Posted by: conradvisionquest | January 6, 2010

This little piggy goes to market…

I remember when I was younger I always thought of those who were vegetarian and vegan as mysterious activists who hated all the meat-eaters.  They were the ones splashing red paint  onto people wearing fur.  They were radical.  Of course, this is not the case of all vegetarians and vegans.  Some are outwardly passionate, but they are also conservative, liberal, peaceful, and everything in between. 

As I lean toward a vegetarian way of life, I realize that I am now that mysterious stranger.  The mystery is simply this: whether for health reasons, ethical reasons, environmental reasons, or all of the above, people who choose not to eat meat are making a conscious decision.  Vegetarians/vegans are not perfect people, just thinking people.  The path of least resistance is to continue eating a diet without question or controversy. 

This was an entry I made a while back on an electronic journal, hence the no capital letters and probably not great sentence structure.  I thought I would free these inner feelings into the web world.  Here goes:

as time goes on, it seems i have become more and more sensitive to other living beings.  not humans so much as animals, however.  this is in part because of my two best (furry) friends, Camille & Elsie, and also because i am continuing to educate myself about the food industry and where the food i put in my mouth comes from.  until now, i didn’t really think about it much.  

after watching a few documentaries about the factory farms in our country and reading up on the subject, i have decided to become vegetarian.  actually, after discovering what goes on in our country’s factory farms, i really don’t have a choice.  i don’t think, in good conscience, i could put a piece of meat in my mouth right now.  i think the only way i could is if it was raised locally and humanely and organically.  

i realized that i had no choice moreso this morning after a seemingly eventless drive to work.  i was running a few minutes behind, which now i wonder if i was meant to so i would see what i saw.  not far from my house, i ended up behind a truck pulling a trailer. inside the trailer were two fat pigs.  they seemed to like the ride ok, and were sniffing out the back of the trailer. then it dawned on me where they were going.  on my usual route to work i pass by the local slaughterhouse.  when i realized this i felt my eyes well up with hot tears as i paid close attention to the pigs in the trailer.  please oh please don’t be going there.  maybe they have been sold and they are going to another farm? maybe they are sick and their owner is taking them to see the doctor? no, my gut was right.  they turned into the driveway of the slaughterhouse, and i lost control of my emotions as the tears now flowed down my face.  i tried to gather myself and pushed the lump in my throat way down.  i could feel the fear that those pigs would face in just a few minutes.  i looked in their eyes as the trailer turned off the main road.  i still fight the feeling as i write these words.  

 i know many people don’t agree with being vegetarian or vegan. for me it is such a personal choice that you can’t convince someone to change their mind.  it’s right in there with politics, abortion, and religion.  people make up their own minds with the information they are given, and they will keep that opinion until they feel otherwise.  i really can’t put into words why i choose this, only to say that it feels right for me.   

with that said, i am vehemently agains factory farming.  if you are going to eat meat, please try to do it locally and organically.  even better if you can visit the farm and see how the animals are treated while they are alive.  i have learned that animals are not objects, not a resource for us to use up, but sentient beings with thoughts and feelings, just like us.

I was surprised by my reaction to this occurence, and the feeling stayed with me for awhile that morning. 

I never would want anyone to think exactly like me (although, that would be kind of interesting, or very boring, ok we’ll settle with FREAKISH).  But I think the world would be a better place for everyone if people started asking questions of themselves and the decisions they make.  Don’t be a robot.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead, anthropologist.

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Responses

  1. Wendy, I love your mind. You are a thoughtful and conscientious human, and the world needs more humans like you. I fully respect your ideas on vegetarianism, because it seems to stem from a genuine place in your heart/mind. That’s why, I think, you don’t sound like some vegans and vegetarians, who look down upon people who choose to eat meat. I can see that you have found a path that is honest, and it’s your own path. My personal view on eating meat is this: I don’t think eating meat is, in itself, ethically or morally wrong. The idea is, I believe, to develop a true gratitude for what one eats, period. One can be a vegetarian or vegan and still have little to no gratitude (because afterall, plants, nuts and seeds were once alive too, and are “killed” to be eaten! Life eats life. It’s apparent everywhere in every form on planet Earth.) This state of mind of gratitude comes from developing one’s soul and spiritual life. If one is vegan/vegetarian, and obsessed with condemning others who choose to eat meat as “not seeing the light” or just plain heathens, then you are missing the point, and are no better than the least conscientious “meat-eater.” When you eat, no matter if it’s a salad, a chicken leg, sushi or a bowl of cereal, whisper a silent prayer of “thank you” to the universe for giving you this food that is to become a part of you. Because those of us who do have food, even if it’s a McDonald’s hamburger, are blessed in great measure for having it. I say this, because more than half of the world’s children are presently suffering from starvation. This is my perspective merely, and since I have tried to display my gratitude, I can eat meat and know that I am not injuring the universe, but becoming a true part of it – the same way that the American Indians ate meat and fish, with a prayer and thanks and deepest gratitude. Then, even the animal you are eating, if it suffered to die so you cold eat it, is honored. And the energy in its flesh which now feeds your flesh, will be positive. And don’t forget (I say this to myself) – someday, we will be the lavish dinner of worms and insects… So ist das Leben.

    • yes, i think if everyone just THOUGHT about their food, instead of mindlessly consuming it, things would be better and people would be happier. although i do not agree with everyone’s choices, i am not going to force my choices on people or (i try not to) judge them. i just think that people need to wake up to life, instead of just going through the motions. that you are grateful for every meal is beautiful. i try and do that, too. thanks for your thoughtful comments, as always!

  2. I had a very similar reaction in the early ’90s when I ended up behind a truck that was literally stuffed with chickens going who knows where. It was very late in the evening and I was schlepping back to university from a Cure concert. While I rarely ate eggs in any recognizable form (omelets, quiche, etc) I decided right then and there not to eat anything that contained so much as a trace of eggs.

    • that’s a great story. i’ve driven alongside those trucks as well, but i just turned away.

      that’s so funny about the Cure… they were my favorite band in high school!
      ~w

      • I honestly don’t know how the people who stuff those trucks full can live with themselves. Now that I have 5 wonderful hens (and we’re in the process of adopting 10-15 more) there is no question that they have individual personalities and I can’t imagine doing them any intentional harm.

        The Cure was my favorite hs band, too! I still wear the tee I got from the Love Song tour (WOW, does that make me feel old). I wore it to yoga class a few weeks ago and one of the students didn’t even know who the band was.

      • ugh, i hate when i reference something from the 80s or 90s and these “kids” don’t know who i’m talking about. it makes me feel 100 years old! i had a cure shirt, but i got rid of it years ago. wish i still had it.
        i dream of one day working at an animal sanctuary or perhaps having a little one myself. that’s so cool that you are helping some lucky hens!
        ~w


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