I am writing you in tears, sobbing from a dark room.
I am at a friends place and they happened to have a book I had heard of called Skinny Bitch
. As I read the chapters chronicling the atrocities our food source is subjected to, carcinogenic chemicals, antibiotics, and general junk that you would never knowingly put in your body, I was happy to see they were getting the word out, even if some of the language was at times superfluously coarse (rather turretts-like) – which should be no surprise if the name is any indication.
It was an enjoyable read and served in helping me to clarify the food choices I am currently grappling with…
… yep organic is the way to go,
… fresh fruits and veggies rock,
… cut out dairy ( Need calcium? Eat some broccoli.)
I knew this, but the message was being especially well supported in this book.
And then I got to the chapter on factory farming and slaughter, and my soul was rocked to its core.
For 99.99 percent of us in North America, meat is just something that shows up in little perfectly cut packages waiting for us on our store shelves. I have had several friends who are vegetarians on principle, who just couldn’t bring themselves to eat another living being. I never begrudged them for their point of view but I never really got their point.
Today I read about animal slaughter practices in the chapter titled “You are What You Eat”.
The atrocities in the treatment of these animals are beyond comprehension.
And In case you are saying “ya, yah”
I say emphatically no! NO!
I am not even sure I can recreate what I read, all I can tell you is that in significant portions of the places where our society is manufacturing and slaughtering animals for our consumption there is great suffering, pain, and unspeakable travesties committed against the creatures we are sharing the planet with.
If you are unclear what I am speaking of, buy the book Skinny Bitch
or read Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by Gail Eisnitz (a chief investigator for the Humane Farming Association) or search google or YouTube for “slaughterhouse videos”.
One that recently made its way into the news was this undercover video by the Humane Society of America –
When I see the images and read the stories of these horrific transgressions they are not a surprise considering the trend I have been witnessing in our society for sacrificing all things (compassion, humanity, the planet) for profit and greed. I am not surprised, but I am completely horrified. I feel painfully present to the darkness I have been a part of by eating animals that have come from these uncaring, cruel and inhumane facilities.
Please do not misunderstand me. At this point in time I am not against eating meat.
It would be one thing (for me anyway) to eat an animal that was raised happy and healthy, in an all natural way and then was gently appreciated and humanely killed to support my life. I understand that many animal lovers and vegetarians may condemn me for being ok with this, but at this point that idea still feels ok.
What is happening today, in many cases, is nothing remotely close to this idyllic picture. Today, it seems that animal production is treated as industry, no different than steel production or manufacturing toilet paper, the only thing is that the product is living creatures. Being large scale, for-profit organizations, the kind of thinking that runs these companies is often the same that creates Enron catastrophes, the same that carelessly pollutes the planet and the same that will feed a population on sugary, fatty and nutrient-void food and promote it to children because it makes great business. It is all about more, more, more, profit and productivity and the result is a soulless, cruel, abomination.
Right now I am completely unclear as to what to do. I am not sold on soy and I have been a very comfortable meat eater to this point. As I look to the months ahead as I plan to start a family I have extra concern about eating fully vegetarian as I take on this new phase. With that being said, I do not know how I could reconcile eating Factory farm slaughterhouse meat from our regular suppliers knowing I would be a part of this corrupt cycle of greed and inhumanity.
If you are a compassionate person with a desire to do good in the world I believe this is something you should know.
I liken what I am experiencing to the feeling my husband experienced last year.
He and I participated in a dolphin swim in the Caribbean. Less than a month later Jeff found out about the dolphin hunts in Japan (a major supplier of dolphins for these leisure companies – graphic video’s of this practice can be found on BlueVoice.org) and the high mortality rate of Dolphins in captivity. He was a broken man for weeks after realizing what our money had contributed to. I now have an idea of how he felt. The guilt and sadness for being an unknowing supporter of something like this brings a heavy weight.
For those of you who know me, I am not an alarmist and I am not an activist (at least I have not been in the past – now, who knows?). I am someone who looks on the bright side and who sees the good in the world.
With that being said, I cannot express enough how sad this is to me, and how I want nothing to do with any industry that would practice or allow and this sort of cruelty to animals.
I am starting today to actively explore how I can live as a vegetarian and I will also be exploring the availability of a local meat supply where I can personally witness their practices; one that is organic, healthy and run with love and compassion.
I am uncomfortable with the task at hand – we are talking significant life changes. But I must.
And as far as feeling like I might miss something. That I might feel deprived somehow for not being able to grab a steak at our favorite restaurant or have milk in my latte, to this I say-
No piece of steak, no spicy chicken breast is worth compromising my integrity on this issue. Not a chance.
I have shared this with you out of the emotion of the moment and because I simply could not – not share it.
As a final note I want to reiterate I do not begrudge anyone who carefully and humanely keeps or kills animals for consumption. If you happen to know a facility that fits this bill, I seem to have come into the market.
You have your choices as I have mine. I wanted you to know what I am learning.