I was aware of the cruelty inflicted on animals for the sake of our own unnecessary benefit and I’m ashamed to say I chose to ignore it. I chose to ignore it because it was easier for me to eat what was so accessible and I thought it would be a hassle to change my ways. That my personal actions were unlikely to make much of a difference and as many do I thought I’d have to live on lettuce and lentils and never have a decent meal again.. but was I wrong and if you think this way, then sorry.. but so are you.
Maybe 4 or so years ago I ended up watching (I say watching tentatively because I couldn’t get through 20 minutes of it without sobbing uncontrollably) a documentary that ultimately changed my life. Earthlings.
It broke my heart, it made me sick, it made my skin crawl and my blood boil, it made me want to do something, it made me change my ways. I realized that you truly cannot profess to be an animal lover if you still eat them. And so..
I did it for my health, for the animals, for the environment, for the planet.
For a while after seeing that I kept looking at my dog who we rescued from the pound and kept thinking “how are you really any different to them?. Her “expiry date” was overdue and she had very little time left to find a home. We took her in knowing she would have died there – we just couldn’t let it happen. Now she’s my pride and joy and makes me so happy. But I also knew pigs have a higher intelligence than dogs and made wonderful companions, so really.. why is my beloved house pet any different to the cattle on their way to slaughter?
It’s frowned upon to eat dog meat here, inconceivable in fact, and we’re quick to condemn those who do in Korea and other Asian countries. However we eat beef and pork by the truck loads and to some cultures that’s absolutely hedonistic because those animals are sacred to them. So again, how are we any different to those we petition against?
How can you humanely kill or exploit something that doesn’t want to die or give consent?
There are a million reasons why meat sucks.. human health, environmental issues, corruption etc. And please, spare me on your “we have canines, our ancestors ate meat, we need the protein!” – I have used those excuses myself.. and they’re all bullsh*t. So let’s move on.
My main motivation was very clearly the treatment and exploitation of animals. So I my intention is to highlight just some of these and let you do the rest of the homework yourself if it strikes a cord with you.
Let me put it this way – cows are not our mothers so why are we drinking their milk? It’s unnatural for a start.. there is no other adult creature on this planet that consumes milk let alone the milk of another species. And what happens to their babies since we’re getting what they are supposed to thrive from?
Male born calves are taken from their mothers and killed with a bolt gun or slaughters at a few days of because they’re either not profitable (milk) or are better put on someone’s plate (veal). Those mothers cry for their babies for weeks on end, pining and searching for them only to have produce another who will suffer the same. If they don’t and they’re female then they end up growing up to live the same life as their mothers. Forcibly impregnated, bound to suffer painful mastitis, birth complications, beatings, abuse and the heartache of stolen babies just so we can put their milk on our cereal. And when she’s not physically able to cope with birth anymore she’s dragged by tractors to slaughter. There’s no need to keep her anymore.
Chickens can recognize faces and have very complex social relationships and even their own languages. Did you know that? I didn’t. Yet they’re confined to spaces no bigger than a microwave with their beaks seared off so they don’t injure each other under the inevitable stress of having to constantly lay eggs. Stuck in conditions a rat wouldn’t choose to live in and left to die under the weight over their own over-sized bodies.
That being said some are “spared” this existence. As male baby chicks are thrown alive into grinders at a day old or suffocated in plastic bin bags like rubbish simply because they were born the wrong gender. No profit in it.
Piglets.. those adorable little pink things.. are slammed on the ground or stomped on until they die if they are born/end up lame (usually because of inadequate care). Males also have their genitals ripped out by hand without anesthetic.. because medical care is too expensive.
The sows are confined to cages so small they can’t even roll over for their entire lifetime. They can barely feed their babies and are then sent for slaughter because Joe Bloggs wants bacon with their burger. Fair? I don’t think so.
Sheep and lambs are clamped at the temples with electric rods and “stunned” so the “merciful” killing by having their throats cut can be done. They’re usually still conscious and aware, so they’re essentially butchered alive, flailing and bleeding to death hanging from the ceiling. And that’s just because someone fancies a lamb chop for tea. Not to mention that they’re beaten, tortured, slaughtered, restrained and maimed for the sake of wool and profit.
This is just food agriculture. There’s a whole other minefield of sh*t that happens to laboratory tested animals and those that are farmed for their fur, skin, body parts that doesn’t bear thinking about.
It’s just not right. And it’s not fair.
It was actually the easiest decision I’ve ever made and I don’t crave meat, I don’t miss it. I don’t want it. Anytime I have eaten it since, I’ve been violently ill. Hardly a coincidence to me but there we go.
I started my process by being vegetarian and will transition to vegan in the future. I like to think I’m vegetarian with vegan intentions as I try to avoid dairy and animal products as best I can. Yes, some hardcore vegans may scoff at this and say it’s half arsed and give you a dressing down but it’s how I am choosing to help and live my life and I can sleep at night knowing that.
Ultimately I find that my tea and cereal tastes the same with soy milk. My fajitas are just a good with quorn chicken. My burgers are just a juicy and “meaty” with meat free patties. Everything is pretty much the same and I feel better knowing I’m doing my part and nothing died to satiate my taste buds. Because that’s ultimately what it comes down to. We put our taste buds over sentient life and I’m just not okay with that.
And it was a learning curve – but once I knew what to look for, what alternative options I had, where to shop from and how I could adjust my habits.. I really didn’t think twice about it anymore. It’ became second nature to me and it’s so simple once you know how. The market has changed so much to accommodate for it and the number of people demanding it is growing.
For the record I do not condemn, judge or have any kind of disdain for those who do eat meat and animal products. My husband still eats meat, so does most of my family but they respect my choices and I respect theirs. Because it’s THEIR choice to make and I won’t force feed them a lecture they don’t ask for. If they do want to know, then yes I will tell them my views, otherwise it is not for me to comment on.
I just wanted to make my own personal choices kinder which really wasn’t so difficult because I was doing it for the right reasons for me. And if I’m able to direct the attention of just one person to what happens under our nose and have them consider or change their habits even just a little bit, then I’ll be happy knowing I made a small difference.. ♡
[ Make The Pledge ]