I’m writing to a lot of ‘meat processing units’ at the moment asking if I can come along one day and have a look around and watch the slaughtering process in person. Unsurprisingly no one is rushing forward to invite me in. This short 1 minute video is of a mobile slaughter unit and is about as ‘humane’ as any slaughtering facility you are likely to come across.
And yet watching this both sickens and saddens me. It just shows, even at the best end of the miserable spectrum, how totally inexcusable it is to take these animals lives just because they taste good. Slaughter at it’s most humane is sickeningly inhumane and does not belong in this day and age. When will we all wake up and see how immoral and unethical our treatment of farmed animals is? It just makes me feel incredibly sad that we live in a world where this is the mainstream diet and veganism is still viewed as extreme. Just bonkers!
What will our great grandchildren think of us? Will they think of us like we do the nazis? Just not be able to fathom how we could behave in a way so obviously at total odds with all of our values, morals and principles. It will be inconceivable to them I think. They will wonder how we could possibly have not seen how barbaric and wrong what we were doing was and we will offer the same feeble excuses – well everyone else was doing it. We’d been doing it like that for hundreds of years. It tasted good. I just didn’t really think about the animals. I probably knew deep down that i wasn’t entirely comfortable with it but I never had to look it in the face. It all happened behind closed doors so we didn’t really make the connection.
Well make the connection. Don’t turn a blind eye. Do the right thing. Live by your own principles. Live by your own moral compass. You don’t want to cause harm or suffering or death to anyone so why would you when it is so unnecessary to your health or happiness? Go vegan today and it will change your life for the better in more ways than you could possibly imagine.
Skool of Vegan is a new initiative aimed at trying to get people to look at their eating habits and attitudes towards animals in a more critical way. Their mission statement is: ‘Because making the connection is child’s play’. It certainly makes for some uncomfortable reading and I admire their original approach. Whether you like the drawings or not its hard to deny the underlying truth and i think they do a good job of highlighting the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of what we teach our kids. I think it’s probably a little too heavy handed for most people’s taste and therefore I doubt they will reach people in the way they’d like to. Perhaps a less aggressive tone might have spoken to more people…? What do you think? Here a few…
Next time you eat a piece of meat, take a moment to think about the fact that it had a mother.
If it’s pork you’re eating – think about that piglet being removed from it’s mother within just a few days of being born and slaughtered within 3 – 6 months.
If it’s lamb you’re eating – know that it was removed from its mother within a few months of being born and killed within 3 – 10 months.
If it’s chicken you’re eating – know that it was never even allowed to meet it’s mother and was killed within 6 weeks of being born.
If it’s beef you’re eating – know that they have been slaughtered within just 1 to 2 years.
If it’s dairy you’re eating, know that the calf which this mother had to bear in order for you to steal and consume her milk, was taken away within the first 2 days of its life and either shot or slaughtered at 16 – 20 weeks for veal.
And if this thought alone doesn’t make you reconsider eating meat then please take a long hard look at these photos and ask yourself how you can possibly justify stealing any animal’s young away from them for the brutal and shameful act of slaughter, merely because you like the way they taste.
So my daughter (Arcadia, 5 yrs old) has started to notice that Ed and I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy and is beginning to ask questions. This shouldn’t be tricky but of course it is because all I want, as a parent, is to be able to answer any questions my children might ask me, as honestly and thoughtfully as I can and with eating animals this is tricky. For example… here’s yesterday’s conversation:
Arcadia: “Mummy why don’t you eat sausages?”
Me: “Because sausages are made from pork which comes from pigs and I don’t want to eat pigs”.
Arcadia: “Sausages don’t come from pigs mummy they come from shops”.
Me: “Yes we buy them from shops but they are made from pigs that have been raised and killed for their meat”.
Arcadia: “But that’s horrible. Why would people kill pigs?”
Me: “Because they like the taste of sausages”.
Arcadia: “Maybe they don’t know their sausages come from pigs – I think we should tell them. Or maybe it should say pig on the packet and not sausages and then people would know not to eat them. I don’t think the school knows that sausages are pig because then people wouldn’t eat them”.
Now why people would choose to kill and eat pigs when they don’t need to is completely flabbergasting to me so how on earth I explain it to a 5 yr old I don’t know. Because of course it makes entirely no sense to her – as it doesn’t to me. Now I could tell her what my parents told me which was that pigs and cows are here to provide us with food. I could say that they live long and happy lives on Old Macdonalds farm before one day, after a long and happy life, they wander down the lane to the cosy slaughterhouse and get turned into scrummy sausages for the lovely butchers. But of course I can’t because we all know this is utter bullshit. So I am left with trying to tell her the truth, to arm her with the facts so that she can then make up her own mind, without leaving her entirely dumbstruck, appalled and confused because these aren’t things that a 5 yr old should be feeling. But the facts leave her feeling all of those things.
Luckily there is a Rastafarian boy in her class who is vegetarian and a Hindu girl who doesn’t eat beef and a Jewish boy who doesn’t eat pork and only eats kosher and lots of Muslim children who only eat halal so she can discuss all of their food choices with them and make up her own mind.
