Monthly Archives: November 2013

What Will You Do?

“Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science I’ve discussed, that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory– disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.”

– Jonathan Safran Foer.

New Undercover Footage at Tyson

You can’t determine if something is morally acceptable unless you know what it is you’re supporting. If you aren’t vegan, this is what you’re supporting.

Feel free to watch and summarize this video for me, because I’m just not doing it. Go vegan and get a free pass: never have to watch horrifying farm animal abuse videos again.

When you buy from Tyson, you are literally supporting this exact cruelty. You are more likely than not doing just the same when buying from other brands. Factory farms account for 99% of the meat sold in this country. Don’t fool yourself into thinking what you buy is any different or more humane.

I’m only speaking very generally because–as previously stated–I am not watching this video. I imagine it features some of the more egregious examples of cruelty–the types of cruelty we all hope are isolated incidents even when they aren’t. It’s easier to sleep at night when we think that this is the exception and not the rule. People can’t really be this horrible. But I remember being sixteen, very much not a vegan or vegetarian, and dating someone who worked for a local hog farm. He enjoyed telling me in graphic detail about finding rotting pig corpses that had been overlooked because there were too few people to manage the number of animals being held captive. He enjoyed making me uncomfortable. Surprisingly (considering what a sociopath he turned out to be), he didn’t enjoy telling me about the piglets he slammed against the concrete or smashed with wooden boards just because they were the runts of their broken family units.

He told me because it weighed on him emotionally and he couldn’t keep it to himself. I told him I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m going to ask that you do as I say and not as I did: Don’t turn a blind eye to suffering when you are contributing to its demand.

If this video–if even the idea of it–disturbs you, then please engage the problem. Don’t look away. It may hurt, emotionally, but you need only glimpse it. You aren’t the one living it. Please watch. Please employ every ounce of empathy at your disposal for these individuals and their plight. Know that you don’t have to be a part of this. Know that there are alternatives and that they are not out of your reach. Take the first step: ORDER A FREE VEGAN STARTER GUIDE.

“We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”

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Throwback Thursday: upsetting image warning

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This is me aged sixteen years. This is me in my high school Advanced Biology class. This is me. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

For those of you who didn’t know me as a non-vegan, or those who have simply forgotten what I was like as a teenager, there it is: reality check.

Every person to ever tell me “I could never be vegan, because I love cheese too much” can basically shut the fuck up now. Does this look like a future vegan? I think I can top you on the apathy scale. DO YOU LOVE BACON? No fucks given. Been there, done that, originality points somewhere in the negatives.

If you had asked sixteen year old me to go vegan, I would’ve asked you “WTF is vegan?” (Followed by “Go away.”) If you had asked me to go vegetarian, I would have told you I could NEVER, because it’s too hard, you know. I would know, I tried it for like… a whole week once.

I would have also said that I love animals. If you had tried to point out the obvious contradiction while I was midway through my first directing role on the set of “Fetal Pig Kama Sutra,” my head may have imploded? I don’t know. I can’t honestly predict what would have happened, because I can’t slip back into that ignorance, and also, I’ve been watching too much sci-fi to be an accurate judge as to whether my head is actually capable of imploding.

Hypothetical responses amount to little though. Here is what actually happened: Less than two years after this photo was taken, I became vegetarian. Five years later, vegan. I’m taking a few story-telling shortcuts here.

Alone this photograph is merely an ugly reminder of humanity’s potential for cruelty and indifference. It’s just a snapshot; it isn’t the full picture. It doesn’t tell what comes after. And after is the best part! It’s somewhat redeeming, though not entirely. I mean, it’s definitely an improvement. It’s good enough.

I have seen my own potential for compassion and change realized. I must have hope that the same potential exists for the rest of humanity.

I keep this photograph around as a reminder to myself when my outlook on humanity is at its bleakest: Hey, don’t hang yourself yet. There’s still hope, even if it doesn’t look like it.

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