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Margaret

Hello Room 209. I live in Evanston. I think there are lots of reasons why vegetarians do not eat meat. Our family doesn't eat meat because we are trying to be peaceful people. We eat food that doesn't have to be killed first, to remind us to be gentle with everything and everybody.

(And, in case you are wondering, we don't mind eating plants, because they don't feel pain the way animals do, and they grow back next year.)

David Weinberger

Hello, 209! We live in Boston.

I have been a vegetarian for 25 years. So has my wife. And all three of our children - age 21, 18 and 12 - have been lifelong vegetarians, too. We don't eat cows, chickens, lambs, pigs or fish.

We're veggies for a simple reason. We don't think it's right to hurt an animal just because we like the way it tastes.

I hope you have a good discussion of this question.

Pseudonym

I am not a vegetarian, but my sister is a vegan, which means that there are no animal products in her diet whatsoever. As Margaret has commented, some do this for moral reasons, but some like my sister do it simply for health reasons. Her stomach is very sensitive and cannot process the protein of animals. It makes her very sick and so he has to avoid it very carefully.

Anon

Steve Davis, an animal scientist at Oregon State University, has estimated that if America were to adopt a strictly vegetarian diet, the total number of animals killed every year would actually increase, as animal pasture gave way to crops. Davis says that if our goal is to kill as few animals as possible, then people should eat the largest possible animal that can live on the least intensively cultivated land: grass-fed beef for everybody. It would appear that killing animals is unavoidable no matter what we choose to eat.

Chertinkof

Beacuse caring about animals is as important as caring about environment. Animals are a part of environment.

Chad Fowler

Some people don't eat meat because of religious beliefs. For example, Buddhists believe that all sentient (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=sentient) beings are equal in their religion. So, eating an animal is kind of like eating a person.

However, they also understand that sometimes you can't help it. Some areas (like Tibet) don't have enough vegetation to support vegetarianism. So, the Tibetan Buddhists *do* eat meat.

Robyn

Hi. I'm writing from New York City. I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years. My answer to your question is pretty simple. There is so much food in the world that doesn't have to be killed in order for us to eat it. Why kill something if you don't have to?

Before there was farming, or in places where crops did not grow well, people had to kill animals and eat them in order to survive. But people can survive on plants, too, and there are plenty of plant foods in most parts of the world now.

Also, I love vegetables! :)

Micah

Hello 209! I have been a vegetarian for five years this month. This is how I decided not to eat meat:

My friend Vanessa is a vegetarian. Like you, I was curious as to why. When I asked her, she said, "One day I was making some chicken for dinner and I realized it just wasn't what I wanted to eat anymore." That seemed like a strange answer, but then a few days later I had the same experience.

Now after five years it's even more true. I just don't think of meat as food that I want to eat. Many of my friends love to have a big hamburger, but I don't. I used to think that this feeling would go away and I'd want to eat meat again, but I guess not.

Usually I don't even miss it. I get to eat food that has lots of colors, and I think that vegetables are really fun to cook! By the way, my wife is also a vegetarian.

Thank you for letting me tell my story.

Jack Vinson

Hello Room 209 from another Evanstonian.

As you can see from these responses, there are many reasons why people do not eat meat.

The reason I stopped (in 1987) is that I simply got tired of eating meat. I continue being a vegetarian because I can: I live in a country where there is a huge variety of foodstuffs available year-round. People don't say this a lot, but being vegetarian is a priviledge of the type of society in which we live.

Alex

Some people don't like to eat animals because animals are too much like us. Our cats and dogs have names, and live in our house with us, and sometime we even feed them food meant for people. Other animals like bees, beavers, and birds build homes like we do. We watch them and their lives on the nature channel the same way we watch the lives of people on tv shows. So it would be a little wierd to eat them.

sharon

Well, I hope that I can be helpful. I don't eat meat because, I believe that it is morally wrong. When people ask me why I don't eat meat I usually tell them to read some books on factory farming. Those might be a little to graphic for second graders. So wait until you get older!

Marla

Hello Classroom 209!