Today she told granny that she didn’t want to eat the fish that she’d bought her for lunch because she didn’t want to ‘kill fishes”. Granny promptly cooked and fed her fish anyway so its clearly going to be a long and bumpy road…
Any advice from parents, teachers, siblings etc who have fielded questions on the subject from curious small people is very welcome!
Susannah Constantine has caused outrage by posting a picture of her ten-year-old daughter Cece proudly clutching a dead duck and with her face smeared with blood to mark her first kill.
I’ve been reading all the various reactions from people and mostly the debate has developed into whether or not you should be honest with your children about where meat comes from. And this is missing the point entirely.
1. How much of the meat that you eat on a daily basis was killed on a country estate by posh people for ‘sport’? The odd pheasant casserole possibly if you’re in the 1% of the country that takes part in these country pursuits but otherwise basically none of it. So if ‘education’ is really what this is all about then you would presumably be as keen to take your kids around a slaughterhouse, a factory farm or a chicken shed? No I thought not… The reality is slightly less palatable isn’t it?
2. Of course you should be honest with your children about where meat comes from – but not if you’re feeding them totally incorrect information. Not if your moral compass is completely out of whack. I was told from a very young age where meat comes from (I was raised on a small farm) but I never witnessed it. The closest I came was when mum insisted we stay inside whilst dad strangled all the chickens that had stopped laying eggs so were now ‘surplus to requirements’. Funnily enough, my parents weren’t shuffling us into ringside seats for this barbaric spectacle. Alongside my education of where meat comes from I was also told that these animals were put here to feed us – that that was their purpose, their raison d’etre. I was told that we needed meat to survive and that is was an entirely natural process. What total nonsense!
3. I was certainly not told the whole truth. How most animals in the world are kept in horrific concentration camp conditions for their entire lives before being needlessly slaughtered at a dismally tender age. I wasn’t told what happens to every single male chick born to the egg industry – minced alive at less than a day old by thousands. I wasn’t told what happens to the dairy calves that aren’t wanted for veal – killed within the first week as ‘by-product’ of the dairy industry. And I certainly wasn’t told that I could live a perfectly happy, healthy, compassionate life without ever having to eat, wear or use any animal products ever again.
So if the person guiding you through life’s moral maze is a member of the third reich and is telling you that it’s ok to gas someone because they are Jewish it’s probably not the kind of education I’d be wanting for my kids and its certainly not a defense to say that at least their being honest!
A child is incredibly easily influenced by what their parents say, as we all are by people in positions of authority to us, which is how otherwise decent human beings throughout history have been coerced into doing horrific things under the misguided guise of ‘doing the right thing’.
Teaching children that it’s ok to kill animals for sport or food is not okay in my book. It’s wrong, it’s confusing, it’s deeply irresponsible and it’s dangerous. If we want to raise the next generation of children to be compassionate, free thinking, rational individuals then we need to start being honest about how inexcusable it is in this day and age to consume any animal products of any kind.
There were 2 big stories in the news last week which demonstrate how utterly arbitrary, hypocritical and deluded our morality is when it comes to animal ethics in this country.
Firstly there was the appallingly cruel arson attack on a Manchester dogs home in which 53 dogs died. This story became bigger news for the fact that people were so moved by this deeply upsetting story that a JustGiving page was set up and donations flooded in from all over the world, exceeding £1.3 million in less than 3 days. Staggering. Heart warming. Amazing. It goes to show how deeply people care about dogs – even dogs that have been left unclaimed in a dogs home – dogs that would largely have been pit bull terriers and Rottweilers and other such breeds. Breeds which are at the less ‘cute and cuddly’ end of the doggy scale. And still people are enormously upset by the idea of these dogs suffering such a painful and frightening death.
In contrast, on the same day, there is a story about a cull that had been carried on miniature pigs and piglets in the Swansea area.
Over 100 micro-pigs were culled by a licensed professional. “These animals presented a serious risk to other livestock in the region in the event of a disease outbreak, and because of this we were left with no option but to carry out a cull,” said a spokesperson. What a load of horseshit! The only threat these animals could possibly offer is if they come into contact with farm bred infected pigs as they could then spread the disease. Why on earth should these wild pigs pay the heaviest price for the farmers carelessness. If the commercially bred pigs weren’t harbouring disease in the first place then there wouldn’t be a problem. It’s exactly the same story with the badger cull and TB. The farmers should ensure that their cattle don’t get TB and if they do then they should pay the price. They shouldn’t be farming cattle in the first place as far as I’m concerned so I’m afraid I have little sympathy. If culling innocent badgers is their solution then they clearly it’s a non-starter of a business model!
These same farmers who claim to be animal lovers were the ones who put pressure on Swansea Council in the first place to carry out this appalling cull. Yes, some farmers may care about their livestock, but as soon as something might get in the way of their profit margins, you see where they really stand on animal welfare issues.
The slaughter of these innocent, healthy and harmless pet pigs amounts to an atrocity that should be totally unacceptable to an educated and caring society.