An Opinion: Becoming a Vegetarian

Amanda Mikalow with part of her Senior Project.

Amanda Mikalow with part of her Senior Project.

I decided to become a vegetarian six months ago when I saw a PETA video.  PETA stands for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.” The video showed me the horrible conditions of slaughterhouses and the life of the animals we eat on a daily basis. I was devastated to see how these poor animals lived. I immediately decided to keep meat off of my plate for good.

When time came for our senior year projects at Vernonia High School I was stuck deciding on a subject to pursue. I had to write a speech, make a poster board and spend time with a mentor who would help me with my project. Then it hit me; I could teach people about the vegetarian lifestyle and the positives of living it.

My project was a big success. I showed the sad and awful conditions of national slaughterhouses around our country.  I also tried to influence people who do eat meat to choose organic farm raised animals and showed them the beautiful and healthy life of animals on farms. I know not everyone is going to be a vegetarian but I want people to enjoy their meat and have a clear conscience at the same time. Animals on farms have more room, better food and are not filled up with hormones and chemicals like animals in slaughterhouses are. You can see on your meat label whether the animals are farm raised or not.

Many people have asked me if I would consider just eating organic meat instead of being a vegetarian.  I have thought about it quite a bit but the thought of eating flesh, an animal that has eyes and a nose and mouth like me, made me sick.

I have influenced two people so far to try the vegetarian lifestyle and they have had great success.  I will continue to teach people just as I taught them. I encourage people to try one vegetarian meal a week,  whether it be soup, pasta or a grain. There are many great vegetarian recipes online, and they’re not hard and don’t require an abundance of ingredients but still are very delicious.

Not only is being a vegetarian good for the animals, it’s also good for you. According to the American Diabetes Association vegetarians on average live five years longer than a meat eater;  we are also at a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.  If not for the animals,  do it for yourself and your family.

I personally feel great not eating meat and I love to see the people around me keeping meat off their plate. I plan on being a vegetarian my whole life and to keep spreading the word of my lifestyle.

I hope tonight you decide to have black bean soup instead of pork chops.