I went online today to look for some cooking inspiration. I've been in a cooking rut for the last week, due mostly to the lingering cold we all have. Yesterday we survived on bananas dipped in peanut butter (Amira and I finished off 6 bananas between the two of us). I started glancing at recipes on the fat free vegan blog and ended up reading this article a few clicks later. I followed the article's link to the videos on the humane society's website. (to find the relevant videos click on "factory farming" in the channel navigator. Then watch the movies called "cheap meat" and "overlooked.")
I am still crying from those movies I just watched. Those of you who know me well, know that I've really never been an "animal person" in the traditional sense. Our only pet is a fish, I think it really weird when people dress up their dogs and I can't stand house cats (due to my extreme allergic reaction.) I've also never had a desire to live on, or even visit a farm. I didn't even like the petting zoo as a kid. That said, I found those videos so repugnant I will never eat another factory-farmed animal product as long as I live *. The video titled "overlooked" explained how baby cows get to see their mother for one day before they are separated forever (can't let the baby cow have mommy's milk, when people need to drink it instead) and put into cages where they can't even turn around. Pigs, who some people say are as smart as dogs, go mad due to the tiny cages they are forced to spend their existence in. I can't really talk about it anymore, as I feel myself about to vomit. Just watch the movies. Please.
The recent scandal about mistreatment of factory farmed animals is nothing new to any of us. Tales of animal cruelty- birds' beaks being sawed off, animals being sliced while still alive- have been around for a while. The change, for me, is that I have decided to listen. For a while I managed to push the knowledge to the outskirts of my consciousness (and conscience, for that matter) and chose not to think of where the frozen chicken breasts actually came from. Being a mother has heightened my awareness of, and respect for, all forms of life. I know that animals don't have the same level of intelligence as human beings, I get that, but I also know that on a basic, primal level those animals have a desire to live, and move. I don't doubt that those mommy cows feel the loss of the babies they carried and nursed for the one day they were allowed their calf.
I have a been a vegetarian for a while- but loosely so. Last night I had a bite of Mohamed's chicken (we got take out) and I have still been buying milk (occasionally) and eggs (often). No more. I do feel sort-of panicked and lonely in my decision to be vegan. Even among my very "natural" friends here on the island, I don't know anyone who is vegan. I find part of me wishing I didn't know, wishing myself back into ignorance. But I do trust that as I live my life with increased awareness of the world around me, I will be happier and so will my family.
Anyone who reads this and watches the videos, would you please comment? If you eat meat and find my thinking too extreme, would you let me know? I would really like to hear the counter-argument to my thinking (not to criticize, I promise, just to understand).
*The asterisk above is to indicate that I will still follow the Lord's advice as revealed in the Word of Wisdom (the LDS instructions on how to care for our bodies). The scripture says:
nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; (animals, that is)
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
In other words- if I am starving to death in the middle of a frozen wasteland, I will certainly kill an animal to keep myself alive.
One more interesting scripture, for my fellow LDS friends:
21 And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.
Please note, I am also aware of the scripture, oft quoted against vegetarianism:
18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
And I'm honestly not really sure what it means? Seems like a double negative? Anyone want to chime in on that one?
Alright, I'm off to eat some more bananas and peanut butter.