Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Reminder to Myself Why I Stopped Eating Meat, and Started Eating Plants!


Lisa and I were driving from Atlanta to State College, PA yesterday for the Arts Festival at Penn State and to visit her family in Pittsburgh.

Along the drive I saw something that was a quick reminder about why I chose over two years ago to stop eating meat, switching to a plant-based diet and a much more compassionate lifestyle.

On the highway ahead of us was a huge truck with some "farms" logo on the side. It had about 6-8 levels and small slits along the side so you could see in. It was a horrible site. It was full of tiny baby pigs packed on top of each other.

Some of their noses were sticking out of the openings, some of their legs were hanging out. There was no room for them to move, and they were literally piled on top of each other. It was one of the most saddening, disturbing things I've ever seen. You see the videos and pictures online, and in documentaries, but to see it up close and personal was horrible and something I will not easily forget.

This was a painful reminder of why I chose to adopt a more compassionate lifestyle and a plant-based diet.

I try so hard not to sound like I'm standing on a soapbox, as I ate meat for many years. Once I realized what was involved with what was ending up on my dinner plate, I had enough, the idea that we have to have meat to survive is just that, an idea. There are plenty of people, from regular health-conscious people all the way up to highly competitive athletes that not only survive, but thrive, on a plant-based diet. In addition there is plenty of evidence backing up the health benefits of this way of eating.

Like I said, I try not to get too preachy about this stuff, as I was a meat eater for a long time. But sometimes when I hear the arguments of why we "need" meat, I shake my head, as I used to be the one making those arguments. Plus I can't see how people can say they are animal lovers yet still eat meat. I see no difference between the life of a pig or cow and my dog Kizar. I guess some people are brainwashed that some animals are food and others aren't. These same people get disgusted by other cultures who eat animals we consider domestic pets. I find it all disgusting personally.

Sure people like to talk about how even vegans who eat a plant-based diet disrupt the eco-system due to farming practices, and some animals end up losing their lives in the process, but are you going to honestly tell me that a family of moles that is forced to relocate due to farming land is the same thing as slaughtering pigs and cows? Sure, there is an indirect effect on the environment, and it is very hard to get through daily life without coming into contact with some type of animal product related commodity. But the heart of a conscious change to a cruelty-free lifestyle is doing the best you can to cause the least amount of harm. I even had someone one day trying to tell me there was no difference in the life of a plant and the life of an animal. Somehow picking an apple off of an apple tree was just as humane as killing an animal to him.

I try to tell myself that right now, everyone is just doing the best they can at the level of consciousness they have attained. But when I see things like I saw yesterday, and realize the horror that goes on in the modern farming industry-and please save me the argument about "sustainable, organically farmed meat", any animal that has a pre-determined expiration date is NOT humanely treated-it makes me very sad.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. I feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants. I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species." -Mahatma Gandhi


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