Friday, April 2, 2010

Original, brilliant idea...not!

I always have these bright ideas where I think I'm a total GENIUS, only to realize, upon further investigation, that someone else conceived of my idea long beforehand. Take the most recent example: After watching "Julie & Julia" I thought, "Y'know, that movie was cute, but someone should do this with a vegan cookbook!" I decided that I was going to cook and blog about every recipe in my new vegan bible, '1000 Vegan Recipes' by Robin Robertson. When I went to reserve my blog's name, someone already had it. I thought, "That's strange, who else would have" When I checked it out, I discovered that six vegans are already cooking through the book with FANTASTIC photos and a website 10x better than the one I could've conceived of. In short, it is a fantastic little blog and I highly recommend it. I'll be sitting here waiting for my next "original" bright idea!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegan Month 2009

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hey, human's a wake up call!

So, I finally got up the nerve to watch “Earthlings” last week. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie, “Earthlings” is a documentary that displays graphic images of animals being used and exploited, in various ways, for human gain. I have seen countless videos of panicked and suffering animals being abused or killed in the factory farming, medical testing, breeding, and fur industries. I have read numerous stories about domestic animals being neglected, abused, and even tortured. I became a vegan at in September 2008, because I knew that I needed to make a larger commitment to doing my part to end animal suffering. I didn’t need or want to see anymore footage. I thought, and still think, that “Earthlings” is a movie for people who don’t already know what’s happening to the animals they eat or wear for leather and fur. But, I forced myself to watch it, because if I am going to ask others to watch it, I felt it only fair if I’d watched it, too. I knew I would cry, so I had my box of Kleenex with me. The movie was done as tastefully as possible, given the imagery. There were things I’d seen before, and images that raised my horror to a whole new level. At some parts I remember crying and wailing, “WHY???” My sweet husband comforted me as we continued to watch. He wanted to turn it off, but he’d never seen any of this type of footage and I thought, “We HAVE to finish”. We HAD to open our eyes to what is going on. We HAD to bear witness to the millions of miserable and dying animals. I felt that he especially needed to watch it because he still eats meat.

I fully expected my husband, as a caring and empathetic person, to turn to me after the movie and say, “That’s it. No more meat.” When I asked him about his reaction to the movie, he said he was shocked and very sad. I asked if he was going to give up meat and he replied that he wasn’t. I was stunned and disappointed. I asked him how he could continue to support that kind of cruelty to animals, now that he knew it existed. He couldn’t articulate his answer. He became defensive, claiming that he was already mostly a vegetarian. I demanded to know why he wouldn’t just give meat up. I so desperately wanted to understand the psychology behind it. I reasoned that if I could understand why he doesn’t care about the torture and suffering of animals, then I could surely understand why millions of other good, decent people in this country don’t care. He couldn’t answer me.

For those people who do insist on eating meat, I have more respect for a hunter than I do for the person who buys an anesthetic package of meat from the grocery store. If you’re going to eat meat, I believe that you should kill it. You stand there and put a knife to the throat of a pig who is happily rooting in the dirt and living out his divine pig existence. You shoot a beautiful, golden steer with his warm grass breath and peaceful brown eyes. If you cop out and buy a lifeless, plastic-encased slab of red flesh, you lose your empathy for the living being that it used to be a part of. You lose your connection to the fact that YOU are the reason for this animal’s death and countless others. No matter how you slice it, YOU took this beautiful creature’s life whether you did the direct killing or not. YOU are responsible for the pain, fear, and torture that he felt in the hands of the people whom you paid to kill him.

When you were a child, did you ever hug a baby farm animal at a petting zoo? Have you ever regarded a non-human animal with respect and awe? Do you have a pet at home who you adore? Would it occur to you to cause excruciating pain to one of these animals? Would it occur to you to subject one of these animals to prolonged, mental torture? I don’t believe that it would. So why do you condone this type of behavior when it is directed toward the animals you eat? The animals who provide your meat are NOT “put to sleep”. They are NOT humanely euthanized. They are literally tortured and slaughtered in every brutal aspect of the word. They are slaughtered. They are butchered. They are massacred. And through every moment – as they are bleeding, beaten, boiled, butchered, electrocuted, plucked, and skinned alive---they are crying, kicking, struggling, screaming, panicking, and futilely fighting for their very life, as you would do under the same circumstances.

