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Face Your Food

November 24, 2014

So I know this blog is mostly fun and  dedicated to making kind choices with respect to what we wear and use in our homes ; however, I need to rant for a moment.

Seeing photos of animals marked for slaughter is a trigger for me and there is currently one making the rounds on Facebook.  Seeing them fills me with broiling emotions: anger, sadness, outrage, bewilderment.

The graphic videos and photos (most of which I don’t look at anymore because I just can’t handle it) of factory farm abuse are obviously horrifying, but there is something about an animal marked for slaughter with spray paint that I find to be the most grotesque expression of the way we reduce non-human animals to mere resources. It is degrading ,shameful, and a testament to the dominant cultural belief that non-human animals have no intrinsic moral relevance.

I am vegan for many reasons – my health,  the environment, etc. – but I am vegan first, foremost, and forever for the animals. As many of my vegan friends understand , it can be awkward dining out or discussing food plans with non-vegan friends.  This is one reason, among many others, I think  the vegan community is so tightly linked on social media: being vegan can feel isolating.

Holding such a foundational belief that guides every facet of ones life can trigger the ol’ side-eye and head shake from non-vegan friends who just don’t understand or haven’t given it much thought.  On the one hand, you want to be honest with how you feel, but on the other, you don’t want your friends to feel as though you are judging them..  Inevitably, someone asks the question “why are you vegan?” and sincere, honest answers are all too frequently met with disdain, scoffs, and pointing fingers.

Telling one what not to eat and what not to use in their daily lives is a sensitive topic for many : some become downright incensed and claim that vegans and vegetarians are self-righteous, etc , etc.  I’m not sure why this is –  maybe it’s the fact that what one eats can be nostalgic – it’s hard for them to see fault in the pot-roast their mother always used to lovingly prepare –  or perhaps it has more to do with cognitive dissonance.  On the surface, many of us are very detached from what we’re eating, but when we’re presented with evidence – photos, videos, eyewitness testimony , research – that proves animals raised for food are intelligent, sentient, beings who suffer immensely for human palate pleasure, we are repulsed, upset, and horrified. But, meat-culture is pervasive and the “norm” in our society, and the “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” mentality prevails.

I believe that people are basically good at their core and no one wants to intentionally inflict harm , pain, or suffering on another living thing.  We need to bridge the gap between what people are eating and what it actually takes to get to their plate and help people make the connection between the animals we treat as family and those we treat as commodities.  This is the ultimate goal of my blog- even if it is in a round-about , fun way.  I think it’s important to show that veganism is not some sort of fringe, cult-like, belief – it’s a lifestyle that is easy and feels wonderful – physically and spiritually.

I’m learning that it’s a matter of reaching people in a way that emphasizes logic / conventional wisdom (our society is a tad morally confused in its treatment of animals) , rather than using anger and guilt.

With social media becoming more and more ubiquitous, it is with hope that people continue to use it as a platform to help others broaden their perspectives on a broad range of topics – including choosing to live in a kinder way.  Although I don’t think posting photos of animals suffering  is  always the best way to reach people, I think it’s very difficult to see a photo of a tiny lamb marked for slaughter and not be slapped in the face with the reality that our decisions have some real and scary consequences.

lamb marked for slaughter{the photo that has been all over my FB feed the last few days}

{P.S. The featured image is a photo I took of one of the rescued Llama’s at the Maple Farm Sanctuary, in Mendon, MA. Look at it after reading my post : it will help lighten the mood.  }

For ALL Animals,

MKC

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