My name is Marla, and I live in Chicago with my husband and 1 1/2 year old son. We are all vegan for reasons of compassion to other beings. (Obviously our son has not made this decision on his own yet as he is too young, but as his guardians we feel the responsibility to help guide him toward choices that will not harm him or others.)

There are many environmental and health advantages to a meatless diet as well, but the bottom line for us and other vegans is to minimize our destruction of sentient beings. I appreciate you studying this very interesting and important topic.

-Marla

davers

Hello Class 209!

I'm not sure why vegetarians don't eat meat but I can tell you why vegans don't. I am vegan and I don't eat meat because i believe in peace. I think it's good to be nice to others and that includes animals.

Vegans avoid causing others suffering by not using any foods or products that come from animals. We don't wear fabrics from animals like leather or silk and we don't eat foods from animals like meats, cheese or milk.

Sounds hard, right? Well it really isn't. I've been vegan for 5 years and it's quite easy and I'm the healthiest I've ever been!

Great questions and these are some nice answers here.
Good luck and congratulations on such a fine project.

lucas land

hello clas 209!

i've been vegetarian for almost 3 years now and what did for me was a book i read about fast food "Fast Food Nation". The meat industry does a lot of things that aren't safe in order to crank out as many big macs as possible.

one common argument is also that meat is wasteful. it takes something like 40 pounds of grain (fed to a cow) to produce 1 pound of meat.

i love this blog. you guys are great.

andrea mercado

hiya! i live in boston, and i'm in graduate school studying to become a librarian, because librarians rock.

my boyfriend has been a vegetarian for about 15 years. he became vegetarian because he loves animals, and could not bring himself to eat meat that was once a living being that had feelings and thoughts.

i am not a vegetarian, but he still likes me anyway, and he doesn't think i'm a bad person. he thinks that everyone is free to make their own decisions, and doesn't think it's fair to make other people feel bad because they think differently.

keep on blogging! i'll try to visit when i can, and i will add you to my aggregator.

Kelly

I asked my 4 year old Vegan son to explain why we don't eat animals or animal products and he said "We love the animals and we don't want to hurt or kill them! And besides they are not healthy for our bodies!"

http://shae.shedonteatmeat.com
http://shedonteatmeat.com

owlmother

I'm not a vegetarian, but I try to eat very little meat. A diet with lots of meat in it isn't as good for your heart as a diet with more fruits and vegetables. Most meats we eat come from animals that are factory farmed. We have top factory farm in America because we eat so much meat. We eat more meat in a day than our ancestors who lived on farms and hunted. Where I live factory farms have polluted the rivers and killed many fish and sometimes made people sick too. Fish are full of many good things our bodies need that we can't get from most meats or even vegetables and grains.

Ken

Hi Room 209!

I am a vegan who is living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I choose not to eat or wear products that come from animals because I try to live as non-violently as possible. I believe that all people and animals deserve to be respected and allowed to live out their lives in peace.

Great project! I hope you all learn a lot!

Rosemary

I remember when I was about your age, thinking a lot about how it is wrong to be cruel to animals and how animals are killed for meat. I wanted to stop eating meat (I didn't even know the word vegetarian back then) and my mom told me that people need to eat both plants and animals to be healthy.

When I was an adult, I did a lot of reading at the library and found out that people do NOT need to eat meat, so I stopped. I was so happy to find out I didn't have to eat dead animals.

What I still don't understand is, why do people keep eating meat when they know it hurts animals and it is not necessary?

Erin

I am vegan because I don't agree with the way animals are treated on factory farms. When you think of a farm, you think of a place where animals are happy and well taken care of, but factory farms are very different. They only care about the products they can get from animals (meat, milk, eggs) and not about the animals themselves, so if they can save money by not treating the animals well then that's what they do. They also use chemicals and hormones that are bad for both animals and humans, and they pollute. I have seen videos of what things are like on factory farms and they made me very sad. I don't think humans should treat animals like that, no matter what their personal beliefs are. There are a lot of other reasons why I don't eat meat or other animal products, but that is the main one.

Lidza

Hello Room 209! I was very excited when I saw this topic because I think vegetarianism/veganism is something that the world needs to be more aware of. I am a vegan and very proud of it. There are many reasons why I am a vegan, but the most important one is that I don't think that animals should be used for food, clothes, and scientific research.

