I recently went to this website http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/slaughterhouses.html and learned some horrible things about what happens in slaughter houses. I have not been able to eat meat for a week. I feel so guilty, but I have this nagging thought. Why be vegetarian? The whole would will never be vegetarian, most people don't know about what happens in slaughter houses, and don't want to know. That issue is a "ignorance is bliss" thing. It is like thinking world peace is going to be possible. If I turned into a vegetarian, the next person in the McDonalds line will get my hamburger than me. And at the slaughter houses, they kill so many animals anyway. Why not fight for humane ways to kill these animals? I haven't heard a thing about that. Does anyone see my point? I am not saying being a vegetarian is stupid, not at all. All I am asking is how is it helping? The next guy in the fast food line will just get your unwanted burger. And why isn't there humane ways in putting these animals to sleep? I am so filled with guilt. I feel like putting a bumper sticker on my car that says "I eat meat, but I feel bad about it." Please help!!!
Well actually, most people who choose to be vegetarian for reasons other than dietary/health choose to do so because of their own personal ethics. It has less to do with making a difference for many as much as it has to do with them, personally, not wanting to support something they disagree with or find ethically wrong.
There are actually a good number of people who (although it is usually more expensive) buy only meats they know to be raised and fed and handled naturally and more humanely than meats going through mass-produce slaughterhouses. Many organic food stores will carry these (Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc.)
Most generic stores also stock organic eggs and milk, which are from farms that treat cows and chickens in humane, natural ways; rather than giving them hormones to produce more eggs or milk.
Protests and writing letters are more for making a difference, a diet choice such as vegetarianism is more based on your own preference and personal ethics.
There ARE more humane ways of bringing meat to the table, however, they are more expensive than the factory methods used today. Factory farming didn't even come into being until the post-war economic boom, which meant that more people could afford to buy meat more often - it used to be just a sometimes thing. The demand forced farmers to find more efficient ways to produce more meat faster, and what we got, was factory farming. There are farms that don't use factory methods but one must be prepared to pay more for that meat than for that from a factory farm.
I know you feel like it doesn't help because 'the next guy' will get your burger, but unless the next guy orders two burgers to make up for the fact that you didn't buy one, that's still one less burger being made and sold that day, that's still helping to drop sales. However, the company won't know that that burger wasn't sold in protest of factory farming, unless you write them letters saying that you disapprove of it, to try and get them to change.
The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals has this site www.humanefood.ca, which has pages describing the factory farming processes AND what you can do to help, if you're interested in that. It's geared towards Canadians but if you live elsewhere it should give you an idea of where to send letters, and also has letter-writing advice.
I have to say I agree with you COMPLETELY, Pretty. In high school, a bunch of my friends were veggitarians and vegans. I really admired their choice because I also feel strongly against slaughtering animals, but I could never make the choice to stop eating it. I was raised in a very meaty home--I suppose you could say i was born with bacon in my mouth...er--maybe not...
While my friends were in their Honors English course and reading Dante's Divine Comedy (The Inferno, more specifically), they would joke and tell me I would be going to hell and be wearing the "guilded robe of lead...", which is, apparently, the punnishment for hypocrasy (which, if you've read Dante, is better that having to eat somebody's face as your face is also being eaten, or rolling a giant boulder up a hill, but I digress).
I also have been jaded by activism in a similar way that you have described...this is similar with everything else wrong with America. All of our clothes (and other things!) are made in sweatshops where people's rights are abused and where they make about four cents an hour...yet not buying clothes is stupid and not buying clothes from a particular clothing company will not only make no dent in this problem, but, if enough people did it, then thousands of workers would be jobless...four cents an hour, while not a living wage, is still all they can get...
Again, I'm rambling. It seems like being aware of this and, yet, feeling as if there's nothing you can do about it (not apathy, mind you, but helplessness) is the curse of our generation. Writing letters in campaigns or spending extra money on better food is making some sort of difference, but I wonder if sometimes its just a placebo...meant to make us, the ones with tortured hearts and consciousnesses, feel like better people while they hardly do anything to correct the problem.
The conclusion I come to time and time again (which sometimes I only surrender to because I feel like there's no other conclusion to go to) is that all you can do is educate yourself about it--keep up with any new knowledge, concern youself with information, articles and facts about it--but also inform other people CIVILLY one at a time...let people know how you feel without pushing it on them.
So I guess I will echo Pretty's question: what kinds of things can you do? Is there anything?
