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You Are What You Eat





View from a Vegetarian:
Animals Are Friends, Not Food
Author: Maricela Alejo





I became a vegetarian because Iím concerned for the 
animals and the way they are killed. In non-vegetarian 
families, some children may decide to become a 
vegetarian because of concern for animals, the 
environment, or their own health. I love animals and 
donít like seeing them hurt. 

There are many reasons why people decide to become 
vegetarians. Many people decide to do it for their 
health; they want to be in better shape. I became a 
vegetarian when I watched the news and saw how some 
chickens were wrongly killed because they thought they 
had some weird disease. Spraying them with large 
amounts of water killed them. It was later found out 
that they didnít have any disease at all. I also saw 
pigs killed by being hit in the head with a metal 
object.

Vegetarianism is the theory or practice of living on a 
diet made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and 
sometimes eggs or dairy products. There are different 
kinds of vegetarians that include:

  - Ovo-Vegetarian: eats eggs; no meat
  - Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: eats dairy and egg products;
    no meat
  - Lacto Vegetarian: eats dairy products; no eggs or 
    meat
  - Vegan: eats only food from plant sources

Other categories include pesco vegetarian, eats fish, 
but no other meat; and pollo vegetarian, eats poultry 
but no other meat. If you want to be a vegetarian make 
sure you eat from all the right food categories.

Being a vegetarian is a big step, and it may take hard 
work for some people, but it didnít for me. At first I 
got tempted and felt like if I took a little bite of 
meat it wouldnít hurt, and I could start all over 
again. But, you also have to think of the promise you 
made not to eat meat no matter what. 

While you are looking at meat, do you ever think about 
where it came from? A lot of factory farms own sheep, 
chickens, pigs, and cows. These animals suffer so much 
that they are better off in the wild. They are forced 
to live in tiny cages where they canít move. These 
animals suffer from an intense boredom so severe that 
it can lead to self-mutilation, and also to self-
destructive behavior. Worst of all, they are 
slaughtered with no regard or guilt. 

Laboratory animals are also in severe pain. They canít 
stand being in their cages, and they lose their mind 
and the will to live. They are tested with 
medications, make-up, and perfume that give them 
severe effects mentally and physically.

I often get teased about being a vegetarian. People 
may think itís stupid, and they might think, "Who 
cares about animals?" My brother and cousins have 
often teased me with names like "hippie." I get mad, 
but I try to control myself. The only thing I care 
about is knowing that Iím doing something right, that 
makes me happy and helps save animals.

You might think that you have to eat meat to stay 
healthy. According to the animal rights group People 
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), studies 
have shown that vegetarians have lower cholesterol 
than meat eaters; they also have fewer cases of heart 
disease. High consumption of meat and dairy products 
can lead to diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, clogged 
arteries, obesity, asthma, and impotence.

Sometimes the hardest part of being a vegetarian is 
eating all vegetables. I sometimes get bored of them 
and wish I could eat some meat. It isnít really that 
hard at home because my mom cooks vegetable soup, 
beans, and lentils. But, then I come to think that a 
vegetarian really is someone who likes eating 
vegetables.

Slavery and racism were encouraged by society, and now 
they are morally wrong. Today our society encourages 
meat eating and factory farming, but that doesnít mean 
itís right. Being a vegetarian is my personal choice. 
For more information about vegetarianism and animal 
treatment, check out The Vegetarian Resource Group 
www.vrg.org and PETA www.peta.org.