To say that vegetarians don't commit "murder" is also a rationalization of valuing those creatures we humans find most like us over those, like plants, that don't mirror us as mammals. Plants don't have large eyes or cute button noses, so their lives don't have value. But the fact is, when you pick and eat a carrot, you kill it. As a Buddhist monk said, "The difference between killing a plant and an animal is that plants can't scream." Also, the vegetables we eat often have a human cost. Many of those who grow and harvest our vegetables are exploited shamelessly. Obviously we have to eat, and that act requires taking the life of another life form. That makes eating a serious act, and we should find ethical and eco-friendly ways to obtain our food, and we should cook it well and with great care. Eating is an act full of violence, contradictions, and complexity. When I say grace over a meal (either with meat or without), I am grateful for all the joy that went into producing it, and I apologize for all that suffered to bring that food to my table and in my mouth. To eat or not eat meat is a personal choice, but it is a choice that leaves no one's hands free of blood.
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