Have you ever stopped to consider what's on your dinner plate? For 28 years I didn't connect the dots. Eating farm animals didn't phase me. Which is crazy since I have been working in food since the age of 15. Back in 2007, I literally put a preserved pig "puzzle" together in order to learn the different cuts of pork. I wasn't saddened by this at the time, just grossed out. So what has changed? Honestly, I think I just grew up and started thinking about the welfare of other living beings and not solely about myself.
In 2010 a colleague and friend introduced me to the word "vegan". I had never heard this word before. Quite frankly, it sounded like a disease that I didn't want to catch. After doing a little investigating into what vegan meant and studying the various motivations why one would adapt such a strict lifestyle, it started to make sense. Around the same time I adopted Maya, a domestic tuxedo kitten whom I fell madly in love with.
Maya is an emotional being and I consider her my friend. I could never hurt her and if anyone ever tried to lay a finger on her, they would have a problem with me. I'm sure you feel the same way about your pet or other cats and dogs.
My new-found love and awareness of a vegan or plant-based diet got me thinking about what was on my dinner plate each night. Why is it okay that I eat various farm animals; chickens, cows, turkey's, pigs but not Maya or other cats? Is it because it's not culturally acceptable in America to eat dogs and cats? It is in parts of South Asia.
What's the difference really?
I have been to farms and have seen how smart pigs are and how sociable cows can be when they are free to roam about. Did they not feel emotional connection to other living beings like Maya does? Do they not fear death? I know they do. So why am I eating them?
Having visited a handful of the nations largest meat packing plants, I saw first hand the filth and conditions in which our meat was raised and produced. I was not amused. As a matter of fact, I was disgusted. Eating farm animals didn't sound so appealing after all, but I still wasn't convinced.
I needed to learn more. So I read Food Revolution by John Robbins and Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer. Both books are easy to read and are not offensive. I highly recommend them if you want to educate yourself on the food industry and the animals we call food.
As I read, I became enraged. I felt cheated. I didn't know it was that bad. The truth about the greed and lies the dairy industry tells us particularly rocked me.
The strong emotions that were jolting through my body motivated me to do more digging. I needed to learn more. I went on youtube and discovered horrific videos of what the dairy industry was really like. This one in particular at Land O' Lakes really got to me. Suddenly I found myself drowning in tears, feeling helpless and alone. I needed to do something. So I gave up meat and dairy, started supporting animal rights organizations and I started this blog.
I challenge you today to do a little investigating on where the meat and dairy you feed yourself and your family truly comes from. 99% of America's meat is raised in factory farms. Google factory farming and I bet you wont be too eager to indulge in that bowl of ice cream tonight.
It never clicked until recently, but I'm grateful it did. It just makes sense. I no longer eat animals. They are my friends. Maya showed me that.
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