12.27.2008

The Perils of Being Vegan

I've been vegan for almost nine years and my boyfriend hasn't eaten animal products for about seventeen years. My son, Milo, has been vegan since conception (though I did catch him trying to put dog food in his mouth, that lil sneak!). I try to not be angry all the time, but it's hard to remain happy and upbeat in the face of such cruelties. I don't understand why us humans do the things we do. Why is money the ultimate motivator? Why must compassion and humanity take a back seat to profits?

I'm currently reading "Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food" by Gene Baur, co-founder of the sanctuary. (I worked at Farm Sanctuary in 2003--holla!) Even though I know much of what goes on in factory farming, it's always appalling to re-read case stories and the results of investigations. I cannot understand how any of this can happen. How could farming have gone so far astray from its roots of "pigmanship," cultivating the soil, and getting to know the animals?

I grew up in a rural county of Ohio and many of my friends grow up in farms--real farms--where the animals can actually walk around and experience life. Where the farmers are farmers--not corporations--who work to feed their families and provide for their communities.

I'm not an advocate of eating animal products, but these small-time farms were so much better than the confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)/factory farms that dominate the industry today. I have no doubt that anyone (who isn't profiting from the bottom line) would be horrified if they witnessed modern farming today where animals are treated as machines.

Since I'm a breastfeeding mom, I have a unique bond with dairy cows. It's rough. I cannot stand to think about dairy cows and how the moms are impregnated only to have their baby calves taken away at birth. Instead of their milk going to their babies, it goes to humans, who, for some absurd reason, rely on the milk of another species. I can't imagine someone taking away my baby and then taking my milk to make a profit.

And... it just makes me angry. I try not to judge people, but when I read about all these cruelties I wonder how people can support these horrific industries. Farming is not what is was. Cows are not lounging in pastures, cracking jokes like on those ridiculous California Happy Cow commercials.

I don't want to be bitter, yet I don't want to forget the severity of the situation.

People ask me if being vegan is difficult. I say no. But on second thought, it is hard--not for the food--but for the truth you have to swallow.

2 comments:

  1. A lot of times, I can't figure out how to talk to people about veganism without alienating them. But I feel like this post does a great job of being succinct and real. If I ever compile a list of my favorite essays on veganism, this would totally be on it. Would you mind?

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  2. Thanks for the compliment! Go right ahead, you're free to use it. =)

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