Behind the curtain

Language has a very powerful effect on our perceptions. This is nothing new, of course, but in this age of instant video and streaming images, it often seems we are more connected to visuals than words. And for many, this may be true, but there is still a lot of power in a word, and words are the foundation of communication.

As a writer, words are my thing, my “thang”, my vibe, my feelz; I’m very conscious of grammar, spelling, and context, how a message is delivered, how it is received. I was the kid who read the cereal box in morning while having breakfast. I didn’t just read it, i read it in DIFFERENT VOICES!

Ok maybe that’s not something you need to know….

What I have noticed as an ARA (Animal Rights Activist) is words really define our relationship to others. ARAs think of non-human animals as persons equal to themselves. That’s the basis of our credo in veganism: no one life is more important or less important than another, especially based on species. In other words, (pun noted), all living beings are equal and deserve the right to live their life as they choose, not be subjugated and oppressed and used by another species.

So simply calling the pigs on the trucks he or she, rather than “it”, emphasizes their equality to us. The same way we call our pets – dogs, cats, etc. our fur babies, our children; the same way we identify to our pets as their mama or papa; the same way we call our different species pets “siblings” to others in our homes, all this brings their legitimacy as family members, not animals, into societal norms. And we’re ok with that – everyone does it. Even non-vegans.

It stands to reason, then, the same would happen with so-called livestock animals or wild animals or marine animals. Humans in general want to keep that demarcation line in place differentiating higher consciousness creatures from alleged lower consciousness creatures so we can justify using them for our own gains. We’d never put our human sister on an auction block when SHE became too old to work; but it’s ok to do that to a horse because IT is a different species. Notice one is a SHE and the other an IT. That is the inherent power of words.

And with great power comes great responsibility, as Spiderman’s Peter Parker Principle states (say that three times fast!)

As ARAs, we make a concerted effort to use appropriate labels on non-human animals, as we do on human animals: he, she or the binary “they” for some. It’s respectful to acknowledge an individual’s personhood, how they identify, who they feel they are; as citizens of the world, most of us wholeheartedly acknowledge these identifiers and label them appropriately.

However, words can also prove to emphasize the emotional disconnect we experience too.

We use words like rapiers, cutting away reality and carving out a whole new perception with only an infinitesimal connection to the original meaning because it’s less offensive, less stark, more PG, just more pleasant. We don’t like nasty stuff. That’s for horror movies on Saturday night, something we can pretend is not really there because we can shut it off before we go to bed.

Really, we are just pulling the wool over our own eyes.

The fact is, we can call it what we want, it is what it is.

Case in point: I’ve noticed an increase in interest in small-scale farms: considered more sustainable, ethical, moral, and beneficial in many ways. Certainly, one could argue at least with regards animal welfare it’s an improvement over factory farming. I mean not much of an improvement but still….it is the latest argument popping up for proponents of eating meat. The animals live pleasant lives in a homey, small farm setting, with fresh air, blue sky and gently rolling hills to meander before they are harvested and processed by the farmer…..wait, what?

What does that mean? Harvested and processed. “We raised Millie the cow from 3 months old, she was basically a member of the family! and my 5 year old son and i just took her to be processed so we can have steak all winter long!”

What the fuck?

The google meaning of processed is:

perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it.”the various stages in processing the wool”

It doesn’t mention stunning the animal with a stun gun, hanging her up on a hook by one leg, slitting her throat, then chopping her into tiny pieces. THAT’s what actually happened to Millie. Yet, the whitewash perpetrated on the butchering of a “family member” has to take place to keep the small scale farm ethical and humane. A neutral, vanilla term such as “processed” keeps the reality hidden from view, so everyone can wander around singing the praises of small scale farms.

In actuality, a sentient, loving girl, (maybe Millie, maybe someone else) was raised alongside other animals, felt connection, safety, security and belonging, only to wake up one day to be horrifically betrayed, terrified, hurt, and ultimately killed in as bloody a manner as is possible, to return home in little brown paper wrapped parcels, only flesh and bone chunks, so her family can chow down on her body with little to no thought about her feelings.