The “Earthlings” movie draws comparisons to other persecuted populations: Jews murdered in Nazi Germany; Africans forced into slavery; women denied the same rights as men. We are asked a poignant question: just because we can dominate and exploit other living beings for our own pleasure and gain does that mean we should? Or as the dominant animal on this planet, are we obligated to show mercy, compassion, and restraint in a world where our dominance destroys countless human and non-human animals each and every day?

I am of the opinion that, as modern omnivores, we do not need to eat meat any longer. We have a wealth of nutritional information and unprecedented access to varied types of protein. So much land that could be used to raise crops and feed the world several times over is wasted on raising food animals. I also believe that a fair match between game and hunter no longer exists. Our sheer masses and our advanced weapons and technologies allow us exploitative advantages that no specie on this earth was ever meant to have. The most critical component of a successful Earth is balance. There are opposing forces in nature that are designed to keep any one thing, specie, or element from getting too powerful. These checks and balances are meant to preserve the planets resources and to spawn and maintain diversity and continuity. Consider the deadly diseases that are creeping into our food chain due to overcrowding and the profit-maximizing animal husbandry methods. Are the avian flu and mad cow diseases biological accidents or are they nature’s way of correcting a gross imbalance of power? We are wise to remember, while we may be the dominant animal, that Nature is the most powerful force of all and she has a special knack for leveling out the playing field.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I've been a vegetarian since 2001. I am very much a vegan, but not completely which is my next endeavor. Lately, I find myself increasingly angry and intolerant of people who eat meat. I've actually "gone off" on two people in the last week. I am told, by my wonderfully caring and mostly vegetarian boyfriend, that many/most people just don't share my "belief system" about being a vegetarian. But, my struggle is that this is not a belief. It is the right moral course.

So, how do I deal with this? For years, I have sat in silence while my closest friends and family buy, serve, and devour meat right in front of me. My philosophy was "to each their own". But, I am finding, of late, that this coping mechanism is no longer working for me. I have done more reading over the years ("Diet for a New America", "The Okinawas Diet", "Fast Food Nation") and have talked amongst my friends and family of the health benefits of being a vegetarian. I have talked to them about the horrors of factory farming and slaughter, but they seem to be above enlightenment. I have been instrumental in helping my very best friend to convert to a vegetarian, and she has converted her husband into a semi-vegetarian, and she is raising her child to be a vegetarian until he is old enough to decide for himself. But that has been the extent of my ability to elevate people.

I'm struggling with some questions, one of which is how can so many people that I love, admire, adore, and respect as caring, thoughtful, conscientious, and intelligent people continue eating meat? And is it I think it boils down to this:

1. These people really do not care if an animal needlessly suffers.
2. These people do not want animals to needlessly suffer and believe that the farming and slaughtering practices in this country are humane.
3. These people enjoy meat and want to remain in denial about the suffering so that they can go on eating tasty bacon, guilt-free.

And I guess I need to start asking people. Because, if they subscribe to the first ideology, well, I guess I have no business associating with them since our values are so out of sync. If they subscribe to the second ideology (as I did prior to 2001 when I happened to trip upon some undercover slaughterhouse videos on the internet), would it be appropriate for me to give them literature and ask them to watch some of the graphic videos? And if they say no? Then, they must ascribe to the third ideology, which I believe to be most prevelant, and that is that people have some idea of the suffering, but they want to ignore it so that they can keep on eating meat.

Another question that I'm struggling with: is it right and proper to remain silent on this issue? If I remain silent am I complicit in some way? Will I have any friends or family left if I start pushing this issue? Do I really want friends and family around who DON'T give a shit that pigs are boiled alive, steers strung up by one leg while they're still alive, chickens living in such confined quarters that they self-mutilate and start killing each other, sick and crippled dairy cattle being stabbed with forklifts in an attempt to get them to walk...I could go on.

Another question: how can I best go about winning the hearts and minds of my meat-eating loved ones?

This issue is so OBVIOUS. By becoming a vegetarian, you lose NOTHING. Well, except your higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, colon, ovarian, and testicular cancer, among other things. You actually win by adding years and quality to your life. And the animals win by not having to suffer the abuse of the callous ways of factory farming and slaughter in this country. These animals are sentient beings like you and I. Pigs are smarter than dogs, so why do we eat them?

I welcome any helpful feedback. I'm looking to form a support group to help me channel my anger into some constructive actions that can help me to fulfill my purpose of saving as many animals as possible from human abuse while I am on this earth.