I tried to give up eating meat twice in high school. It always seemed like something I would give up, even though in high school who I thought I was was always shifting. Some things solidified early, and I always cried for hurt horses in war movies, ignoring their fallen riders. I couldn’t watch The Never Ending story because of poor Artex, sinking in the sand because he couldn’t think of a happy memory. I would have gladly sacrificed gangly Atrayou with his fast eyes and shrill voice.
In college I finally gave it up completely after watching a video in an ethics course called “Meet Your Meat.” In a room full of people I cried on the communal desk tops as cows throats were slashed and pigs were chased with metal poles. Pigs can’t lie or steal. Maybe they do sit in the sun and fail to contribute to consumerism or choosing the next president, but that just makes them more likable and innocent.
After years of trying in vain to get up meat I went home and threw a plastic wrapped pound of ground chuck into the garbage. Spaghetti with meat sauce used to be my favorite, but now I can look a cow right in the soulful black eyes. Suddenly it was easy not to eat meat. I’m not sure it was just the movie, maybe the timing. Meat stopped seeming like something to eat and more like a thing. It doesn’t repulse me, but it’s not edible.