What is Lamb?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 22, 2010
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“The Truth I Knew But Didn’t Want to Think About.”

I’ve been vegetarian for eight years, now, but before that I ate lamb from time to time—and enjoyed it.

Only recently did I get it through my thick head that lamb isn’t sheep—it’s baby sheep, and these babies live lives of confinement, pain, even torture—their legs tied up so they can’t move and their muscles don’t develop (making the meat softer, more yummy).

So, if we’re going to eat sheep, don’t. If we’re still going to eat sheep, buy humane—the difference in conditions for these babies is like night and day.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “What is Lamb?”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Painful to think about…that's why I don't eat lamb either. ~ Lindsey B.

  2. Suasoria says:

    But most animals we kill for food are killed very young. Beef cattle are killed around three years old, when their natural lifespan is 20-25 years. Chickens can live 10-12 years but we kill them when they're as young as one month old. Hogs are slaughtered around six months old, but their lifespan is around 18 years. Rather than jumping through logical hoops to justify our consumption, or making up arbitrary standards of "humaneness," how about going vegan?

  3. Kait says:

    Suasoria – Amen!

    Also, the difference between "humane" places and "regular" places are NOT like night and day. That what the meat industry wants you to think, and they are buying into that label because they know people are starting to get more concerned. But "humane" places are only slightly different, but still awful to and for the animals.

    Going vegan is the ONLY WAY to avoid contributing to the horrors these animals are forced through.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    I'm all for it.

    That said, for the 99% of Americans not yet interested in going vegan, taking a step away from supporting factory farms is a worthwhile first step that in many cases, including my own, may lead to further mindful consumption. ~ Waylon

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Not sure I'm in support of anyone saying ONLY WAY in all caps. You may be right—but your being right will not convince millions upon millions of Americans.

    Again, moving one step away from supporting the horrors of a factory farm—which are akin to torture—is a significant, if modest and easy step. ~ Waylon

  6. namastehon says:

    I tried eating veggie/almost vegan years ago and ended up having a horrible menopause (almost died from the hormone imbalance from too much soy among other things); not saying every woman would go through what I did but I was told by my acupuncturist that if I wanted to recover I needed to eat beef to build up my energy. I follow a hybrid Weston Price/Ayurvedic diet (since my imbalance was primarily Vata) and am almost fully recovered. I now can eat more veggie in warmer months but still need to eat animal foods in winter, primarily raw milk but including beef, chicken, turkey, and lots of root veggies. I avoid most processed foods (still addicted to chocolate!) in favor of organic, local, fresh, fair trade, etc.

    I have found that trying to explain my journey to a vegan is much like trying to talk to a brick wall – s/he always reverts to the "everybody must become vegan if they want to be ethical" but the truth is, the earth evolved with predators and prey, meat eaters and plant eaters. Humans are omnivores, with different nutritional needs, preferences, and historical diets; Pacific Islanders ate over 90% of their calories from starchy root veggies, coconut, and fish and Inuit ate mostly seal and whale fat. All who now eat a highly refined processed diet suffer from nutritional deficiencies and disease while those who revert to a more traditional diet (whatever that is for your "tribe") are healthier.

    And those "ethical" farmers who are raising their animals on pasture in smaller numbers, rotating them to different fields, considering them part of the landscape (providing weed control, crop fertilization, and tillers) are contributing to a healthy landscape. Those mega "farmers" taking advantage of concerned people by mowing down the Amazon to grow soy are only destroying the balance of Nature.

    Besides, what would the ethical vegan do with the animals left if all animal husbandry is banned? Domesticated animals are not equipped for the wild, and being slaughtered by some other predator is no less horrifying for them. Anyone remember when a band of animal rights activists released thousands of caged minks into the "wild" only for them to run in terror and die on the highways? How was that humane?

    Anyone wishing for others to change needs to work more on themselves first; be the change you wish to see. If you are happy and healthy others will notice. They will ask you when they are ready to know how you did it.

  7. […] to connect with their own relationship with food. Alternative baking methods such as gluten-free, vegan, organic or local ingredients are just another way to personalize the breads and give the […]

  8. Giorgos says:

    I am descended from peasants who lived in a small village in the middle of the Aegean Sea, so lamb and factor-farming are both very serious and special topics for me. One of the staples of this village, as with the rest of the Balkans, is the consumption of lamb. In a mountain village, especially one on an island such as the one my family is from, lamb (besides chickens, donkeys, dogs, and cats, and we are only willing to eat the first of those four) is the easiest and often times the only source of meat. In the village, we raise the lambs the same way we have been raising them for thousands of years. Factory farming is an abomination; I may be a peasant's grandson (a pretty well educated one, too :D), but I know very well that I don't need some massive factory farm or some weird genetically-altered insult against the perfection of nature to give me food. I know that the age-old methods used by my cousins in the old country produce better-tasting and healthier food and give for the moribund animals a much more satisfying and pleasant life.. Factory-farming is absolutely wrong; let my cousins and uncles and aunts back in the village produce our food, not some massive corporation which can't see beyond its own wallet.