I’m excited to announce the launch of my new website and vegan video series, VeganBreak.com!
I’m starting Vegan Break as an attempt to make veganism more accessible to the general public. I’ll be making short videos a couple times a week about all things vegan–vegan products, book and cookbook reviews, cooking, health, nutrition, under-reported food news, and much more! Here is the first episode:
If you’re vegan, thinking about going vegan, or just interested in healthy compassionate eating and living, I hope you will enjoy my website and find my videos helpful!
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.
A close friend asked me a question that I now realize is central to the miscommunication between vegetarians and omnivores. He asked me if I would eat an animal raised on an ‘old-school’ grass farm like that described in the book “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. I responded that although I personally would not eat it because I know I don’t need to and I see no reason to kill needlessly, I am not opposed to the killing and eating of these humanely treated animals. What? Yes, you heard me right:
I am a vegan and I am not opposed to eating meat.
No this isn’t an oxymoron, and no it isn’t rare. It is not meat eating that most vegetarians and vegans are opposed to, but the inhumane treatment of animals while they are alive. I am not opposed to the killing of animals (everyone’s gotta die, right? And it’s rarely pleasant), I’m opposed to infliction of unnecessary suffering. I do in fact support grass farms where animals get to live out lives free from intensive confinement, constant pain, suffering, abuse and neglect before they are killed and eaten.
Why, then, am I a vegetarian?
Unfortunately, 98-99% of the meat in this country is produced through factory farming (Peter Singer, “The Ethics of What We Eat”), so ‘humane’ alternatives are very difficult to find. Truly humane meat is almost impossible to find. Labels such as “free range” “humane certified” “organic” etc. are deceiving and in reality mean very little. “Organic” meat and dairy, for example, often comes from animals that suffer more than non-organic animals, because they are kept in the same conditions but are not given antibiotics and treatment that the others are provided. Ultimately, unless I raised the animals myself or visited the farms I purchased meat from, I could not trust that the animals were humanely raised.
For anyone interested in this subject, I highly recommend the book “The Ethics of What We Eat” by Peter Singer. It’s an eye opener about the meat industry and its relation with this country. It is an incredibly well researched book, and sheds light on the practices and the labels (“free range” “humane certified” “organic” etc.) without being preachy.
“Great Cheese Comes From Happy Cows”
Do you really believe that?
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 )
So this is interesting…
“Since April 15, 2007, pricier, grain-based animal feed (which consumed 40 percent of 2007’s 13 billion bushel U.S. corn crop) has helped hike eggs 46 percent. Got milk? You paid 26 percent more. Conversely, meat prices have dropped, as farmers slaughter animals rather than pay so much to feed them.”
Check out the rest of the article here.
Meat prices may fall… but how much are they worth to you?