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Some teens have a beef with vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is a hot and often sensitive subject of bickering at West High School.

Teens are quick to judge others based on their eating habits alone, regardless of the personal nature of the decision and the varied reasons teens make the choices they do.

Here, several teens speak out about the motives behind their dietary habits:

"I'm giving up meat for Lent, both for health reasons and as a personal challenge." — Alex Headman, senior

"I stopped eating meat three weeks ago to help my sister start her diet. I've lost weight, too, which is a plus." — Richard Higgins, junior

"I eat meat because it's good for me. It has been proven anthropologically that meat is necessary in the proper digestive processes of human beings. It also prevents wearing of the teeth and keeps cows from taking over the world." — Brian Nmezi, senior

"Compassion is a lifestyle I choose to follow, which includes not sacrificing the lives of other animals to give me the nutrition I can fulfill by other means." — Raleigh Briggs, senior

"I'm vegetarian, but I think it's important for everyone to make their own choices. It's a very personal thing, and I don't think one person can make that choice for everyone." — Kristen Robbins, senior

"I was vegetarian for nine years, but it wasn't for environmental reasons. It was because I didn't like meat. I started eating meat again because of protein issues."— Ben Nimkin, sophomore

"I'm vegetarian because I think meat is yucky. The idea of eating it turns me off. I also do it for economical reasons; it takes less land to raise crops than it does to raise meat, and there are better ways to use it." — Emily Knaphus, senior

"I eat meat because it's good. Why wouldn't I eat meat? What's to hold me back?" — Peter Lelis, senior

"I eat meat because I don't believe animals are sentient. They're here for eatin'!" — Michelle Pace, senior

"I eat meat because it's convenient and also because of my background. It's part of who I am. I understand that there are health and environmental reasons not to eat meat, but I don't share those views." — Karen Thomas, senior

Kat Johnson, a junior at West High School, says she's a hybrid vegetarian; she gave up most meat both for health and economic reasons but continues to eat fish for protein and nutrition.