But by using the words “harvested” or “processed” the actuality is glossed over quite effectively to better assuage the conscience of the farmers AND the general public who think purchasing “grass fed” “organic” and “homestead raised” is a better and more humane way to eat meat.

Better or more humane for whom?

The animal still dies a bloody death and what’s even worse, she has been lulled into thinking she was safe, loved, part of a herd, protected. She was oblivious to the fact that the human animals who were raising and protecting her didn’t care about her at all as an individual, but only in so much as what she could provide for them.

Calvin – Black Goat Farm & Sanctuary, Smithville, ON

So I have a word for you. For all of you who use words like “processed” or “harvested” in order to justify supporting an industry replete with cruelty, abuse, murder, and inhumanity; for all of you who try to hide behind the pretty flounces of the curtain of the English language to avoid having to think unpleasant thoughts, who employ the trappings of word magic to effectively eliminate any culpability for the pain and suffering of millions of creatures here on earth.

LIARS.

Plants vs Flesh Eating Zombies

“Plants have feelings too. So if we eat plants, why can’t we eat animals?” At first glance, this seems a legit statement. Science HAS proven plants have “feelings” – of a sort, and well, we all know non-human animals do, so where do vegans go from here? Vegans decry taking a life for our useage, so what the fuck are we supposed to eat based on this rationale?

Most of us understand non-human animals have feelings: they have consciousness, think, feel, have babies with whom they bond, live in communities in which they bond, recognize faces and scents, communicate, and have individual personalities. They are not automatons designed for our personal use and to do our bidding; they are beings in their own right.

this would be your “free range” chicken…..

Plants have been scientifically proven to sense their environment using hormones and sensory ions: they lean into the light for food production, many close up at night when there is no sun to produce food, enabling them to retain moisture. Plants also sense beneficial fungi and work underground through the root systems to connect with plants of the same type to send signals and nutrients back and forth. There is no doubt nature is amazing. However, does this mean the plant has the same sentience as an animal? Science has shown that answer is No.

The main consideration for feeling pain is a central nervous system. Human and non-human animals share this attribute. Plants do not. Plain logic shows animals and plants sentience is different: animals scream, cry and bleed when cut; plants do not. Certainly, modern research has shown plants do have a reaction to being pulled from the earth or off a stem, it is an automatic sensory reaction to a change in their environment. It’s not a feeling of pain or fear, it’s more a chemical reaction to what’s going on in order to adapt to their environment. This has been proven scientifically.

A plant’s life goal is to procreate – that’s it; that’s all. So having a blossom or fruit plucked from a plant, where the seeds will be disseminated elsewhere and germinate and grow to fruition is exactly what it wants. The area where the fruit is plucked from becomes the focus of the plant as it sends enzymes to promote quick healing so it’s food production can be sent to further it’s goal of procreation. That is its reaction to being eaten. Not fear, not bleeding, no screaming.

All this to say: plants want to be eaten! Since pollination, seed dissemination, root upheaval, etc are all vehicles for a plant procreation, being eaten is the fulfillment of their life goal.

Now, they are obviously not rubbing their hands together in glee, chortling at the success of building the prettiest fruit and being chomped on by someone to further their ends of world domination, umm no. Invasion of the Body Snatchers aside, if a plant is eaten, it has fulfilled its raison d’etre – its reason for being: spreading its seeds.

