My roommate the Panda and I fight a lot. He’s very good at finding some gaps in my logic, jamming his paw in it and jerking my whole argument apart by outing me as a silly, over-privileged, white girl who has no idea what the things she so passionately talks about actually mean. Poverty. Racism. Rugby. He’s good.
But this Tuesday, we got into a debate over vegetarianism, and this time, I didn’t end up in a corner licking my wounds from the battlefield. To be fair, 12 years of vegetarianism (throw in about 5 steaks, 4 bites of a Döner and a couple of very guilty burger moments) prepared me well for this one. I had my first blood-sweat-and-tears fight over vegetarianism when I was twelve with my 21 year old brother and realized that I could only escape this debate, if I avoided eating around other people all together.
To be honest, the debate get’s a bit old after a few years.
However, in this particular case, the debate became a little more heated than I usually let it get. After calling the Panda an idiot, yelling a few things that were completely off-topic and punching the couch helplessly, we were interrupted and I had a little time to cool off.
I decided, it would be best to let a third party speak. Obviously, one that would make my case.
So we watched Earthlings, a terribly brutal documentary about mass meat production & co. produced by Joaquim Phoenix that you can watch for free, if you’re up for it. To roughly quote Joaquim: “As a consumer of animal products you actually have no right to not watch it.” I have to say, though, that it consists of some of the most horrible scenes I’ve ever seen. And this comes from a German kid who had to watch all those concentration camp videos at high school… I cried throughout most of it and certainly didn’t keep my eyes open all of the time.
Yet, the documentary shows probably not even the most extreme forms of animal abuse. The message is clear: this is happening, right now and all over the world, and you should give a shit about it, if you have animal products in your fridge, wardrobe or bathroom.
Panda made a joke about falling asleep when it was over. I didn’t even have the energy to go at his throat at this point. But then he asked me some questions and I could see a new uneasiness in his face, the wrinkled forehead of reconsideration.
I think the documentary pushes it too far for the mainstream meat-eater, so I diluted the documentary’s message a little bit by saying that a lot of people argue a strong case for supporting organic and ethical meat production as a more realistic alternative to mass meat production than total abstinence.
Well, what can I say. The next day around noon I received a text message saying that Panda would go vegetarian for a month to see how he felt about it. I’m going to cook the shit out of quinoa, tofu and beans this month!