I have been thinking about this for such a long time, this being becoming a vegetarian. It’s something that has never sat well with me right from an early age, but as with most things, it is just something that you do and something that happens. It was only when I started to look deeper into the meat industry that I really couldn’t ignore the information in my head any longer. My heart just wouldn’t let me. I promise I will not show you the cruelty via images or videos in this post, but I may explain somethings that make you unhappy. But these are my reasons and the first steps of my new journey #VegeLover. I mean look at the cuteness of the little piglet!
Gone are the days where I thought all farm yard animals had happy lives, running around a field with the breeze on their backs. Used for meat, only when they die of old age. I thought this was the case up until 6 months or so ago, naive I know! This is why I have started on this journey, I feel guilty when I eat meat and I can’t do it anymore. I know it is going to be incredibly hard as the world around me eats meat but I don’t need to and for me thats one less reason for these animals to be kept in such awful conditions. To be completely truthful if I had my own hens, laying eggs, then I would eat them. This is because I know they would have been looked after and not subjected to the brutality that they go through for the “business” reasons out there, factories and warehouses, mass production and getting the costs down.
A little history
Some of you may already know, I am incredibly fussy for strange reasons, but I am. I have grown up eating sausages, bacon, chicken, turkey and eggs. I ate beef sparingly, but would eat it. I would never enjoy it unless it was an expensive cut of non fatty meat – but I would eat it none the less. I have never eaten lamb or duck, (I may have eaten lamb as a wee nipper, but not in my teens or adult life) and I refuse to eat baby cow’s or bambi’s (I think I tried it once not realising 100% what it was and made me feel sick afterwards). So there you go, I am a fussy one. The reasons I do not eat those meats is because it would torture me. I never have really understood why it was OK for me to eat chicken, but not lamb. I can only think its because that how I was raised, with chicken and a little pork/beef on the menu. My feelings over the past few months have changed, increasingly so that I just don’t want to eat any of it anymore.
I started seeing videos on PETA’s website about how the hen industry treat their animals, hens laying eggs are basically machines to these money makers. They spend their lives in cages, or large football pitch sized factories and are forced to lay eggs everyday until they are no longer needed and yes, get killed. This is only about two years, of what usually is a ten year life span – just because they are now useless to the business! One of the most horrific pieces of information I picked up when looking into this is the way male chickens are handled. Not shipped off to another place to be used a chicken meat or given to farms or anything positive, they are simply crushed at a day old, whilst they are still alive. I can only describe it as a mangle type contraption that you would squeeze clothes through to dry. A big metal horrible thing. Crushed. Gone. Why? There is no blinking need for it. Would you put a human baby through a crushing tool? No. Why is it OK to do it to other living beings? These are the horrific questions that I keep wanting to answer, but just simply cannot.
I did think free range was OK, until I read further that actually it doesn’t mean anything! They often do not go outside, just see a bit of daylight through a peep hole and the chickens in the middle of the football pitch sized factory will almost never reach those peep holes. So how is that free range? The kindest thing for us to do is to stop eating eggs, which I know most people wouldn’t want to do, but thats the bottom line. No mass market, no need to treat these chucks in that way!
Much the same reasons as above: free range isn’t free range and other scary thoughts like how the rise in chicken consumption has led to a rise in these superbugs. Did you know 92% of all chicken sold is covered in poop? Yummy. Not. I had gone through a stage of getting hubby to buy meat with the red tractor symbols on it, so that I knew it hadn’t come from completely horrific places, but even that is not something I trust anymore. Even red tractor labels means the animals are killed without pain killer, living in cramped conditions and not fed real food. Why would you want to eat chicken that isn’t real chicken? I just don’t get it. Its a horribly quick process, so the business aspect stays lucrative! Horrible.
When I looked into the above, I couldn’t help but look into the meat industry too and oh my goodness the horrific lives and ways these poor animals die is just heart breaking. I have seen some horrible footage, not all in the UK may I add, but still horrifying. Animals beaten with instruments, kicked, punched, not stunned properly before their necks are sliced open (so they wriggle on the hooks in pain). Its not nice. Sorry, I did warn you my descriptions may not be very happy ones. Pigs living conditions are soul destroying, piglets rotting around their mothers, if the piglets are lucky enough to still be with their mother and the mothers caged so that all they can do is lie and be a milk bottle for however long. They are fed drugs to make them oversized, unnaturally so and live in such cramped conditions. Only for a few months and then sent to slaughter. Its like people just don’t care about these animals but they are going to be killed anyway, they’ve become objects and objects of business, not living things with feelings. Cows most probably never see the outside of a factory, pigs too, animals are collapsing from exhaustion and to top it off because workers are overworked and tired, they often don’t shoot the cows in the head with a bolt to stun them, so these cows are skinned and dismembered whilst still conscious – kicking and screaming. Why?
I found this quote on the PETA website and it just says it all to me:
“There are many stories of cows making extraordinary dashes for freedom on their way to the abattoir, by jumping from moving trucks, leaping fences and swimming across rivers – because animals value their lives just as we do.”
For some reason, I haven’t had the same feelings about fish as I have about meat (yet), so I guess for the time being I am kind of a pescatarian and I am not adverse to eating fish as much as I am with meat, but I will eat it sparingly. I will eat it if a friend or someone serves it up to me, but on the whole out of choice I will choose to eat the vegetable and bean dishes. It is a first step of this transition, which is quite an overwhelming transition may I add. But I am on the hunt for that sentence now “suitable for vegetarians”.
I know it will take some time to get to the point where I can eat guilt free, but for now in baby steps I am changing my lifestyle and the way that I eat. I am more aware of the processes around me and how animals end up on plates and I just cannot do it anymore. It breaks my heart. I hate the way dairy farms look after, or not so, their animals and I hate the way sheep for wool are looked after too – its disgusting. Why are people like this? Heartless and just horrible! I will not be buying leather again, if I can help it and I will be making an effort to research the products I use too. I have just had enough.
I have an array of cookbooks, recipes and a wealth of websites and blogs with wonderful recipes on them, I have a lot to read and research but I am really looking forward to it. Sorry if I upset anyone with this, but I did warn you and if you don’t believe me you only have to google the words slaughterhouses to get a heap of footage that will instantly show it isn’t like you envisage.