It is now painfully clear that nobody reads this blog, even my friends and family. The one regular reader is now a contributor, so this has become a pretty insular discussion. But we'll carry on, even if this blog devolves into something utterly horrifying.
A vegetarian will often be asked, "why are you a vegetarian?" I would counter with the question, "why are you a meat-eater?"
So which group maintains the burden of defense, vegetarians or meat-eaters?
Since vegetarians are a small minority in our society, the burden is usually on vegetarians to say why they are vegetarians. If the majority is doing one thing, it is usually up to the minority to defend why it is doing something else or why it thinks what the majority is doing is wrong.
However, I would argue that the burden of defense is on meat-eaters. Vegetarians are choosing NOT to act; meat-eaters are, whether they think about it or not, choosing to act. Meat-eaters are implicitly accepting that it is OK to eat the flesh of animals. I think the onus should be on meat-eaters to justify that decision. As a vegetarian, I'm going about my life not eating animals (and I'm moving steadily toward veganism, in which I attempt not to hurt or use animals at all). Shouldn't a person choosing to eat an animal that was caged, tortured, miserable, and killed be the one to justify that behavior? Though the fact that animals are eating each other gives me pause, I don't feel the need to justify vegetarianism; I want to hear meat-eaters defend meat-eating.
And go see Borat, which is all that you could hope it would be and more.