Thank you for explaining your thoughts further. It sounds like you pay close attention to your diet. Being vegetarian does not necessarily equate to health as you have observed, as one can be vegan and only eat oreos and potato chips! I think eating meat is being conflated with animal suffering. In older times people killed their own meat, so had more control over how this was done and how the animals were bled. It today's society this function is largely outsourced, so we can't be guaranteed of either. Your story about the Filipino brother proves my point - different cultures value different animals as 'edible' or not, but does this random hierarchy exist in God's eyes? Why would you not eat a dog? Why do those in India not eat cows? Or middle eastern countries pig? It is a cultural perception, but Jehovah's love of his creation is over-arching beyond 'arbitrary' culture. Since becoming vegetarian it has perplexed me how the JW org is totally culturally blind and ethno-centric to the western culture. Very few Muslims or Hindus would be attracted to the biblical message when so many JWs casually eat meat, just as if a US citizen were living in the Philippines or China they would likely be distracted by the message of any religion that bbq'ed cats or dogs. The more loving universal appeal would be to encourage a diet that jehovah originally meant for humans in the garden of eden (not post-flood when vegetation was more scarce). If you're of the belief that killing animals for food was part of Jehovah's original plan for humans then eating meat today is consistent with that belief. If one is of the belief that killing was not part of God's original arrangement in the biblical description in the Garden of Eden and the Isaiah description of return to paradise, then giving consideration as to why he made the exception and what current conditions today are similar or dissimilar is worthy of pondering on a deeper more spiritual level.It is interesting that the vegetarians that I know, most times really, are not a fan of real vegetables outside of rice and potatoes. They often don’t eat broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, which I do eat and love. In fact, what they often eat are over-processed vegetables that are formed and flavored to look and taste like meat. Go figure. My goal is to keep the food that I eat in the same form that Jehovah provided it, with the exception of bread, which is my downfall. In other words, I want my food with as little processing as possible. If you go overboard regarding animals where will it stop? Plants actually sing and scream too. It’s just that human ears can’t hear it but they do have ways to measure the plant sounds. They also are living things. So, for me, I draw the line where Jehovah put it and that is that he gave animals to humans for food in the same way that he gave vegetation to them.
In my neighborhood we have feral cats. I am the meat-eater who organized a non-profit to come out and spay and neuter the cats and helped them catch the cats and donated a trap to them. The vegetarians in my neighborhood didn’t do that. We didn’t get all of the cats but we got most. And, I feel so sorry for the cats that I feed them everyday and go to the grocery store 2 X’s a week to buy food for them at substantial cost to me. I love animals and have no problem caring for them. But still they have a place in Jehovah’s creation and I respect that and I am thankful for his provision of meat. I actually have many reasons that eating meat doesn’t bother my conscience but it isn’t something that I choose to promote because each person can read what the bible says for themselves on this topic. I am not trying to convince anyone to eat meat or not eat meat, I just get irritated when someone tries to shame me and inputs bad motives to me, such as not respecting the sanctity of life. That is way off base and slanderous.
In Hawaii we have Filipino brothers and sisters and a Filipino brother who was an Elder before the vax killed him. He told me that he ate dog when he was in the Philippines. Would I ever eat a dog? No, I would not but I didn’t correct that brother because it isn’t my business and I don’t want to be master over anyone’s faith. I myself have eaten exotic animals, like crocodile, ostrich, buffalo, venison, rabbit. It’s important to respect each one’s conscience and to not shame anyone with our own personal extrapolation of the scriptures. Like the first century, I think we should pay attention to the necessary things and the other things will fall into place when Jehovah makes correction.