Conversely, non-human animals do NOT want to be eaten. We can tell this, quite simply, by their body language, no science needed. Rolling eyes, crying in terror, running physically away, shaking, vomiting, defecating where they lay/stand – all very obvious signs of fear and distress. Their life goal is NOT being fulfilled by being eaten, because their life goal is to LIVE. Killing an animal will not cause it to spread seeds around the earth to continue life. Science has proven non-human animals do feel the same as us; they have a central nervous system which allows them to feel the excruciating pain of suffocation in gas chambers or the sting of a bloody blade. This is NOT a natural process for them.

selecting a pig for slaughter

We don’t want to die. Humans sometimes die in car accidents, work accidents, through illness; we devise laws and methods to protect us and heal us so these events are fewer. Animals don’t want to die either, but rather than putting measures in place to protect their lives, we condone their death and we justify it by saying it fulfills the “circle of life”.

No. A plant being eaten fulfills the circle of life. An animal being killed ends it.

Death of an Activist

I’m writing this at 2 a.m. the day after a fellow activist was killed at a vigil for pigs at Fearman’s Pork slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. I can’t get it out of my mind. This is a vigil I have attended. I have stood on the corners with signs; I have stood at the gate entrance, providing water and succor to the pigs held in captivity in transport trucks. I have bore witness to the cruelty withstood by these baby pigs. I have seen their cuts and bruises from mistreatment; I have watched as they foamed at the mouth out of fear and dehydration; I have witnessed them walking over their dead comrades in the truck, pigs who did not survive the trip. I have seen the result of living beings crammed into a truck for days on end in 40 deg heat or sub zero temperatures, with no food or water, covered in puke and shit. But no body cares about that because “mmm bacon”.

It reminds me of the old photos of the trains running to Auschwitz.

So here I am at 2 a.m., feeling angry, so angry that I’m about to kick some meat-eating butt because apparently, even someone – a human – dying is not enough. There is an uproar now, but when it all dies down, will anything have changed? Oh yes – life will have changed for Regan’s family and friends, but that’s a small price to pay for your Big Mac isn’t it? It doesn’t directly affect you, right? And hey, if we can turn a blind eye to millions of animals brutalized and used as commodities every single day, then the death of one activist is a mere drop in a very big pond.

Let me ask you something: do pictures of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival enraged you, upset you, incense you? Well, what’s the difference between the dog meat festival and the annual ribfest celebrations we hold? It’s a “fest” right? If someone put a plate of luscious ribs in front of you, could you tell if they were dog meat or pork or beef? Bet that’s a big fat fucking NO.

So fuck off with your “the dog meat festival is wrong”, because if that festival is wrong, so is ribfest. They are ribs. Flesh and bone. Does it matter which animal was caged and mistreated and ultimately killed to get it? If it does to you, then you are NOT an animal lover. You are a PET LOVER, and there’s a big fucking difference.

It means you discriminate over which life is valuable and which isn’t – you feel you have the power over life to be able to state unequivocally that someone should be fought for at all costs, but someone else is expendable. And why? Because of their shape? Colour of their fur/skin?…..oh wait…..See what I just did there?

So fuck off.

You can’t be an animal lover and eat meat. You cannot eat meat without perpetuating a vile, gross industry of torturing and killing animals, therefore how can you say you are an animal lover? If defies logic. It simply does.

When shown slaughterhouse images you are disgusted, angered, you know it’s wrong: but you eat that burger on your plate anyway. Knowing. KNOWING. The drivers of the trucks transporting those pigs: they know. The employees clicking away at their keyboards: they know too. But when they take their lunch break and they bite into their bologna sandwiches or leftover chicken wings, they don’t care. It’s disgusting and it’s frustrating for those of us awakened to the reality and fighting to make changes. And when I hear someone died fighting for those changes, and no one is listening and learning, then I fear for our world. Truly.

When you see these images, Yulin Dog Meat Festival or pigs in gestation crates or calves in tiny veal crates, you want social media censored so you don’t have to be affected by the atrocities, but that is the wrong thing. Why aren’t you questioning your revulsion? Why aren’t you trying to find out more about these atrocities you don’t want on your newsfeed? Here’s a thought: rather than burying your head in the sand, or asking social media to bury the images, you should be stopping the actual acts that create the images YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE!

