Monday, November 15, 2010

An Imperfect Vegan

We know some people are wonderin' why our humans are vegans, but yet feed us an (organic home-made) diet of meats, veg, fruits & supplements. My Mom will clarify & hopefully, change some of you humans' perspective of eating animals.

1st of all, for those whom are curious & would love to do your part for animals & our environment, do spare some time to read "EATING ANIMALS" by Jonathan Safran Foer. Available at most local libraries as well. We're also giving away copies of it.

Pardon me for my naivety, but I do believe that vegans & vegetarians alike are doing their tiny part in helpin' our dyin' planet. For every vegan in this world, there's probably another million omnivorous humans whom are un-aware of the consequences of eating animals, specifically BATTERY/FARMED animals. Other than health issues associated with saturated fats & protein from meats & their by-products, consuming meats have led to famine & poverty in less-developed countries. Rice that's needed to feed livestock (which ends up on your plates) are purchased from them & people are actually dying from famine from poverty. Greenhouse gases like methane produced from millions of cows is also the No. 1 cause of global warmin'.

I believe that with awareness & knowledge, more people will have the heart & compassion to either switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet, or simply reduce the amount of meat consumption. It is similar to the story of the boy saving a starfish, "You cannot save ALL the stranded starfish, but you will make a difference to the life of the one you've saved."

Humans can thrive very well w/o meats. With our sedantary modern lifestyle, most of us can never utilize our protein/fats (from meats) with our daily activities, unlike thousands of years ago where our early humans had to hunt for their own food, whereby much energy is needed everyday. Most importantly, they WORKED for their kill, & provided an instant death to their food.

What about now in our modern society with almost 7 billion people? People no longer hunt, people no longer run on foot from places to places, people depend on modern transportation. Why on earth would you need that much protein & fats?

And where does our food for 7 billion people come from? Factory farms & battery cages.

"Factory farming is the modern practice of raising animals for food in extreme confinement, in order to maximize profits. In addition to intense confinement, abuses usually associated with factory farming include massive doses of hormones and antibiotics, battery cages, debeaking, tail docking, gestation crates, and veal crates. The animals spend their entire lives in these miserable conditions until they are slaughtered. Their suffering is unimaginable."

Workers constantly tortuse, abuse & SEXUALLY abuse the factory-farmed animals. Why? Perversion. I don't think I've to mention much... if you even bother to know the inconvenient truth, there's tonnes of videos online & books on these.

Lets move on to why as a vegan, yet I still purchase organic meats for my animals.

I think its pretty obvious which set of teeth belongs to whom

While cats are carnivores by nature, dogs are omnivores. They CAN do well on a vegan or vegetarian diet, no doubt about that as one of the world's oldest dog was on a vegetarian diet whom died at around 28 years old or so.

But I perosnally wouldn't choose to deprive my bitches of their meats. They also have organic blended vegetables (more than 10 different vegetables & herbs at one go) as well as their organic home-made supplement aside from their organic meats. I prefer to stick to organic meats (Singapore only has organic chicken & kangaroo meat) as they're healthier w/o any antibiotics, growth-hormones etc. Although I know that organic free range animals' meats might suffer almost the same fate as their conventional counterparts. But I feel that is the least I could do. I'm also not confident of concocting a balanced vegan diet for my bitches in Singapore where there's limited kinds of greens available here.

Most vegans & vegetarians do not want to deal with blood or come in contact with any form of meats & prefer kibbles/canned food (commercial dog food) over raw meats. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that these foods also contain animal products or by-products, of which (most likely) come from factory-farms. Thus, it's a really simple scenario & choice here -
both options involve animals, its up to you which of the two you prefer. I personally prefer to feed them raw organic foods w/o any artificial ingredients. And most importantly, I know EXACTLY what goes into their stomaches everyday. Though they're not fresh-kills, but like I said, its simply a matter of makin' the better of two choices.

For our treats that we sell, it is not possible that organic meats be used because an organic whole chicken costs S$28/kg (our price we get from our supplier, thus, per whole organic chicken is approx. S$35+. It is sold at S$70 per chicken in supermarkets). Same thing as above, rather than choosin' artificial & preservatives laded commercial treats, we'd rather dogs have the healthier version free of the above. Let's face it, there's no commerical vegan treats available for them here, all of them are derived one way or another from animals. Again, it's making a better choice out of two.

[Believe me when I say I feel very guilty (towards the dead animal) whenever I feed my bitches their organic meats. All I can say is that they are dogs, animals, & animals possess the rights to eat animals - Just look at their teeth as compared to ours. Maybe one day... I can find the ability to switch them to a vegan diet, but til then, my heart & mind are leadin me to the current direction now. Their organic meats/bones intake is only 110g per dog a day, their organic veg/fruits intake is no less (sometimes more) than the former. Yes, I've minimized their meats/bones intake even though they weigh only 5kg & jog 5km (per day), 5 days a week with me. I'm already doing my best for them, for the organic chicken (40g meat + 20g bones), organic beef (40g) & salmon belly (10g) that they eat daily]

It doesn't take a genius to figure it is of more importance that humans take the initiative to switch to a vegan/vegetarian diet OR reduce their consumption of meats considerin' the ratio of domesticated animals : humans in the world. If every human plays their part, if everyone became vegan or vegetarian, or even reduce their daily meat intake, imagine the total positive impact on our planet.

