Sunday, August 21, 2011

Most people would take the blue pill.

In the movie, The Matrix, Keanu Reeves’ character is given the choice between taking the red pill which will show him truth and reality or taking the blue pill, which will keep him in his dream-like world. Of course, he chooses the red pill and finds out that everything he thought was real and true .. isn’t.

I too have taken the red pill.  Once you take the red pill.. there is no turning back and you cannot stick your head back in the sand. You suddenly realize that everything you’ve been taught, doesn’t make sense anymore.

When it comes to the animals and animal products we eat, most people will happily take the blue pill so they can go on living in their idyllic fantasy world. It’s a world where cows frolic happily in green pastures on sunny days and wander lazily across open acres. It’s where pigs roll around in mud puddles and sleep the days away under big trees. It’s where chickens are allowed to run free, roost in nests and enjoy taking dirt baths.

In truth, 99% of the animals and animal products you consume come from factory farms.  ‘Life’ on a factory farm is anything but idyllic.

For cows that will become steaks and hamburgers, they are packed into muddy, grass free feed lots and forced to eat grains, which is not their natural diet.  They are pumped full of antibiotics to fend off the diseases they get from not eating a proper diet and are given growth hormones so they get bigger than normal to produce more meat. They are stressed and frightened. When slaughter time comes they are herded thru a building where they get a bolt to the head (and if they are lucky it will knock them out but that isn’t always the case) and are hung from their feet, throat slit and allowed to bleed out and they are disemboweled while still alive. Pigs suffer a similar fate. Breeder pigs are kept in a small cage where they can’t even turn around and are forced to produce babies that enter the system.

For dairy cows, the horrors are two-fold … in order for a cow to give milk, they must be pregnant (just like a human) so they are forcibly raped and impregnated by a man with a syringe only to have their baby stolen from them at birth so humans can steal the baby’s milk. Mother and baby are distraught at the separation. The baby girls are put into the system to become milk cows and the baby boys are tossed into small, dark crates to become veal. When dairy cows are ‘spent’ after about 5 years (even though the average life span of a cow is over is 20 years) they will  be slaughtered for meat.

Chickens you eat are fattened up with hormones so they can’t even walk. They are packed into cages and taken to slaughter where they are first hung by their feet and are passed thru a neck slicing station (many chickens manage to survive that part) and are then dropped into scalding hot water (some are still alive), their feathers are torn out and then they are butchered.

Egg laying chickens lead an even more horrible life. Packed by pairs (or more) into crates no larger than a piece of paper, they are injected with hormones to over produce eggs. Wild hens naturally lay about 17 eggs a YEAR. Hens in a factory farm lay daily. Chickens are debeaked, a horrific practice where the sharp tips of their beaks are sliced off in order to prevent them from pecking one another to death in their close quarters due to the stress. In the hatchery, boy chickens are removed from the group and considered ‘by product’ since they cannot lay eggs and they are not profitable. They are tossed into large hoppers and ground up alive and used as feed meal in dog food and very often are fed back to the other chickens in their feed.

You may think ‘free range’ or ‘cage free’ is better but it really isn’t. Chickens are never housed outside in the fresh air. All cage free means is that they are housed in a large, enclosed building.  

There is no such thing as ‘humane slaughter’. Perhaps if we euthanized feed animals as we do our beloved pets and death row criminals, (a drug that puts them to sleep and another that stops their hearts), then maybe that would be a little easier to swallow but that would be expensive and time consuming. Killing something is never humane.

Some people think it’s ok to eat animals if they come from independent family farms. While it’s possible the smaller farms aren’t injecting their animals with hormones and aren’t cruel to their animals and may even have them housed in an outdoor pasture with real grass, the fact remains that the butchering is usually done by the same slaughterhouses that do the factory farming slaughters. Even if it isn’t, that animal is still terrified and treated in a cruel manner in the final moments of its life. I just don’t know how anyone can justify eating a being under that kind of stress and fear. That can’t be ok for your soul or your karma.

It might make you feel better eating eggs from a local farm where they don’t feed their chickens hormones or keep them in cages but the reality is that eggs are not healthy and shouldn’t be eaten anyway. Consuming flesh, milk, cheese and other dairy products is bad for your health. It’s documented. It’s fact. It’s killing you and the ones you love.

Take the red pill.

Educate and enlighten yourself.  Be brave enough to step up and be willing to really learn about the food you put into your body. Don’t be the person that sticks their head in the sand and says “I don’t want to know!” I’m not saying you have to give up eating animals and animal products but I’d like you to see the truth and the reality and then make an informed choice. I’m pretty sure anyone that has done that has switched to a plant based diet. The horrors are real. The science is real. The reality is shocking and sad but you can make a difference in your life and in your health and you can find a quiet peace within yourself if you stop contributing to slaughter and fear and suffering and pain.

There is no reason to eat animals or animal products. There is no health reason to eat animals or animal products. Whatever it is you want to eat, there is a plant based alternative.  

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