Don’t like seeing images of dogs in cages? Well you can block it but the dogs will still be suffering. Don’t like seeing cows having throats cut and pigs prodded with electric shock batons into a gas chamber? It’s not going to stop just because you don’t see the images anymore. The dogs will still be boiled alive – so will turkeys and chickens for that matter. Just because you don’t see the images on your timeline, doesn’t mean it isn’t still happening. Stop eating meat; don’t kill the messenger.

Don’t censor the truth, change the reality.

#goveganforregan

No One Has To Die!

Humans like to play god. We like to think god gave us the power to be god on earth because according to some questionable archaic manuscript “he made us in his image” – whatever that is. We like to think we have superior intelligence, (god given or evolved) and should therefore be in charge of the world around us. Humans are control freaks and narcissists, and the millennia have shown us to be dominating, cruel, and destructive – to everything and everyone – including ourselves.

As we formed our respective societies and cultures, we graduated from hunter-gatherers, basically eating whatever came our way – to farmers: growing our food and learning how to utilize it in its various forms, how to store it to last us through cold, barren weather, and how to fine tune its basic nature to give us more variety and better quality. We are pretty amazing when it comes to stuff like that.

I mean, the things we are able to do to food today to sustain us all with healthful options is nothing short of god like. As a result of our smarts and our new and improved diet, we grew as a species exponentially. This of course, meant we needed more food.

One of our strategies in feeding ourselves to keep up with the increased demand was to eliminate hunting as a mainstay and adapt animal husbandry into our farming practices. (Note: in the 1300s a “husbandman” was a farmer, so this aspect of farming became known under this sobriquet) So we bred and domesticated the animals we used to hunt. This way, we didn’t have to brave the elements and rely on our accuracy with aim in order to eat meat. We just had to go outside to our field and there was a plethora of quiet, trusting victims we could brutalize to put on our plates. Our food production had changed to keep up with our populations and needs. Gradually, farms turned into factories, churning out animal products faster than we could use them.

Our species had erupted like a human Vesuvius, and dammit we were hangry! So food became mass produced and then transported everywhere, even into space. We became a raging inferno of consumption, not just food, in everything.

Animals weren’t considered living beings; they were commodities to be exploited for our own gain. They were disposable. They were products. They were the epitome of the “use and toss” mentality. Maybe once of a day, a farmer cared about the animals he raised, even though they still might end up as food, he may have provided them with the best care he could. He may have even shed a tear on slaughter day. Native Americans are said to pray to the spirit of the animal they hunt and kill, to thank it for it’s beneficence to their people. Today however, that is mostly not the case. Our meat is lined up in a grocery store freezer, wrapped in plastic and labelled neutrally. There is no comparison to the living creature it once was. No one thinks about the animal as a being, as a living creature who thinks, feels love, feels fear, is happy or sad – just like us. As long as an animal is the “commodity” on a farm, whether for it’s meat or other by-product, its value is only as good as the dollar value the economy places upon it.

No one thinks about the feelings of the mother cow as her baby is taken from her right after birth so we can harvest her milk; no one thinks about the baby, bawling for his mother as he is locked into a small container to confine his movements so his flesh will remain tender for veal. We turn a blind eye to truck after truck filled with living beings driving down the highway, eyes meeting ours through our windows; eyes that you couldn’t tell weren’t human except for the setting. Do you look away? Do you block it out? (Although once of a day, humans were pushed into containers en masse and transported to so-called work camps, and I’m pretty sure anyone meeting their eyes looked away too.)

And what’s sad about all of this is we don’t need to eat meat to survive. Our farming skills, our nutritional knowledge has also progressed to the extent we understand meat-centric diets are bad for us, and plant-based is not only completely doable, but also super delicious.

And no one has to die!

