On Vegetarianism (pt. 1).

I have been an omnivore most of my life.  I would say about 2 years ago I decided to become a pescatarian (the only meat I consumed was seafood) and about a year ago I decided to become a vegetarian.  I honestly see myself becoming a vegan at some point next year even.  I’m working on reducing the amount of dairy I consume (I like cream in my coffee and goddamnit cheese and yogurt are amazing).

Oftentimes I feel like Vegans and Veggies alike get a bad wrap.  You know that joke, “How do you know there’s a vegan at your party? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” HAHAHAHAHA.  It’s true vegans and veggies are proud.  Why shouldn’t they be?  They’re helping animals and the environment.  I’ve always found it funny that if you find a meme or article on Facebook or something that mentions having a plant-based diet WITHOUT FAIL you will get a bunch of people bashing veganism or vegetarianism.  That’s why I find that joke funny.  I find it’s the other way around.  It’s usually a bunch of people giving YOU a hard time for YOUR choice to not consume meat. Yes, sometimes people who are passionate are in your face about it but really that post about the “Vegan Butcher Shop” isn’t for you fucking carnivores.  It’s for Vegans and Vegetarians and for people who are interested in making the switch to a more plant based diet.  I’m one of those people that isn’t terribly open about my vegetarianism. This post is the most open I’ve been about it.  Most of the time it only comes up when ordering food with people.  I am also one to not bash or disown people who want to eat meat.  If you want to eat meat fine, that’s your choice.  However, the one thing I wish is that everyone would just educate themselves on how their meat is produced and then decide whether they want to continue eating it.

The reason I decided to become a vegetarian was because I educated myself on the history of factory farming.  I watched documentaries on it.  I scoured the magical interwebs on articles for and against factory farming.  For a short while that consumed my life.  After watching those documentaries and reading those articles, I have decided that I cannot consume any meat.  I don’t think that I could physically put a burger in my mouth and eat it (I say I don’t think, because I haven’t tried but I don’t really want to).

I completely disagree with factory farming.  I would even go as far as to say that I would not necessarily be against humans consuming meat IF it could be guaranteed that the animal was raised in a healthy environment where it was able to live a good life and then was killed humanely.  In order to raise animals for consumption like that the animal needs to have A LOT of space and also be fed a proper diet.  However in order for that to happen… Americans need to eat LESS meat. They would also have to pay more for that quality meat. The demand for meat is so high that you cannot produce enough meat in those conditions, which is why factory farming exists.

Americans want to eat meat with practically every goddamn meal and they definitely want it cheap. Because of this companies needed to find a way to mass produce meat.  Thus the factory farm was born.  Factory farming is HORRIBLE and if you have ANY compassion for animals you would see that.  Factory Farming is the stuff that PETA shares (no I am not a member of PETA nor do I plan on becoming one.  I disagree with their tactics is all) and while I agree they can be aggressive it’s true.  Basically in order to yield the amount of meat that Americans demand each year we have to raise cattle/poultry/pork quickly and make them real fat.  In order to do this animals are forcibly inseminated to produce offspring which are then raised on these factory farms.  They are fed corn/grain because it is cheap and will fatten up cows and chickens and pigs quickly so they can be slaughtered.  The amount of people I tell this to that do not realize that COWS DO NOT EAT CORN is a little alarming.  Cows are supposed to eat GRASS but that won’t make them fat fast enough which is why they are fed corn on factory farms.  Same thing with pigs and chickens.  Chickens eat grass and bugs and pigs eat plants and vegetables (Although I think pigs are omnivores naturally consuming smaller animals, pet pigs are usually fed plants and fruits as a diet).  Let’s also not forget by feeding the animals this diet it’s easier to pump them full of hormones and antibiotics.

