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For my highschool Rotary Club, people who want to become officers next year had to write an essay about a decision we had to make using the four-way test. For those not familiar with the four-way test, it is four questions you ask yourself when making a decision to make sure you are making the right one. The questions are:

1) Is it the truth?

2) Is it fair to all concerned?

3) Will it build good will and better friendships?

4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

So I wrote this essay, and here it is. Please tell me what you think:

The Four-Way Test Essay

Like most children growing up, I was an animal lover. I loved every type of animals, with fur, feathers, or scales. Anything that crawled, slithered, or flew, I was fascinated by animals. Ive always begged my parents to get a dog, but I had to settle for small animals such as fish and birds and hamsters. Regardless, I had a passion for them nonetheless. I would read about them, and learned how they interacted with their habitats. As I grew older and knew better, I was saddened by how humans have damaged the environment for their own benefits. I cried over bulldozers destroying a local forest for development, I was appalled at the extent of pollution of the Chesapeake Bay area, angered over the destruction of the rainforest, but most of all, I was frustrated at how little I could do about it. I knew that I wanted to become an environmentalist; I revered nature and all the creatures that walk this earth.

Then, I became devastated when I discovered an inconvenient truth. In my middle school years, I found out how meat was produced. Mostly from PETA websites, I read how animals suffered in factory farms, and how they spend their entire lives in pain and suffering, ending with a brutal death at the slaughterhouse. Before, I didnt think twice about the meat I was eating, and although I was not a meat fanatic, I did enjoy the occasional steak. The information on the truth of how my steaks were produced tugged at my heartstrings. I wanted to give up meat for the rest of my life. This was a life changing decision that I had to make, and when I proposed it to my parents, they were very against it. They firmly believed that I needed meat to grow strong, and that I needed it to provide adequate nutrition. I did not know how to become vegetarian without my parents support, so I dutifully obeyed them and tried to forget.

But I could not forget. When I entered high school, I reeducated myself and read a lot of information about animal cruelty. Not only did I learn the horrendous practices in producing pork, beef, and poultry, but also how eggs and milk were produced, along with fish and game. Cows, pigs, and chickens used for meat were fattened on hormone and antibiotic pumped foods. They lived in unnatural and filthy conditions, where the wellbeing of animals was sacrificed to increase profits. Many animals never get to practice their natural behaviors, such as grazing, or even feeling the warmth of the sun. Hens used for producing eggs live out their entire lives cramped in tiny cages, with the sole purpose of producing unnatural amounts of eggs until they are exhausted and are no use for the industry. Dairy cows are also pumped on hormones, and are constantly kept pregnant so they can continue producing milk, milk that is meant for their calves. Male calves are no use to the industry, so they are slaughtered at a young age for veal. Fish captured at sea result in catching a lot of other sea creatures that get dragged into the nets as well, including treasured sea turtles. Unwanted fish are then tossed back into the ocean. In addition to the exploitation of animals, the practice has also greatly harmed the environment. For example, filthy runoff from farms can pollute nearby water sources, and diseases such as mad cow disease and bird flu can mutate in the crowded conditions and cause a pandemic in human populations. How could I possibly continue to consume meat, and use animal products such as milk and eggs? How could I support such inhumane practices of the meat industries that do not care at all for the well being of their animals, and only care about increasing their profits?

This was when I knew I had to make the choice to avoid using animal products. In making my decision, I applied the four-way test to justify my choice of action. First of all, I had to make sure if it was the truth. Undeniably, many animals are treated as I have mentioned earlier. There are many documentaries that give an inside look in a typical factory farm, or slaughterhouse and the animals there do indeed live in grim conditions. However, the façade of animals happily living on a farm with rolling green pastures that they have taught us since kindergarten is a lie. Then I go on to ask myself if it is fair to all concerned. Without a doubt, it is fair for the exploited animals because I am giving them a voice that would otherwise be unheard. With my refusal in using animal products, I am hopefully promoting the animal rights movement. My parents are also concerned in my decision, so I have to ask myself if it is fair for them, since they are the ones who feed me. My mother, especially, since she cooks the meals, did not feel it was fair that she had to take extra care in preparing meals without meat. However, I was willing to cook vegetarian meals for myself, so I believe that I am justified in that aspect. Another question in the four-way test was will it build good will and better friendships? Becoming vegetarian is my way of showing kindness to animals, so yes, my decision will build good will. I wish to live in harmony with animals and nature, and I do not believe I can do so by consuming the flesh of animals, which I consider to be comrades. Finally, the last question of the four-way test, would it be beneficial to all concerned? Yes, it will be beneficial to animals that I choose not to consume. No, it will not be beneficial to the meat industries, in not supporting them. Yes, it will benefit my peers because my choice may prompt them to consider animals as well. And last of all, I would benefit from vegetarianism because a plant-based diet can be much healthier than one with meat.

In conclusion, I have made my decision to choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle. I am positive that I have made the right decision using the four-way test and all the benefits outweigh all the inconveniences of being a compassionate consumer.

It's not perfect, kind of sappy, but what the heck, I

did it in one night, the day before it was due.

Actually, the day before the EXTENDED due date, so

heh. I didn't really have the time to make my speech

the best it could be, but hey, I need to sleep

I hope this can move people who read/hear my speech :happy:

5,229 Posts
I think it's good!... And not just because I agree with your points, either... for example, if I had written it, the style would have been different. But you can reach people with your style of communicating whom I would not be able to convince.

It definitely passes the 4-way test, acknowledging that the meat industry would be adversely impacted by your decision. (Hmmm... a thought... a few years ago, I saw a labor union publication decrying the bad working conditions which meat packing plant employees had to endure.)

I forgot to mention- happy veggiversary (11 days late)
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