A change is gonna come. I have learned too much to keep eating the way I have been. A few recent big happenings have sparked something deep within. Pregnancy has made me more conscious about what I am putting into my body; I have to think of someone else my decisions are impacting. Cancer has impacted people I care dearly about and it has made me look closer at what is going on with the food industry, because as you know, it has most certainly become a big industry. Another major influence in my decision to research vegetarianism and vegan diets is simply my love of animals. I cry when I see roadkill, when I see animals being used for testing and when I see delivery trucks full of pigs or chickens, stacked to the rafters, passing by me on the highway. It has gotten to the point where I simply can't ignore that my love for animals is a huge part of who I am, so I have to show them more respect by not participating in their demise. Believe me, I am not going to preach to you about what you choose to eat. I just wanted to be more aware of what goes on behind the scenes so that I am an informed consumer. I gave up eating meat about 25 years ago, but I fell off the wagon with chicken. I used to think, "well, at least I only eat chicken."Unfortunately, it was easy to just see store bought chicken breasts as packaged beige lumps and disassociate them with what I was really eating. If there were chickens in my backyard, you can bet sure as shit that I would never eat one again. They'd all have names.
If you feel like reading on, here's some interesting factoids I've discovered through research, but I warn you, they are graphic:
Cows: often are not stunned properly before being strung up for slaughter. They are often struggling and conscious while their throats are slashed open and they are skinned. In the Humane Farming Association's investigation of slaughterhouses, every worker admitted to the mistreatment of animals.
I was mistakenly under the impression that cows just produce milk, like hens can produce eggs. I never realized that for cows to produce milk, they are continuously impregnated. As soon as their calves are born, the males are crated for veal and the females are bred to be dairy cattle (and subsequently impregnated). It's an ongoing cycle where the mothers are continuously experiencing real separation anxiety from their calves. The mothers only get to live 2-7 years, before their bodies are deemed burnt out by industry "standards" and they are sent to slaughter - even though cattle should normally live 20-25 years. I haven't even touched on the hormones injected into the cows to ensure mass production of milk ten times their normal supply. This is a huge indicator of why young girls are now getting their periods 3-4 years younger than when I was a teenager.
Did you know that cattle nurture friendships and can solve intellectual challenges? Vegan enthusiast (and wife of Ellen Degeneres), Portia de Rossi said when she first bought her horse for their farm, she was worried about it because of the long journey it took by transport, so she stayed up all night watching over him. She looked on as the cows came up one by one and rubbed noses with the horse, as if to welcome him to their farm. At that moment, she knew she had to become a vegan.
Pigs: Often before they are strung up for slaughter, they are dunked fully conscious into 140 degree water to remove hair from their bodies. A mechanical arm pushes their flailing bodies under water. Pigs have been labelled by scientists as more intelligent than dogs and three year old humans. Slaughterhouse workers have said that pigs will come up and nuzzle them like puppies before they are forced into the scalding tanks of water.
Chickens: make up 95% of all animals slaughtered for food. They are often stuffed and stacked in cages with no room to move. Their beaks are cut off so they don't peck other chickens or workers. All of their natural instincts to move, to flap their wings, are denied. If they are in egg laying factories, baby male chicks are tossed out, deemed useless because they can't produce eggs. Over 300 million baby chicks are killed in the U.S. every year, often just tossed into dumpsters or ground up and fed to livestock. Chickens are as smart as mammals, including some primates. They are apt pupils and have shown the ability to use levers to control the temperature of their environment.
I'm sorry this entry is difficult to read. I just wanted to let you know why I'm changing my ways.