But whether a small family farm or giant farming conglomerate, one thing cannot be disputed: there is no humane way to die. Electrocuted, throat slashed, boiled alive, strung up then cut, gassed, it’s all cruel, painful, and unnecessary. These animals didn’t ask to be kept in a barn all their short lives; to be kicked and pushed into subservience; to be kept in small cages, lying in their own filth; to have their babies removed right after birth; to be artificially inseminated over and over again by men with tools and thick arms. They didn’t ask to be born into this world of cruelty and inhumanity. They didn’t agree to be oppressed and tortured for our gain. They have no voice to speak their truth. And because of that – because they can’t fight back – they are victimized again and again and again.

And I’m here to tell you, peeps, it doesn’t matter if the cow was “grass-fed” or the chicken was “free range”. It’s all the same when you’re loaded into the back of a truck with prods and jackboots only to end up at a bloody abattoir, smelling the carnage of others gone before you, facing the steely eyes of the executioner who just wants to get his paycheck at the end of the week and doesn’t give two shits whether he is careful in how he administers the coup de grace. (Holocaust survivors recounted similar reasoning.)

Don’t be fooled by big business propaganda: these positive terms used to convince us the animals led a happy life prior to dying is just so much hype. Like the term “Work Camps” during WWII, cartoon drawings of laughing cows; cute, chubby pigs standing before a grill in chef hats; chickens waving on a roadside sign wearing a napkin bib: these are gimmicks designed to keep us blind to the reality of what these beings go through, how they suffer, before being unceremoniously killed all in the name of feeding our families. (Funny, not funny, this excuse was used for the “work camps” too!)

Yes, the meat you feed your family was once a living, breathing animal – like yourself. Like your children. Like your pets. Where is our god-like intelligence now? Either we are not as smart as we think we are or we are purposely turning a blind eye to mass murder on a global scale – once again.

Soapbox Moment

Ok, where’s my soap box? I got something to say. 69554884_2423928637727489_8463313913822314496_n

The TV remote control is a deadly weapon. You want a definition of “weapons of mass destruction”? The clicker, plain and simple.

And not just the TV clicker either: left button on a mouse, toggle switches, channel changers, the “escape” key, ctrl-alt-delete even. Our electronics makes it so easy to avoid seeing and hearing things we don’t like and eliminating unpleasantness from our daily lives. When we don’t want to see or hear something, we can change channels or turn it off, and voila – unpleasantness vanished!

The unpalatable truth is then hidden from view, and we can enjoy our trip to the mall or our dinner out, dodging nasty facts and oblivious to troublesome issues and events. Whew!

Calamities and crises threaten our environment, our people, our animals by our very own act of turning it off – our inaction is in itself an action. Our disinterest is in fact the biggest weapon of mass destruction we have. And it’s dissemination is massive – world wide, in fact.

The clicker, as a weapon of mass destruction, has a sibling, cognitive dissonance. They are different, but the same. Where the clicker allows us to physically shut out what we don’t want to hear, CD allows us to mentally block connections to facts so we remain disconnected from the truth, all done subconsciously. It’s the yin and yang of voluntary ignorance.

The thing is, it’s out there everywhere. We don’t need a presidential “football” or red button to remind us the end of the world is nigh. All we need to do is look at our clicker and the impact of inactivity, of lethargy, of disregard to what is going on under our very noses. This will be enough. amazon-lungs

The Amazon is burning – “THE LUNGS OF THE EARTH” peeps, all because farmers want to clear land for raising livestock which will further deplete the world’s natural resources: food, water, land. It will also contribute even more to climate change with carbon emissions. Carbon tax? pfffffff whatever, that won’t do much in the bigger picture – the facts are very clear in any scientific journal: animal agriculture contributes in massive quantities to climate change. The amount of beef harvested is minimal compared to the impact made on our world. There are articles out there, news stories, memes, interviews, photographs, statistics, and scientific reviews but all we do is push that fucking little button on the clicker and take a bite out of our Big Mac.

