Over the years I've heard (and seen) others say that if you're going to be a "good Pagan" you need to be vegan or vegetarian at least. Many believe the "harm none" requires one to not harm animals either... Which I completely agree with - to a point. I would never condone animal abuse, dog or cock fights or locking a dog in the car or anything like that BUT, at the same time, I love burgers! So, how is it that I can say I'm Pagan, I love nature, I see the Gods in everything and then turn around and eat an animal... Well, to me it's simple - Humans, are in fact animals.
Now, before you get upset, think back to fourth grade science. Remember how everything on earth was classified as plant, animal or mineral? Well, guess what, we aren't minerals!
So, since we are animals, we are spiritually equal to them... We are no better or worse, no higher or lower... We are animals. And like animals our bodies are made a certain way, and that way includes eating meat. Think again, fifth grade this time - back to when you learned about carnivores and herbivores... Well, if you remember there was a third classification as well - Omnivore! You and I, we're omnivores!
At this point many will say, we CHOOSE what we eat, and we don't have to be omnivorous... We can choose to be herbivores if we want to... But in reality, we can't. We can choose not to eat meat, but biologically, we are in fact still omnivores. We are still made to eat both flora and fauna... The proof is in the teeth!
What do I mean the proof is in the teeth? Do you remember nothing of elementary school? Animals are classified as herbivore, carnivore or omnivore by their teeth. Those who have teeth meant solely for eating plants have flat "grinders," think cow teeth, while those meant to eat meat have sharp "cutters" think wolf... We have BOTH!
So what the hell am I going on about... Well, what it all boils down to is this... I love and respect nature. And nature made me the way I am. So I feel to not use my body the way it's meant to be used is in fact going against my own beliefs and dishonoring nature.
Of course I think we can still make smart choices about how and what we eat. Just because I believe in eating meat doesn't mean we need to eat hormonally altered, force-fed, abused cows when we want a burger. And in fact I don't believe we EVER should! I'm all for free range, hormone & antibiotic free farms. If it were up to me we would get some wild game every year and stop eating beef altogether in this house - but my extremely picky husband hates the smell of it and won't let me cook it at all...
Anyways, here's my final thought on the subject... Don't let anyone tell you that you're not a "good Pagan" because you enjoy a burger. If you want to eat meat, eat meat! And finally, support farms and groups who treat their animals properly - it's better for you and for them!