Why We Stopped Being Vegetarians A butcher, hunter, and rancher discuss the ethics of eating animals By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 20, 2011 2:25 PM CST 125 comments Comments In this Oct. 6, 2011 photograph, a small herd of cows crosses the road at Mauthe's Progress Dairy Farm on their way to the milking barn in Progress, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Newser) – For long stretches of their lives, Nicolette Niman, Tovar Cerulli and Joshua Applestone were all vegetarians or vegans. Now, they’re a rancher, a hunter, and a butcher, respectively, who “firmly believe food from animals can be healthful, environmentally appropriate, and ethical,” they write in the Atlantic. Their stories: Nicolette: She became vegan “after hearing that beef was deforesting the Amazon,” but eventually “learned that animals were essential to sustainable farms.” They increase soil fertility and convert otherwise inedible vegetation and uncultivated land into food. Tovar: He became a vegan after listening to Buddhist teachings, but eventually “realized that all food has its costs. From habitat destruction to combines that inadvertently mince rabbits … crop production is far from harmless.” What matters, he decided, “wasn’t what we ate, but how that food came to our plates.” Joshua: He was a vegetarian until he met his wife and opened a meat company. “Once I saw how the meat we were selling had been raised, and met the farmers who were striving to raise animals sustainably … I realized I didn’t have a problem with meat. I had a problem with the inhumane practices of the commercial meat industry." For more on their conclusions, and the concerns that still pervade commercialized meat, read the full article.