Vegetarianism and Meat Eating in Food Culture Essay

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Christopher McCandless, a young American who was found dead in summer of 1992 in wild land in Alaska, wrote in his diary about his moral struggle regarding killing a moose for survival. According to Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Chris had to abandon most of the meat since he lacked the knowledge of how to dismantle and preserve it (166-168). Not only did he have a moral dilemma to kill a moose, but also had a deep regret that a life he had taken was wasted because of his own fault. He then started recognizing what he ate as a precious gift from the nature and called it “Holy Food” (Krakauer 168). Exploring relationships between human beings and other animals arouses many difficult questions: Which animals are humans allowed to eat and …show more content…
For human, to master agriculture and trade about 10,000 years ago widely expanded their food options that enable modern human to become a vegetarian (Corliss). A vegetarian does not eat meat not only because it tastes bad, but also it means something to him or her. The more one has faith in vegetarianism, the more one restricts one’s food choice in reality. Henry David Thoreau, who is known as one of the first environmental writers of the 20th century in the U.S. and had lived in woods alone, writes in his essay Walden that hunting and eating animals had bothered him because it seemed as it degraded himself to a beast. For him, eating animals is “not agreeable to [his] imagination” (Thoreau 169) as Thoreau strongly believed that “to leave off eating animals” is “a part of the destiny of the human race” (Thoreau 170). While his belief and the reality he faced had conflicted each other, he tried his best to find a way to live without relying much on meat. Even in a wild, what drove Thoreau was anthropocentric thinking that human can control nature. This dilemma in food choice that bothered Thoreau is what Michael Pollan calls the omnivore’s dilemma. He puts it in his same-titled book in this way: “When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer,

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