Stop Being Ignorant
This has been a long time coming, especially after interviewing Ingrid Newkirk from Peta and then getting the final kick up my backside after reading this post here by Taru from World Tour Stories about giving up meat for good. For as long as I can remember I have loved animals. Not just the usual ‘ahh’ how sweet, but proper, unadulterated obsession which leaves my friends/boyfriend staring at me bemused as I fall in love again with pretty much any creature (bar spiders!) no matter how ugly/weird/strange people think they may be. I have also loved, for as long as I can remember, meat. I adore nothing more than a great, big, juicy steak. Or a hamburger. Even the god-awful nuggets from McDonalds that are made from the worst kind of meat. I have always been a meat fanatic. I love the texture, the taste, everything. However, after interviewing Ingrid and then reading Taru’s post, I just didn’t feel that I could carry on doing both.
Why, you ask? Purely because I know exactly what goes on in getting the steak to my restaurant table or into my baguette at lunchtime. Okay, not exactly, but I know it isn’t good. At all. I am all for free-range chicken/meat etc, however most of the food we eat from the supermarket and out and about, if we haven’t been to the butchers ourselves and chatted to the owner and know that the cow they’re selling once lived a great life and was killed humanely, how do we know where it has come from? And if it’s in a baguette selling cheaply in the corner shop, you can bet your bottom dollar it hasn’t had the best of lives and it’s the cheapest of cheap meats. Same goes for restaurants. They want to buy food cheaply and then sell it on at a price while making the most profit. You don’t get the most profit by buying the best meat (in most cases), which will be the most expensive because it means that the animal has had a good life.
As Taru explains very eloquently in her post, the world we live in today is very different to the days of cavemen. “The difference is that the caveman went out to hunt his food himself and never took more of mother nature than what was needed to feed him and his peers. No terrible fourteen day delivery needed in inhuman conditions where animals are packed onto each other gasping for air. No force-feeding the rabbit to give the hunter a more enjoyable meal”. I naively still told myself, up until interviewing Ingrid, that what I was doing was ‘part of nature’ and if I didn’t eat meat then we’d be overrun with animals. This simply isn’t true because surprise surprise it’s us humans that are breeding these farm animals at overwhelming rates to feed our insatiable desire. And then, 9/10 they will live terrible lives and be killed inhumanely, also.
Even worse, my Mum’s friend was talking to me the other day and told me that she’d read that the reason for so many young girls these days starting puberty earlier and earlier is because of the supermarket chicken people buy, that has been so pumped full of hormones that it is inducing puberty early. How disgusting is that?
I don’t judge anyone who eats meat and vegetarianism is a big, big change for me which I’m not taking lightly. If I really cared I suppose you would say I should go all out and go vegan – however that’s a little far at the moment and I don’t want to try and cut everything out and then give up too soon. I am really trying to take this seriously for the first time in my life, and I am actually finding myself actively avoiding meat in supermarkets and in sandwiches etc. I have almost gone off the thought of meat and I’m not sure how that happened. I’ve seen so many hundreds of horrendous images of badly treated animals, but like most things these days I think we’ve become desensitized. It was the simple words of Taru which gave me the nudge. Perhaps coming from someone like her, and not the head of Peta (which is what you would expect), it opened my eyes that instead of sitting around getting upset about how animals are treated, I am no better sitting around eating meat saying “Oh it won’t make a difference to anything if I stop eating it” Maybe it will. Things don’t get done in this world by people sitting around saying they won’t make a difference because in the end it is actually us the consumer who really, truly, is in control.
I hope I can keep this up, because I do believe in it. Sometimes the stunts Peta pulls are extreme and there has been bad press about them lately – as there has, sadly, about the RSPCA and the euthenisation of healthy animals, however that still doesn’t change the fact that they are right in saying that animals are victims to our meat obsession.
Anyway, this post won’t be for everybody. But I just had to write down what I’ve finally come to realise, rather late. I’ll let you know how it goes. If nothing else, I think you should go and watch this video on Taru’s post.
I’d love to know – have you recently turned veggie/vegan? Any great recipes to share?