Animals are not treated as things that can feel pain and have emotions, but they can. Animals are very much like people. They talk in their own special language and show affection in different ways. Since animals have so many traits as us humans I don't think it is right to treat them poorly and use them for food, clothes, and research.

Many people think that one person being vegan isn't going to make a difference, but the average vegan saves the lives of 83 animals a year. That's a lot of animals!

I hope my information is useful for your discussion.

Ryan

I have always been a vegitarian. Ever since I was born, it is not a big deal. Most of my friends do not even know I am a vegetarian because I don't make a big deal about it.

I would like to know why do people have to eat meat?

Rachel Oeschger

Hi Room 209! Here are just a few reasons I've collected for not eating meat:

Water Use

-2500 gallons of water go into the production of ONE pound of beef.

-More water goes into a 1/2 lb. hamburger than the average human drinks in four years.

-It requires 15 times more water to produce one pound of beef than one pound of soybeans.

-80% of our nation's total water consumption goes into livestock production (either directly to the livestock, or to feed crops for the livestock).

Land Use

-Most deforestation is done in the name of the meat industry, to grow feed crops or for livestock grazing.

-This loss of forest land leads to topsoil erosion (there are no trees to keep the topsoil in place). This year, in the United States, we will lose 17 billion tons of topsoil to erosion.

Waste

-Every day, the average steer produces 47 pounds of manure.
Cattle produce almost 1 billion tons every year.

-Most animal waste goes into the groundwater or runs off into lakes and rivers.

-Animal slaughter waste products are dumped into rivers and lakes, or go into landfills where they can contaminate the groundwater.

-Animal dung causes twice the water pollution of all other industrial causes combined.

Consumption

-People in the U.S. consume six times as much milk, eggs, and dairy, and four times as much meat, fat, and oils as people in other countries.

-70% of the grain we produce goes to feed livestock.

-One fourth of the total land area of the PLANET is used for livestock grazing. In the US this number is even higher... 29%

-It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef

Enno

I've been a vegetarian for 14 years. I started for a very simple reason: because a girl I was interested in was a vegetarian, too.

That's a good reason to do anything, but it doesn't explain why I'm *still* a vegetarian.

I stopped eating meat before Scrapee, Mad Cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease and a lot of other scandals, but even back then, the main reason was that I didn't think the way meat is being produced is good. A lot of things get fed to the animals you eat that you would not imagine - it's not just grass.

When I was 6 years old, I saw a program on how goose liver pattee is made. Geese were force-fed with all kinds of poisons to make their livers swell up really big. The liver turned grey instead of the nice black it should have been, and was bloated. I'm sure the geese were in pain. It's the first thing I stopped eating, 10 years before I stopped eating all meat.

Another important reason is that there simply isn't enough meat or fish to go around for everyone in the world to eat it every day. It's probably okay to eat meat once a week, though. I know many people that eat more meat than that. I try to eat less.

Finally, you do get over the craving. To me, the smell of a hot saussage is like that of cigarettes - something other people enjoy, but I cannot.

Paige

I'm sixteen and I went vegetarian when I was not so much older than you - about eleven. I went vegan when I was twelve. I didn't know anything about health then - I just that I didn't want to hurt animals. A lot of people have told me since then that I can't possibly be healthy, but I've never been taken to the hospital since then and I almost never get fevers.

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  • Room 209
    Hi we are room 209. We are students in the Chicago Public Schools and we maintain this blog. This blog is a way of asking questions, writing about the things we are learning, discussing ideas from many sources, (books, blogs, letters, interviews) and reflecting on those ideas. Our teacher is Ms. H. You can e-mail her at the link on this page. You can comment on our questions or about our writing by clicking on the word comments at the bottom of each post. We are 2nd graders in the public schools so of course Ms. H moderates this blog for us. If this blog has inspired you and you want to leave us a comment please do so. If you want to talk with other adults about what we are talking about or if a comment you left here earlier has been moderated there is another blog about~209, which is this blog unmoderated.
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