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Posts Tagged ‘do something!’

I heard this, or variations on this, a lot when I first went vegan. And you know what? Not long ago, I was saying the exact same thing – so I totally get it. I thought I could never, EVER give up my beloved cheese. I used to eat a LOT of cheese – mozzarella, cheddar, blue, pepper-jack, goat cheese – basically any kind of cheese I could find, I would eat. I loved it. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that they can’t imagine me ever giving up my cheese. I mean, I used to have entire parties that were centered around wine and cheese.

Honestly, cheese was one of the reasons I didn’t think I would go vegan. Well, that and milk chocolate, but that’s another story. I thought “ok, maybe just being a really strict vegetarian who eats cheese here and there is enough”. And you know what? That surely would have made a difference. I lowered my carbon footprint significantly just by giving up meat, and in not eating animal flesh, I was saving the lives of countless animals. Awesome, right? Well, I felt pretty good about it, to be honest.

But the longer I kept eating dairy, the worse I felt about it. I was helping a lot of animals, sure, but I was still contributing to the suffering of countless, helpless, beautiful, individual “dairy” cows – cows that I didn’t NEED to harm for my own benefit. I ate cheese because I liked it, and possibly because I was addicted to it. According to research done by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM):

Several scientific teams have shown that the principal protein in cheese, casein, breaks apart during digestion to produce abundant amounts of morphine-like compounds called casomorphins. Biologically, these opiates appear to be responsible for part of the mother-infant bond that occurs during nursing.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Nature designed breast milk to be highly desirable (addictive, even) so that babies will want more of it and can keep growing big and strong. And humans continuing to consume casein in dairy products makes us big too – except we grow fatter, not stronger.

At any rate, the point is that I DID give up cheese. I broke the addiction and finally went vegan and I’ve never felt better. And eating vegan? It’s really not that hard. You just have to commit to it and do a little research and voila! You’re vegan! If you’re struggling to go vegan, just know that the cravings for animal products do go away, and please know that you CAN do it. If I can give up cheese, you can give up anything. Seriously.

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It feels like every time I turn around there’s a new story about animal cruelty surfacing, and each one seems more and more gruesome than the last.  The latest undercover investigation done by PETA on a pig farm in Iowa (a Hormel supplier) is no different.  Descriptions of the cruelty inflicted on the poor pigs at that farm made my stomach turn – I could not force myself to watch the video. I just couldn’t.  The picture at left of a sow that was sprayed in the face with blue paint for 30 seconds because she wouldn’t move was enough for me.  The look on her face just breaks my heart.  If I could go get her right this second, I would….

I honestly don’t know what to say about this.  I cannot fathom what would make a human do the kinds of things that were done to these pigs–

  • A supervisor shoved a cane into a sow’s vagina, struck her on the back about 17 times, and then struck another sow.
  • Multiple pigs were beaten with metal gate rods, and lacerations were found on more than 30 sows – which is probably evidence of more abuse.
  • A worker hit a young pig in the face four times with the edge of a herding board, and investigators witnessed dozens of similar incidents involving this worker and 11 other workers.
  • Two men – including a supervisor – were witnessed jabbing clothespins into pigs’ eyes and faces. A supervisor also poked two animals in the eyes with his fingers.
  • A supervisor kicked a young pig in the face, abdomen, and genitals to make her move and told PETA’s investigator, “You gotta beat on the bitch. Make her cry.”
  • A worker who weighed an estimated 315 lbs. punched a sow on the back three times and said that he sat on a sow’s head.

HOW does one DO these things?  I just don’t get it.

I had the pleasure of meeting a number of pigs at Farm Sanctuary when I visited this past May, and I can tell you that they are some of the sweetest , friendliest animals I have ever met.  I can’t imagine ever hurting them, and yet this is what happens on farms all across the country every single day.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that this level of violence isn’t everywhere, but the fact that it’s anywhere is enough to make me angry.

So, what can we do?  Go to PETA’s website and sign the petition demanding that Hormel follow PETA’s eight-point policy when governing future pig-farming operations.  And, if you’re not already vegan,  think about going vegan – it’s a simple way that you can help animals every single day and stop supporting the industries that inflict such tremendous pain on innocent animals!

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