Molly asked her blog readers if they are meat-eaters or vegetarian. I've explained my personal stance on meat-eating a number of times to various people, so I thought I'd write it down once and for all for reference. Note that I'm not evangelizing my position; it really doesn't bother me at all when others delight in eating meat or not. In fact, what bothers me the most is proselytizing, so I'll get along much better with a hearty steak-eater than a vegan who vocally thinks everyone else should be too. Are you ready?
I don't eat anything I don't feel I could personally kill.
That's it. It's pretty simple, really. No, the rule is not "...with my bare hands" - implements are allowed. I eat fish because I know that I can respectfully kill a fish to eat it (I've done so, actually, in the last year). I would have no compunction about eating shellfish, because I think they're basically insects. :) Since becoming a diver in the Pacific Northwest, I will never again eat octopus, because they are beautiful, intelligent creatures in person.
I've been accused of being a cute-a-tarian - that is, not eating anything cute - which isn't too far off the mark. I don't generally eat beef, because I think cows are cute. (But they're also generally dumb as posts, so every once in a while I figure the planet's gene pool can use some improvement.) And there's another subtlety - it's mood-dependent. If I've had a bad day, and I'm really mad at the world, I can eat anything I think I could personally kill - so cows, watch out.
I could never personally off a sheep, though, so sadly lamb is out of the question (I used to love to eat lamb). Rabbit is right out (in fact, I adopted this rule around ten years ago when one of our pet bunnies died), not that I was ever a huge (culinary) fan of rabbit. Duck is pretty much out. Chickens, on the other hand, are annoying, so I can munch away (though I don't eat it too often). Turkey, too.
I suppose I end up being 1/3 vegetarian, 1/3 seafood, and 1/3 chicken/turkey-eating. But that doesn't sound as cool as kill-a-tarian.