Monday, June 1, 2009


I don't know where I thought my hamburgers came from or why I never thought about it before this. I am embarrassed to say that it took me this long in my life to finally be an "inquiring mind" about the slaughter of animals for our food. I guess I am guilty of closing my eyes to things that would horrify me and thinking that they will just go away. I know at scary movies, I close my eyes and have the person sitting next to me let me know when it is okay to open 'em again.

Suffice it to say, I just finished reading a book about the slaughtering process, both kosher and not, given to me by a vegan friend with a mission. I knew all the stuff about the dangerous chemicals we ingest from these foods, but I figured that life itself gives us a number of pollutants even in the most innocent things or activities. But when I read the graphic descriptions of what happens in a slaughterhouse, I made up my mind then and there that no further animals will die so I can eat their carcass.

Biblically, I am on sound ground. I do believe that God meant for us to be vegetarians. In Genesis 1:29 we read: God said, "Behold, I have given you every seed bearing plant on the face of the earth, and every tree that has seed bearing fruit. It shall be to you for food. For every beast of the field, every bird of the sky, and everything that walks the land, that has in it a living soul, all plant vegetation shall be food." This seems clear to me. In my opinion, the change in dietary direction given after the flood, was a concession to the human appetite for eating animals, birds and fish, (ie, if you are going to do it, do it if such a thing can be kind.)

I am going to spare you the gory details of what I read last week; they are so horrifying to my spirit, that I cannot even write them in my journal. If you need further eye-opening, I understand that the PETA website has graphic video clips. I need no further eye-opening.

What I will share with you is something I know, and knew, and must have blinked when I purchased these slaughtered animals, birds and fish. (if you need citations, email me.)

Researchers discovered that cows actually nurture friendships and bear grudges. One study showed cows displaying excitement while solving intellectual challenges.

Chickens are as smart as mammals, including some primates. They are good learners and learn by watching the mistakes of others. A PBS documentary revealed chickens' love for television and music; another study showed that they could use switches and levers to change the temperature of their surroundings.

Pigs can play video games. They have been tested as more intelligent than dogs and three year old humans.

Anatomically, physiologically and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and animals.

And I once saw someone toss a lobster in a pot of boiling water, and it screamed, and jumped out and began hopping around the kitchen floor. Didn't that happen to Diane Keaton in Annie Hall too?

Actually, I think the above is enough for me. I only wish I could call up the meat, fowl, and fish packing plants and tell them NOT to kill my portion of these critters. Too bad I can't just buy my portion live each year and send them to a rescue.

Of course, being a carnivore for all but the last 3 days, I am left with the big question: NOW WHAT?
I have given myself a digestive "situation" by eating fruits and berries, nuts and veggies the last 3 days. My body is obviously in a state of shock, but I understand that this too shall pass, no pun intended.

Do I think I can go cold-turkey, so to speak, or cold-cattle? Habits are indeed hard to change. And I am rightfully, truly, and embarrassingly shocked that it took so long for me to even wonder how the neat little packages of food got to the supermarket -- for that, I apologize and atone. But on this one, I am betting on me. In a weak moment, I know I can log on to PETA and horrify myself if my memory lapses.

It certainly makes Kashrut easier!

1 comment:

Jandi said...

Congratulations, dear one! You have not only taken a big step toward a healthier you, but a healthier planet, too. I read a great quote recently: "No one who still eats meat can call him/herself an environmentalist." Not only does meat eating support a hideously cruel industry, it pollutes the planet big time.

There are plenty of good things to eat. That isn't the tough part of your decision. The difficult part will be answering the inevitable questions from the as-yet-uninformed (or just unconscious) meat eaters. They will ask, But what do you eat?! Best answer I've come up with: Plants. Second most common question: But where do you get your protein? Again the best answer is: Plants. And don't worry, plants have plenty of protein. If you doubt me just Google "vegan bodybuilders" and see the well-muscled results. You can also tell the doubters that the steak they enjoy was raised on a vegetarian diet.