Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things I wish I didn't know

As you know, I'm a vegetarian. I've been a vegetarian since I was a teenager and I'm an old lady now, so I'll let you do the math. In most social situations, I tend to keep my eating habits on the down-low.  I don't want people to feel awkward if they eat at a restaurant with me, for example. I don't really like answering the questions about the whys of it all, because it always seems to come along with the unspoken sentiment that I'm not right in the head. I also don't want my friends to feel like I'm holier-than-thou or that I believe I'm somehow more evolved than they are.  However, I do think I've made it a point to take a hard look at what really goes on in the world (on factory farms and in the slaughterhouses) whereas many find it easier . . . not to look. Certainly it would be easier if I fed my child hot dogs and pretended I didn't know what went into them. Wait, no one actually knows what hot dogs are made of, right?

I'll just be very honest here. I do believe it is ethically wrong to support factory farming, which is what anyone who purchases meat at the grocery store is doing. I realize it is an inadvertent and non-purposeful sort of support. No one I know is pumping their fist and shouting, "Yeah! Up with suffering!"

I don't care what the Bible says on the topic, even though I know there are some who point to that as their reason for eating meat. God gave man dominion over the animals yadda yadda yadda. I'm pretty sure he didn't say anything about "be sure to de-beak live chickens while you're at it!" Why am I all up in arms about this, all of a sudden?  Well, it's not all of a sudden. I just don't talk about it much for fear of alienating people. On Facebook, I subscribe to a newsfeed from a group called simply, "Vegetarian."  Most of the posts are recipes and such. Last week, they posted an article about what happens to calves, when cows are pregnant at slaughter. I won't go into detail, but it's not pretty. I honestly had never thought about it, but I've been thinking about it ever since.  I simply cannot understand how we can somehow pretend that animals don't feel pain. Go and give your dog a little pinch if you don't believe me. He will react to it, I'm sure, and also give you a look as if to say, "WTF? Nutjob!"

I guess my biggest fear is that I'm getting a little more militant about these things as I get older and I don't want to turn into some extremist. In some ways, I'm actually mellowing a bit (maybe it's all the yoga I've been doing? Namaste!). Things that used to seem black and white to me no longer seem like a big deal. I changed my mind about capital punishment and with many political issues, I've gone all laissez-faire. But when it comes to animal-related issues, I haven't mellowed at all, I'm afraid.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it's okay to eat a pig and not the family dog. They have been shown to have similar intelligence level, the capacity to develop attachments, etc. 

In the interest of honesty, though, I must confess that I'm not entirely comfortable with my own failure to commit to a fully vegan diet. I don't drink milk, but I use it on my cereal. I pay through the nose for organic milk and free range eggs, but I don't think that gets me off the hook. I am currently looking into some options for soy/almond/rice milk for my cereal. Over time, I'd like to phase out eggs as well. I'm trying not to be a hypocrite, ya'll. In the end, I guess I'm just trying to get through this life in the least harmful way possible.

On a lighter note, I wandered off for a few minutes and came back to find this on my chair, along with the plea, "Mom! Don't look at the chair! Just sit down and reeeeelax!"

4 comments:

The Lovely One said...

I assume your shoes and purses aren't made of leather, but where do you find high quality products that aren't made with at least some leather in them?

Also, what do you do about dog food? Our vet said that we should be buying dog and cat food with "meat" as the main ingredient, but that would be like supporting the cruelty of animals, right?

I so admire the dedication it takes to live this lifestyle. I know I wouldn't be able to do it!

Alabaster Mom said...

You are correct - my shoes are non-leather. My shoes are cheap. As are my purses. I will never be able to have a fancy designer purse, which maketh me sad.

It really doesn't take a lot of time, effort, or dedication to live a vegetarian life. I think there is an initial learning curve, but once you know what is "safe" to buy, you don't have to keep reading the (food product) labels every time.

Dogs are carnivores whereas we are omnivores, so that is my thinking on that.

The Featherstones said...

I give you credit for posting this! It takes courage to lay it all out there. Hubby and I have been vegetarian for the fifteen years or so? Something like that, and we've done vegan off and on but never fully committed to it. I find, though, the older I get, at least, the more I lean that way. I've seen the films, read the books and articles about what goes on on factory farms and I just can't support it. Of course, in my mind, dead is dead - whether you treated them rotten or cuddled them to the end (which, IMHO, is almost worse.), so I guess you know where I stand on that. I think as I get older, I am finally discovering who I am and I am also becoming less apologetic for it. So, here's to laying it out there! Very nice. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you!!
Love,
Mom