As you know, I'm a vegetarian. I've been a vegetarian since I was a teenager and I'm an old lady now, so I'll let you do the math. In most social situations, I tend to keep my eating habits on the down-low. I don't want people to feel awkward if they eat at a restaurant with me, for example. I don't really like answering the questions about the whys of it all, because it always seems to come along with the unspoken sentiment that I'm not right in the head. I also don't want my friends to feel like I'm holier-than-thou or that I believe I'm somehow more evolved than they are. However, I do think I've made it a point to take a hard look at what really goes on in the world (on factory farms and in the slaughterhouses) whereas many find it easier . . . not to look. Certainly it would be easier if I fed my child hot dogs and pretended I didn't know what went into them. Wait, no one actually knows what hot dogs are made of, right?
I'll just be very honest here. I do believe it is ethically wrong to support factory farming, which is what anyone who purchases meat at the grocery store is doing. I realize it is an inadvertent and non-purposeful sort of support. No one I know is pumping their fist and shouting, "Yeah! Up with suffering!"
I don't care what the Bible says on the topic, even though I know there are some who point to that as their reason for eating meat. God gave man dominion over the animals yadda yadda yadda. I'm pretty sure he didn't say anything about "be sure to de-beak live chickens while you're at it!" Why am I all up in arms about this, all of a sudden? Well, it's not all of a sudden. I just don't talk about it much for fear of alienating people. On Facebook, I subscribe to a newsfeed from a group called simply, "Vegetarian." Most of the posts are recipes and such. Last week, they posted an article about what happens to calves, when cows are pregnant at slaughter. I won't go into detail, but it's not pretty. I honestly had never thought about it, but I've been thinking about it ever since. I simply cannot understand how we can somehow pretend that animals don't feel pain. Go and give your dog a little pinch if you don't believe me. He will react to it, I'm sure, and also give you a look as if to say, "WTF? Nutjob!"
I guess my biggest fear is that I'm getting a little more militant about these things as I get older and I don't want to turn into some extremist. In some ways, I'm actually mellowing a bit (maybe it's all the yoga I've been doing? Namaste!). Things that used to seem black and white to me no longer seem like a big deal. I changed my mind about capital punishment and with many political issues, I've gone all laissez-faire. But when it comes to animal-related issues, I haven't mellowed at all, I'm afraid. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it's okay to eat a pig and not the family dog. They have been shown to have similar intelligence level, the capacity to develop attachments, etc.
In the interest of honesty, though, I must confess that I'm not entirely comfortable with my own failure to commit to a fully vegan diet. I don't drink milk, but I use it on my cereal. I pay through the nose for organic milk and free range eggs, but I don't think that gets me off the hook. I am currently looking into some options for soy/almond/rice milk for my cereal. Over time, I'd like to phase out eggs as well. I'm trying not to be a hypocrite, ya'll. In the end, I guess I'm just trying to get through this life in the least harmful way possible.
On a lighter note, I wandered off for a few minutes and came back to find this on my chair, along with the plea, "Mom! Don't look at the chair! Just sit down and reeeeelax!"