Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eating Animals

This post is a little different than my regular fare so I understand if it's not your slice of pie.  If nothing else, check out this Chipotle video to see a great animation and music marketing campaign...not to mention an interesting message being sent to kids and adults watching the movie and playing their new game.  A small disclaimer if you choose to read on: I do not judge anyone else's actions and choices, I am only sharing a recent experience of mine and a shift in my own perspective and outlook. Also, this isn't about Jonathan Safron Foer's book Eating Animals, but I've heard that it's very good.  For a giggle and a bit of small child heart-warming loveliness, check out this video.

One month ago, I stopped eating meat.  My sister, a fellow animal lover, texted me that she was watching a documentary about the meat and dairy industry.  I had been meaning to watch one I saw on Netflix, Forks Over Knives, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.


Forks Over Knives displays the perspective that eating animal proteins and dairy leads to heart disease and a plethora of other complications.  It advocates eating a whole foods, plant-based diet to not just cut down on risk but to even counteract diseases already present.

It was a rabbit hole...I then watched Vegucated on Netflix, which has some graphic images from our slaughterhouses.  Vegucated tells three peoples' stories as they attempt to live as Vegans for six weeks.  They learn about the meat and dairy industry and ultimately, all three are still eating Vegan or close to Vegan diets today (the documentary came out in 2010).  

Next came the book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.  The first chapter has a sort of exercise where you imagine sitting at a friend's dinner table, eating a delicious stew.  When you ask how they made it, they tell you that you start by using 10 pounds of Golden Retriever!  They laugh and say, just kidding, it's beef.  The author then explains that most Americans are raised to believe that eating certain animals is quite alright but eating other animals is downright nasty.  (This happens not just in America but since we're here, I'll focus on here.)  Through marketing and PR campaigns of the meat and dairy industry, we are essentially told that "Happy Cows Make Better Milk" or cheese...but most of our country's meat industry is anything but happy for the animals.  We treat them pretty terribly. 

I think that I have learned before about how our meat and dairy industry treated animals but watching some of the graphic footage from slaughterhouses showed me the reality of most conditions.  After reading Why We Love Dogs...I just couldn't look at meat without imagining Maggie and Nigel being mistreated.  Like most dedicated dog owners, I would pretty much do anything to keep them from harm.

I consider myself an animal lover and a gentle person who cares for the rights of all beings but my eating habits were just not aligned with this statement.  Once I realized how much pain and suffering I was causing to about 100-200 animals a year, I no longer wanted to eat meat and animal by-products.  (Unfortunately, our egg and dairy farming practices are really no better and perhaps even worse than our meat-packing industry.)  I always advocate for humane treatment of dogs and cats in America's shelters but why had I never cared about all those other animals?

So, I'm on a journey right now.  Besides beginning training for a half marathon, training the pooches, and being in school, I'm also exploring a whole foods, plant based diet.  I haven't given up all animal by-products because after 28 years of practicing eating whatever I wanted, it's pretty difficult to just totally change every eating habit overnight!  But I do know that I am becoming more self-aware about how my diet affects the environment, my well-being, and the well-being of other creatures.

Have your dietary practices been affected by being a pet owner?

*If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I promise to bring back adorable pittie cuteness very soon.  :-)

11 comments:

  1. The longer I feed raw to my animals, the less meat I eat myself.

    Though feeding raw to them did lead me to finding an awesome local lamb farmer who supplies what little meat I do choose to eat myself.

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  2. That's pretty awesome. My husband still eats meat but we're focusing on finding local, humane farmers through farmers markets and the like. And it feels awesome to support local farms!

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  3. While we definitely focus on eating tons and tons of veggies in our house, we're meat-eaters. But we focus on supporting farmers who humanely treat animals. We've gone to the farms and seen "our" cow. Many of my friends in high school raised animals, and those who raised pigs and cows treated them like a pet. They were ultimately sold and slaughtered, humanely. And while we have several vegetarian meals each week, we're no where near being vegetarians.

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    1. That so great, Hannah. It sounds like you found an alternative that you're comfortable with. Any awesome recipes!? Do share!

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  4. I"m not much of a meat eater and I haven't been since I was a kid growing up on a farm and I found out where my "pet" cows went to. My hubby is still a meat eater though which can be hard for me at times. But, we've gotten to a point where we buy from local farmers and at farmer's markets, etc.

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    1. This is where we are too right now. It can be tough but we're figuring it out also. It's crazy to think about how much we fell back onto the idea of just picking a protein and adding stuff around that...

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  5. I've been a pescetarian/vegetarian for over half my life now (Whoa.) It's still a learning process for me. I'm definitely more aware of things now than I was at 14/15. You go girl! ;)

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    1. WOW! Way to go, Lauren. I'm feeling pretty great since I started going healthy vegetarian (it's so easy to still eat really crappy). Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Oh your blog is in my Feedly. I love reading it!

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  6. I've been a vegetarian for 4 1/2 years. Living in the middle of Indiana has made it difficult to fully transition to being a vegan, but my dairy intake is very limited & I buy eggs from a local farm. While you're in that "rabbit hole" on Netflix..check out Frankensteer -- pretty scary stuff.

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    1. Hey Brittney, I bet it can be tough to find those vegan alternatives that are plentiful in LA. Can't wait (or maybe I can!) to check out Frankensteer. I can only imagine...

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