I clearly recall a video on a vegan mother with her newborn. Of which she very briefly mentioned why it's wrong to eat animals & their by-products (milk, eggs). She said that her breastmilk is meant only for her own baby & no one else, likewise a cow's milk meant for her precious calf only. Why are we stealin' her milk & robbin' her calf away from her? It's just morally wrong. I think this simple statement sends out a very strong message... more so especially for breastfeeding mothers to relate to.

Others would say animals are meant to be eaten even if humans do not eat them. It is true. But think about it, preys in the wild are NEVER wasted from their fur to their bones. How much of an animal do humans discard of just for their MEATS? We do not have the ability to gnaw through bones like carnivores, nor swallow a prey whole with their fur. Most importantly, animals work for their kill, they die a humane death (there is a fine line between the act of KILLING & the act of TORMENT & ABUSE). What rights have we humans to CREATE flightless birds (oh did you know turkeys could fly?) in battery cages, birds made to grow twice their size in half the time that their feeble legs can no longer take their weight, birds that never get to spread their wings nor see daylight in their entire (but short) lifetime, male (chicks) layers are gassed simply for being born as males & not being able to lay eggs... we've no rights to... just because we're humans.

I find it very interestin' when people come proclaimin' proudly to me that they're animal-lovers when they eat cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, lambs, fishes, endangered animals like sharks (fins) etc. Would like to share this statement by Andrew Kirschner (a vegan & volunteer animal rights activist):

'‎'I tell people who say they love animals and eat them (and have been educated about the process): You don't love animals. You love your dog. You hate cows. You hate pigs. You hate chicken. You hate fish. If you loved them (or even cared just a little about them), you would never pay factory farmers to inhumanely confine, torture, and kill them so you could eat them when you don't need to eat them to survive.'' - Andrew Ⓥ Kirschner

Did you know pigs are as smart as dogs & possess the ability to learn anything a dog can? Did you know chickens are social creatures just like dogs? Pardon me, I'd like to share more inspirin' articles by Andrew... if you're patient enough... do read on below for more.

Would God really want factory farms & battery chickens to exist? & humans exploiting them?

If you wouldn't eat your dog or cat, why eat that cow, chicken, duck, fish etc? Speciesism - Speciesism is the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership

MAN are apes. This comic speaks a thousand words

If Chickens Could Speak by Andrew Kirschner

I am a chicken.
I have the same five senses as you: I can see, smell, touch, hear, and taste.
I experience pain, misery, loneliness, and happiness.
I like to socialize and enjoy time with my family and friends.
I am intelligent and follow a pecking order.
I can recognize other chickens by sight and smell.
I nest and nurture my young.
I chirp dozens of vocalizations and speak my own language.
I have a long term memory.
I like to sit in trees.
I run towards food because I enjoy eating.
I am scared of loud noises.
I have a purpose in this world just like you and yet
I am the most disrespected and mistreated animal on the face of the earth.
I am a chicken.

The majority of humans show no regard for my life.
They ascribe no reason for my existence beyond being tortured and killed for food.
They show me no mercy but ask for it for themselves and those they love, including their own animals they keep as pets.
I wonder how they can say that they can't watch someone slaughter me
but can still bring themselves to pay someone to do it and eat me.
I wonder if they will ever see the irony of calling themselves animal lovers while they eat animals.
I bet if they met me and got to know me
and held me on their lap
they wouldn't eat me.

I am a chicken.
I am crowded in a warehouse where I am unable to move freely my entire life.
I do not ever see the light of day or breathe fresh air unless I am being transported in a truck where I will often die from cold weather exposure or heat stroke.
I sleep in my own feces or the feces from cages above that fall on my head.

Factory farmers mislead you into believing I am treated humanely by telling you that I am free-range.
Don’t believe them.
They abuse me in ways that would shock you.
"Free-range" or "cage-free" means that instead of putting me in a cage,
I am packed on a sordid warehouse floor where I live with thousands of other chickens in less than a square foot of space for each of us.
You're told I'm cage-free so you will feel less guilty and so the factory farmers can charge you more money and increase their profits.
The cruelty is the same.

My beak is cut off with a hot blade.
It is excruciating pain.
I do not receive anesthesia.
They cut my beak off so when I go crazy,
I don’t fight with other chickens and kill them.
It is not my nature to go crazy and kill other chickens any more than it is your nature to go crazy and kill other humans.
Imagine the living conditions that would cause me to kill another chicken.

