Cosmetics, clothing and cleaning products can call seen a minefield when it comes to animal testing and human rights abuses. But there are really good comprehensive sites out there dedicated to keeping you informed of which brands are safe to support and which you absolutely should not. PETA is one I use regularly but there are masses of others too. So take a minute to do your research and think before you buy.
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.
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!
Have just watched this feature length documentary on veganism and would highly recommend it to everyone, vegan or not.
It examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan.
Food scandals, climate change, lifestyle diseases and ethical concerns move more and more people to reconsider eating animals and animal products. From butcher to vegan chef, from factory farmer to farm sanctuary owner – Live and Let Live tells the stories of six individuals who decided to stop consuming animal products for different reasons and shows the impact the decision has had on their lives.
Philosophers such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Gary Francione join scientists T. Colin Campbell and Jonathan Balcombe and many others to shed light on the ethical, health and environmental perspectives of veganism.
Through these stories, Live and Let Live showcases the evolution of veganism from its origins in London 1944 to one of the fastest growing lifestyles worldwide, with more and more people realising what’s on their plates matters to animals, the environment and ultimately – themselves.
Tonight’s delicious supper:
Quinoa cooked with bouillon
Chickpeas fried in coconut oil, cumin, paprika and turmeric
Steamed broccoli, edamame beans and baby spinach
Sprinkling of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Drizzle of oil and season.
Super cheap, super tasty, super healthy, super quick, super easy!
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.