So, where are we?  Right we are forcing animals to have offspring and we are raising that offspring on factory farms where they are fed a shitty diet to make them fat faster.  Sometimes the chickens grow SO FAST (because everyone wants a really big chicken breast for dinner right!?) and their breasts grow so big because of the hormones they pump into them that the chickens actually can’t move.  Their legs will not support them so they can’t even move around.  They basically are immobile and sit around on the ground while waiting to die.  Oh and as a side note if you are a chick born in a hatchery at a dairy farm and you are born a boy chick you actually get thrown away.  Like tossed in a bag and thrown in the garbage because you can’t produce eggs.

Did that make you uncomfortable?  I hope so.  It made me uncomfortable the first time I was subjected to that.  There is so much more including deforestation and the destruction of our planet.  Because remember we need LAND to raise these animals and we also need land to grow the corn we force them to eat.  There is so much more about that but that will have to be for another time as there are other things I want to touch on.

So basically the quality of life of these animals is crappy.  All because most people need to eat meat for all 3 meals each day.  Not only that but the way they slaughter these animals is unacceptable.  They will throw a pig into a vat of boiling water while it’s half alive so that they can remove the hair easier.  The animal isn’t even dead when it’s put into boiling water.  Someone secretly filmed that and I had to see it with my own eyes.  Let’s get into meatpacking though.  Because not only are these animals treated poorly the people who are working in meatpacking plants are treated just as bad.  Many of these people are undocumented immigrants so they are constantly subjected to animal blood and guts and feces.  Often these workers get sick or injured on the job.  However they are undocumented so they cannot get treated.  The workers are provided housing… but there’s 20 people to a house with 2 rooms.  These meatpacking plants skirt by because they will let ICE come in and take some of the workers at their “homes” and deport them for being here illegally.  But it’s funny how the meatpacking plant itself isn’t raided.  You’d think that would be a jackpot right!?  Wrong, then the plant would shut down and Americans would have a meat shortage or something. [insert dollar signs here].

Just knowing that all of this goes into me being able to buy meat in bulk and for cheap is just not worth it.  Not only are these poor animals suffering the human beings that are working to package it so I can buy it… are treated just as poorly.  Is having hamburger for $2/lb really worth that?  I don’t think it is.  I haven’t eaten meat for about a year and I’m doing just fine.  There are even products that you can buy that will give you that familiar meat taste and texture as you are transitioning to a more plant-based diet.  Those things do not exist solely for vegetarians and vegans.  They exist so people can more easily transition their diet.  So my question is if there are good and delicious cruelty free alternatives out there, why not?  Why continue the suffering of animals and the poor treatment of meatpacking employees when you can get a “burger” made out of wheat and soy that tastes just as good?  I understand that NO ONE wants to be inconvenienced.  And removing a large staple, such as meat and animal products, from your diet is terribly inconvenient.  Just start by reducing the amount of meat you consume.  Instead of having meat for breakfast lunch and dinner, have it just for lunch and dinner.  Anything is a step in the right direction.

And again, I’m not here to tell you that you are a horrible person for consuming meat.  If you’ve read all this and seen those documentaries and are still okay with eating meat, then by all means, go right ahead.  However if you are interested in adopting a more plant-based diet I strongly suggest you watch the following documentaries: Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc and Food Matters.  A couple of those are a little more about how a plant based diet can improve overall health as well.  If you are interested in trying meatless meats and cheeseless cheeses I also urge you to check out the Herbivorous Butcher.  They are based in Minneapolis so if you live where I do stop in to their shop. They also ship anywhere in the US so you can eat the amazing food they offer even if you are viewing my blog from 1000 miles away.  The meat and cheese alternatives that Herbivorous Butcher provides taste AMAZING and I feel the pricing is similar to what you would pay for “free range” or “organic grass-fed” meats.  I don’t feel it is expensive but if you are used to getting a lb of hamburger for $3, this would be more like $12 for a pound.  I go there once a week to pick up things for my meal prepping.  Check out: The Herbivorous Butcher Website.

Hopefully that was enlightening for most of you.  Or maybe you hate me.  Either way that’s up to you!

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