I'm A Vegetarian and I Kill Animals
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I'm A Vegetarian Who Never Misses The First Day Of Hunting Season, Yes, I'm Serious

Dear PETA and vegan friends, I apologize in advance.

I'm A Vegetarian Who Never Misses The First Day Of Hunting Season, Yes, I'm Serious
Kevin Wheeler

My family is a family of hunters, fishermen, ranchers, and farmers. I was 12 when I shot my first deer.

The year after that, I shot not only a deer, but an elk and antelope as well. Throughout my teenage years, I would go hunting every fall. I also enjoyed fishing with my dad and participated in 4-H where I raised sheep and steer for the market sale. Long story short, my family LOVES to eat meat and enjoys harvesting it.

So when I decided to transition to a vegetarian lifestyle a year and a half ago, you could say my family was more than a little disappointed.

I first became a vegetarian because of a long history of struggling with food and how it related to my idea of health and wellbeing. During this time, I was deeply struggling with my food relationship and hated to eat (more on this in a later article, I promise).

So, I decided to knock something off my bucket list and try vegetarianism for a month.

At this time, I was also meeting weekly with my nutritionist, so she helped me come up with meal plans that would benefit me and make sure I got enough protein (I am also slightly lactose intolerant). I quickly realized how much I loved fruit, veggies, and eating a colorful plate. I fell in love with food again and it made me so much more confident in who I was.

After a while, I became more interested in the other benefits that came from vegetarianism. I knew that it helped the environment, but I wasn't sure how. After some research and a paper for one of my college classes, I realized how a plant-based diet hugely benefits personal and global health. I am stoked to understand how my personal life choice can benefit our Earth on a larger scale.

For example, it takes between 2000 and 800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, whereas it takes 302 gallons of water to produce one pound of tofu.

Oats, plants, and other plants also take much less water to produce similar yields. It is also widely known that cattle hugely contribute to CO2 and atmospheric pollution. This is only a snapshot of how a plant-based diet can positively impact the environment.

However, I also know that everyone on the planet only eating veggies isn't a good idea. And it isn't going to happen anytime soon. Growing up in Montana has shown me the important role that wild game can play for families. Without hunting, my family wouldn't have a full freezer and they rely on meat to keep them through the winter. Most hunters I know eat as much as they can of the animals they kill and practice good sportsmanship.

Hunting also brings families and friends together every year and can be a social event.

I also worked on a ranch last year, where my second day of work consisted of butchering 40 chickens. The ranch I worked at relies on their poultry, beef, and pork sales as a large amount of their profit.

Killing animals is a part of their livelihood.

I fully understand that the meat industry is a huge part of the economy and getting rid of it would cause many people to lose their jobs and homes. There are entire islands out there that only exist because of their fishing villages and exports. I support cruelty-free lives for animals, but I am aware of the amount of effort, time, and work that fishermen, farmers, and ranchers put into their animals and most of them do their very best.

I get a lot of comments for being a vegetarian.

Sometimes I get upset by it, especially since it's got a huge story behind my choice to start eating plant-based. Usually, though, I laugh it off. My dad used to think that it was just a phase (he still tries to convince me to eat steak). A lot of people think that I am going to try to convert them to my vegetarian faith and go ape-shit on them and shove carrots down their throats. Some people think that I've been brainwashed.

Being a vegetarian isn't some weird, cult belief that I have. It's just one little part of me and it's how I choose to eat. So, before you call me a "crazy vegan" or saying that I am a granola, rabbit-food-eating, hippie, maybe you should ask me a little more about the subject.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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