Cause we don’t want to know that WE ARE TO BLAME; we don’t want to admit responsibility. We don’t want to have to change our lifestyle in any way to accommodate changes and improvements in our world because our comfy little status quo will be uprooted and we might experience a bit of turmoil and heaven forbid we can’t have hamburgers or steak anymore! And all for what? So we don’t experience mass extinction of insects and animals? So we don’t lose air quality? So we can all continue to have potable water? Is it worth it?

Go ahead, push the fucking button on your clicker so you don’t have to put two and two together – show the world how much you really care.

OR – and here’s a thought! – or stay tuned, listen to the horrifying truth, watch the alarming videos, be educated as to the reality of each individuals’ actions (yes, especially your own!) and make a choice. You can choose to contribute to the well-being of the world or you can add your energy to the weapons of mass destruction currently looming on the horizon and gaining power.

I know what I’m choosing.

#govegan

 

 

 

Black Goat Farm and Sanctuary

So this week, I had a date with a black goat.

No, no, I wasn’t delving into the art of black magic or practicing self-sacrifice to a satanic lord. (been there, done that in my last relationship ahaha! I’m laughing here but its really not that funny…see earlier posts)

I signed up for a bi-weekly volunteer work day at Black Goat Farm and Sanctuary, and Thursday was my first day!

totes the goat

Totes the Goat, for whom Black Goat Sanctuary is named. He is in a timeout here because he was bad.

Now I already volunteer for occasional events at my local humane society, and of course I’ve adopted numerous dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, fish and snails over the years. I’ve shared sandwiches with our backyard chicken, and recently even fed baby racoons from a bottle! (awwwwww…let’s all say it together)

But I really just fucking love farm animals. I don’t know why. Cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, I just love them. Especially cows. They are just so huge and gentle, with the most beautiful eyes and soft, rounded lips, just like my spaniel. They actually kind of make me think of ginormous dogs. I like the fact that we can interact with farm animals because over the millenia they’ve been domesticated so much, and they are so trusting they basically know their lives depend on us. They are so misunderstood and mistreated, I feel a special bond with them and a special desire to take up their cause in particular. me and zoey

So I am really committed to the demonstrations against factory farming and the inhumane farming practices. Helping out at the Sanctuary was a new experience for me and one which I had been hoping to do for some time. Getting right in there, down and dirty, building barns, slogging manure, birthing babies…..ok well not that but I just wanted to interact with farm animals, ok?!

Of course, the day before my scheduled work day, I was sick with a fever and congestion. Really sick. Unable-to-scrape-myself-off-the-couch sick. Tissue-stuck-up-each-nostril sick. Anyway, I took some Dayquil, made a strong coffee in my travel mug, grabbed the Halls, and drove off anyway, armed with my rubber boots, rain poncho, and trusty phone for pictures. (Oh the pictures!)

These folks are super nice and bought this farmland with the intention to open a much-needed rescue. They operate solely on donations or their hard-earned money at their day jobs, and their mission is to raise awareness as to how livestock is treated in society. They are recently creating a schedule for volunteers to help out with the day-to-day management/work on the farm.

And it’s no small feat, as  I soon found out.

When I first got there, I guess you could say I was like a grinning child: I ran up to all the animals to hug them, “Who is this? Which one is this? OMG LOOK AT THIS ONE?” It was kind of neat because I had them on my Facebook and IG and so I felt like I already knew some of them, but here I was actually petting them! Once I had hugged every single cow, goat, and sheet, and had calmed down a bit, we grabbed our tools: shovels and brooms, and started the arduous job of cleaning out the barn so the floor could be prepped and new hay laid down.

The main barn used to be a chicken warehouse, and was now converted with some large stalls and a huge open space for everyone to play. And play they did.

