I am vegan and I have noticed that non-vegans and non-vegetarians often find it unacceptable for me to talk about what I do and do not eat.
I have come to the conclusion that the cruelty that goes on in the food industry is far too horrific for many to contemplate and so, rather than being open to hearing my beliefs and consumption choices, they would rather shut me down and justify their closure by labeling me as “preachy” or by insisting that we all have our own beliefs and make our own choices.
This is a difficult area for many vegans and vegetarians as, we don’t want to sound preachy at all, we do not want to have to preach. However, the animals are tortured, abused and suffering on every corner of the planet cannot speak for themselves.
When we have a heightened awareness of the life that animals lead, it is extremely hard to not want to spread the message around so that others can also become aware and hopefully make alternative choices.
I’ve always been aware that not everyone has the same knowledge of the reality of the horrific suffering endured by billions of animals a year, otherwise, I feel sure that vegetarian and vegan eaters would be far higher.
Therefore, I do tread tentatively when approaching the subject, as I know how much it has traumatized me to learn about what goes on, so I discuss what I have learned with care and consideration.
I also do not believe that everyone has the “right to choose” whether they consume, wear or use animal products or not just because their choices are legal. What about the animal’s choice in their fate? Do they not have any rights just because they were born into a different body and they have different abilities?
Just because they don’t communicate in the same way as we do and cannot defend themselves, they still experience pain and fear.
All animals are highly intelligent within their own environment. We only believe them to be unworthy of a life free from pain and suffering because we compare their capacity for living to our own. All animals and creatures deserve to live a natural life in their own habitat.
Now, I understand, many would view what I have written so far as preaching. However, I don’t see it as preaching. I’m just sharing a few simple points that are along the softer lines of communicating about veganism.
This next bit is the part where people really turn their heads and close their ears, and if those who don’t want to hear it wish to shame me for preaching that’s something I’m prepared to live with on behalf of speaking up for innocent, vulnerable mistreated animals. (Please note, I have kept this writing mild, however to find out the harsh truth about how animals are treated please click on the links provided.)
Every year over 56 billion farmed animals are killed by humans, not including fish as those numbers are too great to count.
Over 90 percent of U.S. cows are confined to a life indoors, with 60 percent of them being tethered at the neck and unable to carry out basic behaviors which are essential for their well-being. Many cows become lame due to poor restriction, damp and acidic housing from urine and feces and an enlarged udder.
Dairy cows are forcibly artificially inseminated once a year using a constraining device, which is known as a “rape rack.” The semen is inserted through the cows rectum and vagina into her uterus, with no painkillers.
At only a day or two old, many are taken to feedlots to await their slaughter, while others are kept in dark, tiny crates almost completely immobilized so that their flesh remains tender. The majority of calves are seen as surplus to the dairy industry. Across the world 21 million dairy calves are slaughtered for veal or cheap beef every year.
Here is a link to a stomach churning, horrific, heart-wrenching article by Amit Chaudhery, which offers an insight into the lives of many of the cattle in India.
Click here to read about the abuse that goes on in pig farming and view the sickening images of pigs being mistreated at a pig farm in the United Kingdom. And click here to see clips of savage workers torturing pregnant pigs. An animal welfare charity reportedly explained that these stories are the “norm” in pig farming.
Mercy For Animals is an organization that relentlessly works to expose and raise awareness for animal abuse and works tirelessly to bring about an end to the needless cruelty and suffering caused by the meat, egg and dairy industry. They promote the message that although the industries exist, it is the buyers who hold the greatest power by adopting a humane diet and choosing alternatives to meat, eggs and dairy.
Every investigation that has been carried out by Mercy For Animals on dairy farms has found widespread and sadistic acts of cruelty toward animals.
Footage from one of Mercy For Animal’s hidden camera shows horrific scenes in which workers were:
“Viciously kicking, punching, and beating cows in the face and body with chains, metal pipes, canes, and rakes. Sick and injured cows suffering from open wounds, oozing infections, and painful injuries left to suffer without proper veterinary care. Workers gleefully poking and squeezing festering wounds, ripping clumps of hair out of cows’ sensitive tails, and punching bulls in the testicles. And workers using chains and tractors to lift sick and injured cows by their necks.”
To view Mercy For Animal’s graphic video click here. (Warning—disturbing footage.)
Millions of animals are bred purely as tools for the mass production of clothing. Many of them spend their entire life in small cages being subjected to unimaginable cruelty on a daily basis due to the demand for fur, feathers, leather or wool. These animals live in fear in an unnatural habitat and most of them suffer from severe psychological trauma, as they are often caught in traps before being held captive and then facing a painful slaughter (with many being skinned alive.)
When I bring up any of the above in conversation with someone who isn’t vegetarian or vegan, I immediately notice an uncomfortable energy in the air as though the topic is highly unwelcome. I have also received numerous comments on my Facebook account explaining from people I was in contact with that they did not appreciate being made aware of these atrocities as it disturbed their day. All I think is “think of the animal’s day, the one actually experiencing it.”
Surely our uncomfortable feelings can be turned to action to work toward creating a better world together? I am respectful of others people’s feelings and I now have a separate Facebook page specifically for animals to raise awareness and offer ways to support organizations currently working to eliminate the suffering and cruelty. However, I still feel that it is terrible that I have to create a separate space to discuss the abuse that goes on as it is so horrific that it has to be largely “hidden” from view and from ears as it is far too unbearable for many to comprehend, yet, people are still willing to buy into it.
It seems that some of the only places that these discussions are welcome, and that this information is freely accepted for discussion, is in groups or websites that are already advocating for change and where people are already vegan or vegetarian. Therefore, the message is just not reaching the wider audience as the vegans and vegetarians are the ones already highly aware and educated about these matters, which is usually why they have made the decisions to avoid animal products at all cost.
I understand that it might be easier on the heart to turn a blind eye, pretend it isn’t happening, and instead watch or read fantasy or fiction, and live in a bubble of bliss where this type of cruelty doesn’t “really” exist—but unfortunately, doing any of that will not solve the very real problem all across the world of extreme abuse toward countless innocent, defenseless creatures.
I feel a responsibility as an animal-lover, defender and protector of the innocent, voiceless and vulnerable to speak out whenever I can to raise awareness and work toward creating a world whereby all animals and creatures live a life that is as harm-free as possible.
We all have the chance to make a difference, and to begin choosing alternative options. The animals have no voice and they cannot protect themselves. There are enough alternatives readily available that we can easily opt out and refuse to purchase from industries that use and abuse animals for their meat, fluid or skin.
Choosing conscious organic, eco-friendly and cruelty-free options not only lessens the unnecessary suffering, it also reduces the harmful effects on our environment and enables us to lower our carbon footprints too.
To order a free vegetarian starter guide please click here.
For a guide to dairy-free click here.
For those who do not want to choose the option of vegan or vegetarian diets, they can still collectively make a difference by reducing meat consumption and raising awareness.
It is difficult to force industries to make significant changes, however, we do not need to leave it to the industries to make the choices for us; we all have the ability to make a choice every time we eat.
Eventually, industries will have no choice but to change when less people purchase goods because of the light that is shone on their practices, and it becomes unsustainable for those who implement cruel methods to continue to manufacture, produce and supply their goods.
A vegetarian saves between 371 and 582 animal lives every year, as many animals die in tragic circumstances before they even reach the slaughterhouse.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May