“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”- Pythagoras
If you couldn’t tell by the quote by Pythagoras, a famous Greek philosopher, my second part in the Why I am Vegan blog posting is all about the animals. This is a hard one to write simply because it is such a huge topic. The amount of none human species on this planet is vast. All of those species deserve life. If you are human that does not make you better then other species. Being human does not give you greater moral rights than other creatures on this earth. Watch the movie “Earthlings.” If you have a heart it will likely leave you in tears and make your stomach turn. If you can watch it and not think twice about eating that steak then I’ll be amazed. If you refuse to watch it then you are in denial and refusing to face the truth of what that food on your plate and milk in your glass really is. Which, to me, is almost as bad as actively participating. If you eat animal products you are supporting animal genocide.
Perhaps you are one of the ones who only eat “humane” meat and drink “humane” milk. Well let me ask you something. Have you led a pretty good life so far? How about if I bought you your dream home and that car you’ve always wanted and generally filled all your hopes and dreams for a year. After a year I’ll take you in the backyard and let you watch while I put an air gun to other peoples heads. Some will be lucky and die. Many more will be simply stunned and wounded. When I get to you I do the same thing. After that I hang you upside down and messily slit your throat. Again if your lucky I’ll kill you instantly. Chances are I won’t because there is a lot of slaughter to be done. So you’ll bleed out and, if I decide to give you the same treatment as pigs, you’ll be dumped alive into a vat of searing hot water to burn off your little hairs and skin. All this because you taste good. If you’re a woman I will artificially impregnate you by sticking a large syringe or a gloved hand into your uterus. When you have the child I will take it from you. If it is a girl she can grow till she is able to breed and the same thing that I did to you will happen to her when she is able to give birth. If it is a boy he will be chained and prepared to be killed for human veal after 12-23 weeks of age. You breasts will be hooked to machines that milk you constantly. When you are going to go dry I’ll impregnate you again and it will start over. This is “humane” meat and dairy.
I will not apologize if that last paragraph was rough to read. The truth is often rough to hear but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be spoken. Veganism also goes towards things you wouldn’t necessarily think about. I avoid palm oil because of the awful way it is taken. I also do not wear leather or any other animal products. Frankly, now that I have opened my eyes, the idea of wearing another animals skin is disgusting to me. Why would I kill them when I do not need them? Because they taste yummy and their skin looks good on me? Those are not valid reasons for killing someone.
Alexis, animals aren’t like us though. Cows, pigs, and livestock are here for us to eat.
Why? What makes those cows, pigs, chickens, and other “food” animals different from your pets. Would you be able to eat puppy or kitten? Why can you then eat a baby pig, a calf, or eat eggs knowing that male chicks are ground up to nothing in the egg industry. It is true, they go in a giant machine with big razor blades which are then turned on and hack them up to little bits.
I’m only touching on the horrors of the animal industry here and I don’t intend to go into the process anymore as it makes me very upset. I believe it is important to educate yourself though on how exactly that meal is getting onto your plate.
Now I’ll go into a few of the more common farm animals with facts about them since there are many misconceptions about these amazing creatures.
Cows – First let me address the biggest misinformation about cows that the majority seem to have. Cows do not randomly produce milk. Cows are mammals like us. Their breast milk is produced when they have a baby, for their baby. It is just like human mothers. Cows, like most mammals, naturally nurture and bond with their young. On a dairy farm the young are taken from them almost as soon as they are born so humans can have that milk. Milk meant to grow a cow. Think about that. We are the only species that drinks another species breast milk and not only that but milk that is designed to make a baby that weighs around 100 pounds at birth eight times it’s weight by the time it is weaned within about 290 days. Our breast milk is designed for our babies and so is the cows. Adult humans have absolutely no business drinking it.
In the farming industry cows are killed between 3 weeks of age (veal) and 36 months of age (beef). Dairy cows are usually sent to slaughter at around the age of four or five when they lose their productivity. The average lifespan of a cow is naturally anywhere from 18 up to over 25 years of age. Cows can detect odors at 5 miles away and hear at lower and higher frequencies then us. They also have panoramic vision and the ability to see all colors but red. Cows are extremely social creatures and use a combination of facial expressions, body language, and “moos” to communicate with each other. There are about 920 different breeds of cow now.
Pigs – That bacon your eating was smarter then your dog and/or toddler. Pigs are highly intelligent creatures. They are actually #4 on the list of most intelligent behind chimps, dolphins, and elephants. Pigs are social creatures who enjoy contact with each other and will often lay near each other when possible. Despite the very common myth that pigs are dirty they are not. In fact they are one of the cleanest animals. Even the piglets will leave their “nest” when they need to go to the toilet and find an area some distance away. The reason pigs roll in mud is because their skin is much like ours. The mud not only cools them but acts as a form of sunscreen so they do not burn.
Chickens – I will admit I haven’t learned as much about chickens as I have about cows and pigs. I have learned more since becoming vegan however. I used to dislike chickens and, if I’m honest, geese, parrots, and so on. Since visiting a local farm sanctuary though I have learned chickens are actually full of personality. Some are grouchy and others are sweet. Some are dumb as a bag of rocks while others are smart and inquisitive. Also, May is international respect for chickens month, so step away from those nasty processed nuggets.
I brought up personality with the chickens but the fact is each and every animal has it’s own personality. Just because it cannot form words like we do or tell you it hurts doesn’t mean it isn’t thinking and feeling. We should have learned by now that different does not mean less than.
Even fish have personalities and deserve life, though they are commonly over looked. We are over fishing now to the point of extinction for them. Certain fish, like the atlantic blue fin tuna, have declined so the species’ survival is greatly threatened. That’s not even getting to the destructiveness of many fishing practices such as bycatchs. A bycatch is when a species not wanted for food is caught in the net and killed. These include birds, dolphins, whales, sting rays, turtles, and more adding up to millions of tons being killed and thrown back into the ocean each year.
Since I have stopped consuming animal products I feel at peace in myself and with the world around me. I never felt such a connection to everything like I do now. It is something I could have never imagined and cannot begin to explain. My compassion for all things has grown. I feel clean, unsullied, and utterly at peace with the world around me.
I will close as I opened, with a quote;
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)