Sunday, 27 January 2013

time to go vegan?

I have been vegetarian now for 5 years which is long enough to have become adept at rebuffing the salad muncher jibes and accustomed to the confused questions of "but what do you eat?" and "so what made you want to be vegetarian?", these questions seem ridiculous sometimes but then i also realise that your average meat eater probably doesn't think about or even know about the issues that bother me or any other vegetarian, and if they do maybe they don't care.  Having different values, seeing meat eating as the norm and following that norm probably does make people wonder "why would anyone be vegetarian?".  But to me the more I learn the more my own values are reinforced and to me it seems ridiculous that anyone would want to consume meat products, I think from now on I should reverse the roles and ask people "so what made you want to be a carnivore?".
More and more over recent years I have been avoiding dairy products, I don't use cow's milk instead I use rice or oat milk, I avoid cheese and have started keeping eggs to a minimum.  I've had people say to me "oh but you can take it too far though" and "you have to think about your health" but no I don't agree, I believe I have a much healthier and varied diet than the vast majority of meat eaters.  By educating yourself a little it not only becomes easier and more enjoyable but also more important to be vegetarian and ultimately vegan.  The following is taken from a Huffington Post article which many vegetarians may find surprising bordering on shocking, I would also hope it would be an eye opener for all the meat heads out there.....

Vegetarians who have chosen to forego meat in order to avoid the killing of animals may find that they are - albeit unwittingly - complicit in just that.
Since the overwhelming majority of farm animals are factory farmed (95% in the UK and Canada, 99% in the US) it is likely that their eggs and dairy products are sourced from the intensive agri-industries. These systems are designed to suit the industry and as a result the needs of the animals are disregarded.
Take eggs. Hens in the commercial sector are bred for high egg output. Being no good for meat male chicks are an unwanted by product. Thrown alive into grinding machines or into bins for gassing with carbon dioxide, their remains are used for animal food or fertilizer.
Even hens selected for the organic and free-range egg market are sorted this way. Although these birds have the freedom to exercise, have litter for dust- bathing and areas for nesting, they are kept in large colonies - up to 3,000 in the organic sector and 4,000 in the non-organic free-range sector. With flocks too large for birds to form a natural pecking order they often, in their stress, turn on each other. In order to avoid 'cannibalism' (which can cause 25-30% mortality) farmers - even organic farmers, though only with special permission - resort to beak trimming, a hugely painful and disabling mutilation.
When egg production begins to fall off - usually after about one year of laying - hens are taken to slaughter. Their carcases are used for cheap food products like soups, pastes or stock cubes, or processed into fertilizer. This is intensive production. A healthy free-range chicken can live for 15 years.
Then there is intensive cows' milk production. In the UK this accounts for 95% of all cows' milk production, including organic. To ensure a constant supply of milk cows calve once a year. Those with no commercial value are killed at birth. Those to be kept as dairy herd replacements or destined for the veal and beef markets are removed from their mothers within a few days of being born.
Meanwhile dairy cows, having been treated as little more than milk machines, will be culled after two to five years of milking (depending on the intensity of the system) and their carcases processed into cheap food products like soups, pastes and pâté.
Goat milk production is also becoming more intensive. 'Zero grazing' is becoming more common (as it is for dairy cows) which means that animals spend all their lives inside. As in the dairy cow industry mothers and offspring are separated at birth. And, like dairy cows, female goats, worn out by excessive milking, might be culled after only a few years of milking and sold as meat. A goat's natural lifespan is between 15 and 20 years, a cow's 17 to 20.
And what of sheep's milk products: cheeses like Feta, Halloumi and Roquefort? Dairy ewes are worn out more quickly than ewes that are farmed only for lambs. 'Spoiled udders' (a trade euphemism for mastitis) are a common cause of culling. 10 - 12 years is a sheep's natural lifespan, a dairy ewe's five to seven.
When labels read "Suitable for vegetarians" it might be more appropriate if they came with a warning: "Suitable for vegetarians ??". For if eggs or dairy produce have originated from factory farms then buyers are complicit in supporting the intensive egg and meat industries that involve slaughter and cruelty on a massive scale.
Only at small retailers, farm shops and farmers' markets can customers find out if the food they buy has a compassionate provenance. The extra expense means that animals will not have suffered the cruelty inherent in the factory farming system, reared with such brutal efficiency that their entire lives are, in effect, torture.
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Anonymous said...

how is the veganism going? it's not too hard once you get your head round it and commit! mind you, grocery shopping still takes me HOURS as i am obssessed with reading ingredients on everything! haha!

Jonny Brand said...

it's easy really, i'd say i'm about 90% there. eating out is always a challenge though as the limited vegetarian options are pretty much guaranteed to feature a mountain of cheese

Anonymous said...

It's not right, you'll wake up one morning completely vitamin deficient! This is why human beings have evolved to have sharp front teeth, for cutting and tearing meat, not carrot and chick-peas.