It was a rainy day, grim and overcast, so first of all, none of them wanted to be outside. They clustered around us as we worked, extremely curious about who we were and what we were doing, playing with each other and bumping against us as we worked. It was not unusual to be sweeping away, feel a bump which nearly took me off my feet, and turn to see Zoey the Heifer peering at me curiously. I had to stop what I was doing multiple times to talk to them and pet them and hug them. That’s when I noticed Zoey’s soft mouth was like my spaniel’s, and then I was like “Omg you’re like my dog, Omg I Love you!” Calvin, the Jersey, at one point decided he wanted to help bring the filled wheelbarrow to be dumped, and turned it over back onto the concrete floor.

Then there was Maple, the crippled goat. In her past situation, she was being raised for meat, her leg was somehow broken there but was never set so it healed all broken up. Then due to her leg not being set properly, she was actually rejected for meat, was just going to be euthanized for no reason. Simply because she was not needed. Black Goat Farm to the rescue! And now, she gallops around on three legs, and plays head-butts with Millie, another goat, as if there was nothing unusual about her at all.

maple with her broken leg

Maple, her leg has actually fused this way due to a break which was never treated properly in her last situation.

Luna is a Heifer, so gentle and quiet, with both eyes missing. In her last situation, she developed some eye issues, but it was not tended to because, well vet bills are expensive and what did she need eyes for anyway? So her painful and uncomfortable condition was left untreated. When Black Goat Farm got her, her eyes needed to be removed in order for her to heal. Today, she is the calmest, quietest girl you could ever see, with no fear of her surroundings, despite having lost her vision.

luna

Luna had both eyes removed at Black Goat Farm because she had severe untreated eye infections from her last situation.

Many of the animals there have similar stories; some were dumped; some, like the pot-bellied “mini” pigs were adopted as pets by uninformed people and eventually surrendered, some were rescued from horrific circumstances, and sadly, some were rescued from deplorable conditions, treated by Black Goat Farm’s vets, and yet didn’t make it.

It’s truly heart breaking to hear the stories of what the beautiful and tender beings have been through; it’s emotionally debilitating to me to know there are thousands out there still experiencing it. Some at factory farms hooked up to milking machines, babies ripped away and tossed into a veal crate; standing butt to jowl in cramped transport trucks with no water or food for days, in extreme heat or cold, as they are carted to their death; some forced to bear litters in small metal crates over and over again with minimal to no veterinarian care because people really love bacon!

When you meet these beings in person, when you’ve watched their silly antics, when you’ve looked into their eyes, you really don’t see any difference between them and the animals we consider “our pets”. Why does society see them this way? Quick answer? Because we have been raised to think of certain animals as “products” not sentient creatures.

Serial killers dehumanize their victims to make it easier to torture and eventually kill them for whatever their nefarious purposes are. Their victims are a means to an end, to satisfy some cruel and evil blood lust, and the way I see it, factory farming is basically the same thing.

There is absolutely no good reason for eating animal flesh and consuming dairy in this day and age, with all the knowledge we have about health and wellness, and all the many plant-based options available now. If you truly want to make a difference in this life, for the environment and for yourself, stop eating meat. I know a whole truckload of living beings who will thank you!

Why Veganuary?

The month of January is often a time when people make resolutions to themselves to improve their lives. Most of these resolutions go unfulfilled – usually because the project feels bigger than them once they get into it. Often, the challenge is too big, the immediate rewards too small, and the support non-existent.

Choosing to go Vegan is one of those commitments that is totally overwhelming to many people, despite how they feel about the cruel treatment of factory-farmed animals and the effects on the environment. Many people are able to disconnect from the facts: they can’t watch a video of a live male chick being put into a grinder simply because he has no value if he can’t lay eggs, but they can tuck into their eggs benny without a thought. This is called “cognitive dissonance” and humans are masters at it.

cow-burger

They don’t feel like people do……really? That looks like fear to me.

