Time really does fly, doesn’t it? The last couple of years have been busy and fruitful though with my conviction growing continuously to find ways to make this world a more just place to live, and make me less of a hypocrite.
One step I took this week (and the reason I felt compelled to get back on the blog-writing saddle) in becoming less of a hypocrite was to drop meat and animal products altogether from my life. I have loved animals for as long as I remember yet for some reason I was eating meat. Granted, for health and finance reasons I’ve been eating less meat the last couple of years plus donate monthly to the Humane Society, but I still saw livestock as some lesser creatures not deserving of much consideration as to their welfare. In my mind (and the minds of many millions of people in this world) their purpose in this world is to be our food.
When the lightbulb finally came on this week, I truly couldn’t believe how truly STUPID and SELFISH and CRUEL I have been for most of my life, directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of beings on this planet through my life. Creatures who have done no crime other than being born the wrong species around humans. I have been so distraught at this thought the past couple of days that it literally makes me weep at every thought of these poor animals being sent to a premature death for my culinary pleasure.
That’s nowhere near the worst of it though. If an early death was the worst these animals had to endure one could say they got off easy compared to the reality. The ABUSE, TORTURE, VIOLENCE, DISRESPECT and complete lack of humane treatment is troubling to say the least. This level of cruel behaviour concerns me to such a degree as to wonder if any humans can be trusted. We have become such a violent species, that one has to wonder how far off the fabled End Of The World really is. That we are capable to perform these cruel acts (farmers), knowingly push products that not only harm animals but cause great distress to this planet (food manufacturers), purchase these products despite the avalanche of research and information telling us what really goes on behind the scenes with both the animals and the damage to the planet (everyone) is shocking and abhorrent. Meanwhile, we are happy to claim humans to be the most intelligent species on the planet supposedly capable of the greatest empathy, love and caring which is, frankly, the biggest load of flaming hypocrisy ever perpetrated in history I believe.
If for some reason you feel strongly against what I am saying then you are the growing minority. Thankfully (and I’m trying not to be judgmental here being that I am a recently born-again vegan) people are coming around and starting to recognise the err of our ways. There are countless websites, blogs, government stats, scientific journals and media reports telling us that meat is bad and that our world and its citizens are suffering for it. Here is an excellent overview of the problem for example. In this blog, Sara Deegan has done research from various sources and provided us with testimonials and general info about the problem. Quoting a few bits of info from her page (she is American so some info reflects that perspective):
- Agricultural runoff is the number one source of water pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- The methane resulting from the burps and farts of 10 billion domestic cows a year is a direct cause of global warming (methane is at least 40 times more potent as CO2 gases, eg. from your car)
- If everyone in America were to adopt a plant-based diet we would reduce global greenhouse gases by six percent—a significant proportion considering that we contribute to 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.
- According to a statistic by PETA, “If every meat-eating American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off the U.S. roads.”
- Factory farms create more greenhouse gases in our environment than all of the cars, motorbikes, airplanes, boats, and trains on earth combined.
- More than 50 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is used for animal livestock. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. land is used for factory farms. Fifty percent of our food supply goes to feeding domestic animals. So while people across the globe starve to death, our cattle remain well fed.
- Cattle grazing is the number one cause of destruction of the rainforest and we are destroying the rainforest at an alarming rate of 75 million acres a year. That is 144 acres per minute. And 2.4 acres a second. Every burger we consume destroys a small plot of land in the rainforest.
- It’s estimated that 2,500 gallons (or 16,000 litres) of water is used per every one pound (or kilo) of meat. Comparitively, it takes 33 gallons of water to grow a pound of carrots. To grow one pound of wheat requires 25 gallons of water. One sixteen ounce steak uses the same amount of water you need for six months of showers.
- The average American eats 97 pounds of beef a year. You’d save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you would by not showering for an entire year.
I watched an excellently produced and powerful documentary recently – Peaceable Kingdom – that zeroes-in on animal welfare and cruelty in farms as told by farmers themselves, all of which in this particular film are reformed killers of creatures who are speaking from a very familiar place that other farmers should be able to relate. Of course, groups like PETA do amazing work and find ways to educate people without attacking them, which is really the only way we’re going to make people come around to their senses. Here’s PETA’s Casey Affleck talking about the agonising de-horning process that cows go through clearly showing animals struggling in immense pain by sadistic “farmers”. There are countless others I’ll link to over time, but those are a few I’ve recently discovered.
The main problem now with meat-eating is that people who wish to continue with this lifestyle are actually imposing their interests on the rest of the world as there are countless stats to show that the vast quantities of animals bred for consumption are the NUMBER ONE CONTRIBUTOR TO GLOBAL WARMING including depletion of fresh water reserves as well as fish stocks in our oceans (experts have noted that we are now within 40 years of completely fishing the seas empty of sea-life. That is – pardon my french – fucked).
I feel ashamed to have been a part of these destructive meat needs for so long, even going so far as defending my practices and quantifying it because of our (supposed) intelligence or placement in the food chain. But there is no part of me, in good conscience as a citizen of this planet, that can continue to eat meat knowing now what I know. So my hope is that if you have read this far and checked out some of the links here plus researched it yourself, you cannot continue eating meat either. To eat meat is to directly contribute to a barbaric practice, to destroy our planet and to reduce us to crude life forms who condone violence and abuse to satisfy our culinary desires. Believe it or not, that is not overstating it at all; we will perish in our souls, as a species and a planet if we don’t reverse this trend now.