I am genetically altered to grow twice as fast as I’m supposed to grow.
I am so heavy that I can’t stand anymore.
The weight breaks my legs.
I am fed growth hormone that you ingest when you eat me.
That means you’re taking steroids that can kill you.
Our heart and lungs can’t support the forced growth causing billions of us to die before slaughter. I am filled with antibiotics to prevent my death before I’m killed.
You eat those antibiotics and your body develops an immunity to them which places you at risk to resist them when you’re sick and need them.
You think you know what I taste like but you do not.
I am stuffed with preservatives and flavorings that create what you believe tastes like chicken.
It isn't healthy for you to eat me.
You've been fooled by the meat industry into believing otherwise.

Unsanitary living conditions cause us to die of thirst, overheating, infections, and diseases.
It is common for 20,000 of us to be crammed in one broiler house in a factory.
The electrical current used to kill us is often set low so it doesn’t ruin the meat on our bones.
In many cases, it doesn’t kill us and we are thrown into a scolding hot tank of water to remove our feathers while we are still conscious.
You can hear us scream from a mile away.
A mechanical blade is also used to slash our throats.
Many times it isn’t properly aligned and only partially slashes our throats, leaving us to die miserable deaths.
These killing errors happen to millions of us.
If you think my life is bad, read about what they do to battery hens to lay eggs.
Their lives are even worse.

I know you don't see any of this happen
but it does to billions of chickens like me
and it's scary
and painful
and horrible
and I can't understand why
you support it
and think nothing of it.

I am a chicken.
The truth is
I can't speak
which is why this happens to chickens like me.
But if I could speak, I would beg you not to eat me anymore.
I want to be free like other birds.
I want you to respect my life on this earth as you value your own.
Your existence is only more important than mine in your mind.
Simply because you believe it
doesn't make it so.

Knowing what you know now,
that you don't need to eat me to survive,
and that my life and death are cruel beyond your imagination,
and that you say you love animals,
are you still going to pay someone
to torture and kill me?
Or will you make a humane decision
and refrain and ask others to do the same?

I was a chicken
and I wish my life meant more to you.

Dear Friends,

More than 100 billion animals are slaughtered worldwide every year. This is how many animals are killed every minute by the meat, dairy, and egg industry:

313,570 marine animals
162,440 chickens
7,881 ducks
4,446 pigs
3,665 rabbits
2,408 turkeys
1,857 geese
1,794 sheep
1,202 goats
1,017 cows and calves
226 rodents (excluding rabbits)
219 pigeons and other birds
80 buffaloes
31 horses, donkeys, mules

If you eat meat, you are eating dead animals that have lived miserable lives and died horrible deaths. No matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you are complicit in the process. In the depth of your conscience, not even in a culture where it has become second nature to eat animals, can you deny the existence of this reality.

Please consider making a lifestyle change. A vegan diet is healthier, better for the environment, and does not support animal torture. This isn’t about assessing blame; it’s about saving animals’ lives and the planet and helping you to live a healthier life. Please search your hearts and minds and give it some thought. It’s much easier than you think. For more information, please consider reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins or Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Thank you for keeping an open mind. I believe in your capacity to change.

Andrew Kirschner
Vegan/Volunteer Animal Rights Activist

Which of these Animals Do You Eat? by Andrew Kirschner

"If you won't eat your dog, why would you eat a pig? If you won't eat your cat, why would you eat a cow?

These animals are all intelligent and affectionate and they experience fear and pain. None of them want to die. Just because you don't see them slaughtered doesn't mean they weren't killed to satisfy your appetite. If you follow your logic, it would be all right to pay someone to rob a bank (as long as you don't see him do it).

Why do you get upset when there's something wrong with your dog but think nothing of buying a chicken that has been tortured so you can eat it?

What's the difference between these animals? There is none. They weren't put on this earth to be eaten anymore than you were. Only a morally bankrupt culture and intellectual complacency has persuaded you otherwise.

You don't have to accept things the way they are. You're better than that. You can change.

Don't you owe it to the animals to research what happens to them on factory farms so you can make an informed decision? If you already know, and you continue to eat them, are you certain that your actions are in alignment with your heart?"

No one in this world can lead an animal-free lifestyle. There is no perfect vegan. The most important thing is that we try our best, startin' from the most basic issue - our diet. We can all play our TINY role in the betterment of the lives of animals, & our planet.

I hope this lengthy post has at least opened up some of your hearts & minds regardin' eating animals. Thanksgiving is comin' soon... & Thanksgiving has always taken a toll on battery turkeys every year. I hope people would celebrate Christ's Day with compassion. Celebrate the turkeys instead of eating these tortured & abused creatures. There's hundreds of ways to celebrate such a joyous occassion without unnecessary bloodshed. Consider celebratin' Thanksgiving with a healthy & compassionate vegan diet.

Thank you for sparin' a lil' time to go through this.

1 comment:

Ayushman Kaul said...

1) Animals are tasty, get over it.
2) You wrote a poem in the perspective of a chicken..really dude?
3) For animal you dont eat ima eat with it.
4) The anthropomorphic nature of society means that human beings will always be given more consideration than animals. Notable animal rights theorists such as Singer put the emotional aspect of being able to feel pain as the reason animal should be given same consideration as men but then again we are cognitively more developed and have as a result of this established a monopoly over all other "inferior" (by the logic of cognitive capacity" species, something which will not change soon.