Sunday, September 20, 2015

I can do this (I think)

My wee baby sister made me aware of an upcoming event: Word Day for Farmed Animals (#fastagainstslaughter). It's an awareness event sponsored by Farm Animal Rights Movement. The challenge is to fast for a full day on October 2nd. My sister did it last year. This year, I will join her. I have taken the pledge and if you know me . . . once I say I'm going to do something, odds are pretty good that I'll do it.  If I were you, I wouldn't call me that day because I might be a little crabby after a few hours. It'll be a challenge, for sure. The last thing I think about when I go to bed at night? What I'm going to have for breakfast the next morning. What I think about after breakfast? How soon I can have a snack. Seriously, I'm shameless. It's no wonder I have to maintain a Weight Watchers membership.

I've noticed that people seldom want to chat with me about my choice to go vegan last year (or even my adherence to a vegetarian diet for the 25 years before that). I assume it's because they already know why but don't want to be confronted with it. They don't want to hear about how factory farms operate and they don't want to hear about inhumane (and even illegal) treatment of farm animals. They don't want to hear that animals delivered to the slaughterhouse typically have not had food/water in 12 hours.  And that's okay - I'm not here to be a party pooper.  And you know what? I get it. I really do. I continued to eat dairy for years and years because I didn't really want to think about it too much and didn't want to be inconvenienced.  I'm not here to be sanctimonious. Is there anything worse than a preachy vegan? My goal, simply, is for ME to do my best to walk gently through this life, leaving behind as little destruction as possible. I can't impose my thinking on anyone else. I saw a sticker that said, "Vegan means I'm trying to suck less."  I also have a sticker on my refrigerator that says, "Eat like you give a damn." So that's what I'm trying to do - give a damn.  We all have our causes that we care about. Recently I was at a farmers' market and there was a booth there that attempted to raise awareness about how bad golf courses are for the environment. I'm sure they are, but I just can't think about one more thing . . . can't embrace one more cause. Again, we all have our thing. You know what, though? I really suspect that when it comes to caring for our planet (and the animals that live on it) . . .  that everyone can do a little something if they are so inclined. I really like the Meatless Mondays campaign. Skipping meat for one day doesn't seem so outrageous, does it? I have been amazed at all of the recipes I've learned to make in the past year and a half. Yesterday I made black bean soup for my family and they ate every single bite. And this morning I made chocolate chip pancakes (yes, vegan) that were also a hit.

I have a little confession to make. When I was a kid, I remember referring to bovines as "moo-moo cows." As in, "awwww, look at all of those moo-moo cows in that field." Because there is a slaughterhouse in the town where I live, I regularly see trucks filled with doomed animals. When I see one of the trucks, under my breath I always say, "I'm sorry, moo-moo cows." (Don't laugh!) When I see the truck that's already empty, I think, "Aw, they're already dead" because I assume they've already been dumped at their final stop. I can't do anything to stop all of that, really, but at least I can sleep at night knowing that I didn't contribute to it.

So, I will put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and fast on October 2nd. On October 3rd, I will make myself some yummy food and will feel just a little more grateful for it than usual.  Compassion: it's what's for dinner.

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