A couple months ago I posted a blog entry called “A Moment for the Pigs.” It was so popular that I decided to do a similar post focusing on a different animal that is treated as a commodity in our society today.
Meet: The Cow
The question we all need to be asking ourselves is:
Are the more than just a number and an item our plate?
Make the connection. Is it worth it?
They want to live. But it’s not up to them. It’s up to us.
It’s funny… when I was little I had no idea meat came from real live animals. I though it was just named after them. When I found out the truth, I was horrified. I had no idea I had been eating food that had once had a face, had once been alive and full of feeling and emotion. By age eight I had become a vegetarian.
Today I am a vegan.
This is why:
This is not natural. But it is boasted about by the Wisconsin Pork Association!
For all those ham, pork & bacon lovers…
Please take a moment to remember the pigs that died for you.
So many people believe that the treatment of animals in factory farms is unethical but demanding those products and supporting the factory farms and eating the animals is ethical. I don’t understand how supporting something you believe is unethical can be ethical. So I ask: How is this ethical? One common answer I got was this:
“Because if I stopped eating meat, which would take significant effort because I love my meat, I’m not convinced it would make a difference. Slaughterhouses would still exist and animals would still be treated in those ways. There are billions of meat-eaters in the world supporting the factory farming industry, and I don’t believe one person giving up meat will make any difference in the grand scheme of things.”
This belief in the powerlessness of individual actions is terribly daunting. It is this very frame of mind that will stunt change and progress in our society by excusing people from acting according to their ethical beliefs. I couldn’t find a good way to explain how one person’s actions can make a surprisingly significant impact (especially by becoming a vegetarian or vegan, considering the average American consumes 99 animals a year, and the meat industry loses money on producing excess meat so they aim to produce the minimum amount to meet the demand). But I found it. I just came across a story that demonstrates the impact small actions can have…impact that is too often overlooked. The story goes like this:
One day a man was taking a sunrise walk along a beach. In the distance he caught sight of a young woman who seemed to be dancing along the waves. As he got closer he saw that the young woman was actually not dancing, but picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.
“What are you doing?” the man asked.
“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out; if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But young woman, there are miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it–you can’t possibly make a difference.”
The young woman bent down, picked up another starfish, and placed it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves.
“It made a difference for that one,” she replied.
This story describes perfectly an incredible phenomenon: as single individuals it is very hard to make a big impact on the “greater scheme of things,” but it is unbelievably easy to have an enormous impact on the life of other individuals. Now, this impact can be good or it can be bad, it can be purposeful or passive or even subconscious, it can mean almost nothing to you but the world to someone else.
(Story compliments of Animals in our Hearts )
“Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
“All beings Tremble before violence. All fear death, all love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt?
“I don’t have any understanding of a human being who doesn’t respect the beauty of life and that goes for all creatures that have thoughts, feelings, and needs.”
“To be a vegetarian is to disagree–to disagree with the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars–we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it’s a strong one.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer
“I tremble for my species when I reflect that god is just”
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is–whether its victim is human or animal–we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.
“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer
Life can be deeply enriched by compassion, love, respect, trust, and tolerance.
Why is it that animals have embraced these concepts while man has cast them aside? Man claims dominion and prides in dominance, and that may well be. But is the slaughter of those less powerful than ourselves really the way to happiness?