit complex and needed careful wording (they’re not, see below*).
I now realise that I’m actually experiencing a touch of annoyance. When I hear that curious “oh, why?”, my brain hears “you must justify your choice to me”. But I’m not good at expressing annoyance, so my answer comes out as vague stammering.
Having reflected on this, I still think the question is odd. I don’t think you can deny that vegetarianism is the more moral choice (over eating meat). Shouldn’t the question be directed at meat-eaters? It would be a much more interesting conversation if people started asking meat-eaters why they eat meat. I imagine most replies would boil down to:
“I like meat. My parents fed me meat, so I still eat it.”
If this is true, it basically says that you haven’t thought too much about the logic and reasoning behind your actions and beliefs.
This could be bollocks, and I certainly know one meat-eater who tries carefully to eat meat as ethically as possible. For most, I suspect it’s simply a default setting.
Given that, why should the considered choice (being vegetarian) be questioned rather than the unconsidered default (eating meat)?
* my reasons are quite simple. Meat production uses more land and resources than non-meat production. Fishing is bad for the seas and oceans (as a general rule). I’m too lazy and busy (at the same time) to seek out “ethical meat”. “Ethical meat” is expensive. I’m not sure the meat can ever be as ethical as non-meat.