Ok, you got me: I don't really "hate" vegetarians. Certainly not all of them, at least. Perhaps it's closer to the mark to suggest that vegetarians - specifically, ethical vegetarians - annoy the bejeebers out of me. If meat gives you the grumbellies and hours of gastric distress, more power to you; eat all the vegetables you want. I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about people with the well-meaning but misguided notion that by eating the flesh of other animals, we are somehow abusing our position at the top of the food chain and performing acts of cruelty on our animal neighbors.
My response, predictably enough to those who know me, is: bullshit.
We are animals. Animals eat animals. This has been going on for roughly the same amount of time as there have been animals. Just because the lion kills the gazelle with claw and mandible, and we do it with cunning and opposable thumb, that does not mean there's a great difference. And yes, you could make the argument that lions eat gazelles because there's nothing else to eat, but I get the feeling that even if kibble were readily available on the Serengeti plain, they'd go back to gazelle because it's just so goddamn yummy.
The cunning and opposable thumb I referenced earlier make it possible for people to buy or trade for food in this enlightened society without directly having to hunt for it themselves. Firstly, do we not also see this behavior in ant and bee colonies? When was the last time a queen had to scrounge for her own food?
Secondly, the vegetarians will point to slaughterhouses and offer them as concrete evidence as man's ultimate cruelty to the creatures they will eventually be eating. Now, it is certainly true that a tour of a slaughterhouse should only be performed by those of strong stomach; you are surrounded by recently slaughtered livestock, whose gutted bodies heat and humidify the building in a way that can be quite literally sickening. The animals are sent on a line where they're quickly (and humanely) killed, whereupon an employee underneath the line guts the animal from chin to anus. From there, it only gets grimmer.
I would not want that job, to be sure. But the meat industry doesn't just have to feed you. It has to feed a country of 300 million people, and a world of 5.5 billion. They don't have the luxury of taking ol' Bessie out back and kissing her neck gently before shooting her. Besides, what did you think happens when you transform a cow on the hoof to a slab of meat on styrofoam in your grocery store? If the slaughterhouse didn't do it, you'd have to. And there's nothing wrong with that. Do you have a rice paddy in your back yard? No. You go to the store and you buy a box of Uncle Ben's. No difference.
Our teeth are made for ripping meat; our digestive system is designed to digest meat; we are omnivores. Lookit: if the Good Lord didn't want us to eat meat, He wouldn't have made it so yummy. Ethical vegetarians just don't know what they're talking about. Period.