We sign petitions against the Yulin Festival, where dogs are rounded up, imprisoned, and slaughtered for traditional dinner fare but don’t give a thought to the geese force-fed tubes of food down their throats to painfully fatten their liver for foie gras or cows hung upside down while alive, watching in abject terror as their throats are cut and their lifeblood empties onto the filthy concrete below them while we at our steaks.

See? Cognitive dissonance.

Cargill_Kam_03

This is a Canadian plant.

People can eat plant-based diets strictly for nutritional reasons but that is not necessarily Vegan. Being Vegan is a lifestyle, not just a diet. Being Vegan is a choice bound in the ethics and morality of not harming any other living, sentient beings. This includes not eating them, not wearing them, not using them and their by-products for any use whatsoever. No leather car seats or handbags and shoes. No down-filled parkas. No fur-lined collars. No make up used to test on animals. No candies using gelatin made from hooves and bones.

b_downer_kicked

Not a daunting endeavour from where I’m sitting….or for this poor baby pig either.

Wow there’s a lot out there Vegans willingly forgo in the name of compassion.

Veganism seems like a pretty daunting endeavour!

This is why I like the idea of Veganuary, for those who would like to go Vegan, but find the commitment daunting. (Link to the Veganuary plan included here.)

Let’s draw up a good old-fashioned pro/con list to put things in some perspective. I love lists. Putting everything down in black and white (made even more fun using coloured GEL PENS – with sparkles!) really helps me keep organized and feel less overwhelmed. The fact that I forget the lists at home notwithstanding, it’s the actual drawing up of the list that is key.

Pros

  • According to PETA 198 animals are saved (that is not produced for slaughter) each year by one Vegan. WOW!
  • Improved health: no cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduction of the risk of heart disease and diabetes, weight loss, improved skin and hair, more energy, lower risk of developing many cancers.
  • Helping the planet and the environment: most greenhouse gases emitted are caused by animal agriculture, not fossil fuel-based vehicles.
  • End world hunger: livestock takes up 80 per cent of agricultural land by either raising it or raising the food needed for the livestock. If that food were used for humans, it would end world hunger.
  • Rainforests and animal habitats would not be destroyed to create agricultural land to raise or feed livestock.
  • With an appropriate plan in place, farmers, field workers and labourers would still have jobs and earn a living without factory-farming.
  • Animals currently on the endangered list would repopulate due to habitat retrieval.
  • Oceans would become replete with sea life once again.
  • Our air and water would detoxify.

Wow. That’s some good stuff. Now the cons.

Cons

  • …………………..
  • no bacon. NOT TRUE! bacon can be recreated in many meat-free carcinogenic-free ways. Not a valid con. Next
  • Our agricultural animals would go extinct. The farm animals we have were bred to be docile and caged. It would be more difficult for them to exist in the wild, but not impossible. There are many docile animals who live, eat and procreate successfully in the wild. Obviously we would house our domesticated animals and care for them  while gradually allowing their numbers to adjust through natural processes and in time, they would develop appropriate methods for survival. Survival of the fittest has always been nature’s way long before humans interfered.
  • We need animal protein and fats to stay healthy. ALSO NOT TRUE! Many of our largest mammals are vegan, and I don’t think any of us would want to take them on to prove their muscles aren’t just fine, thankyouverymuch! We do not need animal protein. Protein is protein. Building blocks of our muscles yes. Plant-based protein is cheaper, easier to get, cholesterol free, delicious, and cruelty free and more beneficial as there are no cholesterols or carcinogens.

Ok. These are just some of the pros and cons. I think they are the most important ones, or at least the ones most addressed by omnivores.

I also think in looking at this list the choice is a no-brainer. #govegan.

Veganuary is not just a time but it is also a very do-able plan allowing those who are vegan-curious or a bit timid to give it a try with no risk. The Veganuary plan is online, offers recipes and nutrition tips, has tons of information, and tons of support! It explains why there is no humane slaughter, why free range is a myth, and provides oodles and oodles of excellent fact-based information.

One month. One site. One life: yours.