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"vegetarian manner of living would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind" Ignorance = Bliss

beccagrapevines 2 / 3 1  
Oct 29, 2014   #1
Hi! I am submitting this essay to 2 schools: to one it needs to be shortened (maximum 4000 characters) and for one there is no limit. It would be helpful if you all could help me find bits to take out, as well as parts to put in for the other school without a limit.

Prompt: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?[

Ignorance Is Bliss

Albert Einstein once stated, "It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind." Meat is a staple that most of us expect on our plates on a daily basis, yet typically regret to ponder the process undergone to get there and the outcomes of its production. After considerable reflection, I decided to look past the popular yet mostly uninformed opinion of those around me. By doing this, I was able to form the judgment that eating meat did not fit into my values nor my health expectations and as a result, I made the decision to become a vegetarian.

About five years ago, I came across a video online which exposed the harsh realities of factory farms. This sparked my interest and encouraged me to further research the issue. The results I found were shocking; each year in the United State alone, ten billion animals living in awfully unkempt and crowded conditions are slaughtered. Government regulations initiated for factory farms are often ignored, causing unnecessary suffering and pain for these neglected animals. Studies have shown that domesticated farm animals such as pigs and cows show similar levels of intelligence as animals that people consider pets, such as cats and dogs. They rely on others to do the work for them and are content with ignoring the history of the food on their plate. I, however, choose to accept the fact that these measures are present and choose to not enjoy what I consider to be blissful ignorance. Discovering these unappetizing truths about the production of meat was the main factor toward my decision to disregard the majority and to consume a meat-free diet.

Being a vegetarian does not only fit my personal morals, but also fits the type of healthy lifestyle I would ideally like to live. Another major reason I decided to become a vegetarian was due to all of the health benefits that it brings. Compared to meat eaters, vegetarians have a thirty-two percent lower risk of developing ischemic heart disease, along with healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Vegetarianism is also believed to prevent other diseases. For example, gout, a disease that many wealthy, meat-indulging historical figures have been notorious for, is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood which is often caused by uric acid-causing purines in red meats. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is now rumored to have gout as a result of his indulgent lifestyle, which likely includes considerably large amounts of meat. An argument often made in opposition to vegetarianism is that meat provides important nutritional values that cannot be derived from anywhere else, yet there are many protein and vitamin rich vegetables available for our consumption. I personally see no negative consequences regarding my health as a result from engaging in a vegetarian diet.

No matter how drastic measures are made regarding the production of meat, I will continue to hold my stance on maintaining a vegetarian diet. Being a vegetarian not only benefits myself, but also betters others around me and the environment that we share. According to scientists, an area equivalent to seven football fields is bulldozed each minute, with the majority of the land being cleared being to create crops to feed the growing over-population of livestock. Subsequently, every vegetarian saves about 1 acre of trees each year. Along with the land demolished for over-population, these copious amounts of animals, particularly the livestock sector of cows, are responsible for eighteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. The methane emitted from the livestock is harmful to our ozone layer, and if there was not such a high demand for the meat of these animals, our world could be a healthier place for us all to live in.

The popular choice around the world to eat meat is one that I personally do not agree with, and is a belief that I will continue to testify against for the remainder of my life, which I hope to be one of well-being as a result of my healthy diet choices. If more people were aware of the harsh realities and consequences that result from eating meat, I believe that a large majority would share my contrary opinion. The moral, health and environmental factors that result from being a vegetarian are significant reasons why I believe that a meat-free diet is most beneficial. As Isaac Singer, a great American innovator once put it, "People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times."
lightjade 1 / 15 12  
Oct 29, 2014   #2
Hi Rebecca,

Firstly, I admire your choice for being a vegetarian; despite being a tree-hugger of sorts, I never had the willpower to make the switch. It's an interesting belief to challenge, but from this essay, I can only infer that you're somewhat attuned to global issues of animal cruelty and environmentalism. This essay didn't tell me much about you, and I'm afraid that it's bordering on an expository essay (with facts, figures, quotes and all). As a disclaimer though, I'm probably your age and so I don't have a world of admissions wisdom behind me, but I hope I can help you a bit.

I think you need to approach your vegetarian lifestyle with a more personal angle. As I'm reading your essay, I'm picturing two friends who made the switch to veggies, and they both are sweet as pie. Are you someone who loves animals and the environment enough to cut off glorious protein off your diet? Or are you an assertive crusader of the herbivore cause, making your statement to be a vegetarian not just to change your own lifestyle, but for others? In short, hash out what drove you to change and how this is reflective of your personality.

Also, if you weren't born and raised to be a vegetarian, I'm sure there were some initial struggles. You could make a humorous anecdote on how you craved the 16oz T-bone steak, or how your friends were eating a scrumptious burger right before you. The best way to a man (or woman's heart, in my case) is FOOD. The more you awaken the senses through your essay, the more drawn in the reader will be. Then, tie it back down to your strength/willpower to stick to the regime for a greater good.

These facts and figures are great because it shows that you are a girl who knows your stuff, but take the edge of its expository angle and again, weave it into your story. Show how it appalls you that millions of livestock are killed each day, how football fields of lush rainforest are cut down for the sake of fast food burger patties, and how the production of meat has led to so much excess.

Finally, end strong. Not with a quote from some great thinker, but some witty sentence from YOU. It will be more memorable than a quote, but for that sucker-punch ending to come out, it has to tie into how the rest of your essay is written.

All the best!

Lightjade (Jamie L)

P.S. - If you're free, could you do me the favor of helping my own thread? I'd really appreciate it!
vangiespen - / 4,134 1449  
Oct 29, 2014   #3
Rebecca, this is not an essay that answers the prompt. You are being asked to address an issue that affects you or mankind directly. Instead of sounding like you are challenging the idea that eating meat is bad when compared to vegetarianism, you instead come across looking like you are preaching and trying to convert the reader instead. There is no real issue here that you are addressing which is of valuable impact to the world or yourself. Instead, you offer information about the evils of meat eating and how it affects human health. There is nothing in the essay that shows that you are trying to help spread the positive word about vegetarianism. Instead, you sound like you wrote an argument essay instead. Not once did you mention how you are helping to change the misconception people have about vegetarians. Instead, you tell us that you hold steadfast to your belief about vegetarianism. One thing is clear though, you will make the same decision should be be given a chance to live your life again. So the problem with the essay is that you are arguing instead of presenting your stance.

By the way, it is important that you write two essays for the two schools since one has a word limit and the other one does not. That way you can tailor your answers to best suit the prompt provided. So you need to tell us which essay you want to perfect first, the word limited one or the unlimited one. It is quite obvious that this one is for the unlimited version. Which is why it is too long and arguable in stance rather than informative. Try not to argue with the admissions officer, just present your ideas in a way that does not offend the meat eaters if possible. Remember, you need to be politically correct in application essays more than you need to insist that your stance is the right one. Just a word of caution there :-)

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