It may seem like a futile battle, but think about it: hundreds of people make the decisioj to go veggie everyday. There have even been scientists who have gone as far as to say that within the next few hundred years, mankind could go completely veggie due to the rising trend in vegetarianism.
I'd like to point out that there is, and I quote, no HUMANE way, in any sense of the word, to kill an animal. While yes, there are ways to kill an animal and cause less pain, these methods are not nearly as abundant as one would like, since it is cheaper and faster to raise animals in feedlot slaughterhouse; that is, where the animal is fed specially modified foods until it reaches an extreme weight, are crammed into holding pens with a 100 other scared animals, pushed one by one through a series of ramps until they finally get in only to be clubbed, shot, hung, and chopped up into what we find in our grocery stores today. (You can tell I'm pretty revved about this subject, being a strict vegetarian going on vegan, so by no means do I mean to offend. This is honest to god the way many slaughter houses operate.)
Honestly, I believe, as Dailicious mentioned, that if you realy believe that something or morally or ethnically wrong or right, you will fight for it even if your attempts seem silly or pointless. There are plenty of ways to protest, and there has actually been a lot of movement in animal rights in the past few years. Hopefully this will continue, usually just one person at a time
Just a short comment on these issues, per activism via personal choices. (I can say more later, when I'm not battling insomnia and a bit brain-addled from the endeavor.)
I think that it likely seems as if making these sorts of choices per living ethically and compassionately -- such as by being vegan, or buy not purchasing clothing from sweatshops, or by biking rather than driving, etc. -- is pointless far more without a lot of extra perspective, or years and years of doing so.
Because the truth of the matter is that these personal choices DO make a difference, individually AND collectively. Twenty years ago, very few people were even AWARE of sweatshop issues, and companies pretty much were never taken to task on it: it's activism that made that difference, and people choosing not to support those companies both made that difference as well as making a difference to them personally. (And the idea that NOT supporting those companies straves people working in sweatshops or robs people of jobs is fallacious, especially if you are purchasing alternate clothing from someone else's humane labor.)
Same goes with vegan and vegetarian activism and eating: collectively, it has made a diference, per awareness, per public health, etc. And personally, even just the experience of eating humanely, feeling 100% good about what you're eating is a very different emotional and physical experience than noncompassionate eating, not to mention the effect it can have on one's health.
We don't often say -- do we? -- that if *I* don't hit this guy I want to hit, someone else will, do we? Or if *I* don't hurt this person's feelings, the next guy will, so I might as well. It's really the same sort of thing here: that's pretty faulty logic per choosing what feels/is right for YOU to choose to do to live your life in accordance with your own ethics, cares and values.
Just one more thing: you're likely not hearing a big front from vegans and vegetarians for "humane" ways to kill animals because of two reasons: 1) we all know humans do not NEED to eat or use animals or animal products to survive, for starters and 2) to most of us, that'd be akin to suggesting that a sound approach to homicide and murder problems would be to seek out ways to kill people more humanely, rather than to seek out ways to keep people safe from murder and harm altogether and/or to try and keep people from killing others.
Posts: 68215 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I went on that link (the first post I think) and I was watching that video and it made me feel so bad. I am not for the whole vegitarian thing because animals were created for well us to eat them (dont wanna sound to bad) But I do think that if there are better ways of killing the animals (instead of the ways that the video showed) How come those methods arent used? Juss wondering...
Posts: 13 | From: Cudahy, WI, United States of America | Registered: May 2005
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Those methods often aren't applied because it is much cheaper, takes less time, and offers a whole lot more income than taking the time to make sure the animals are naturally grass fed and hormone free, as will as killed "humanely".
As for the whole animals-being-here-to-eat bit...I totally understand you sharing your opinion, and that's great, just make sure that you do it and make it clear that it is your person opinion/relgious belief. (I know you didn't mean to offend, just a word of caution since there are others like me who can and do take serious offense to that )
Yeah I am really sorry to you and anyone else it offended. I didnt mean it like that, but yeah next time I'll make sure its better so nobody is offended. Again I'm really sorry.
Posts: 13 | From: Cudahy, WI, United States of America | Registered: May 2005
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im a vegitarian and partial vegan. i eat no meat, no seafood, and if i can help it, no eggs or milk. if i could buy eggs and milk from organic farms where the chickens and cows were not injured in anyway, i may feel a bit better about eating them, but to tell you the truth, i don't really like the taste of milk and eggs. i agree w/ the native american way of eating meat, use everything, waste nothing, b/c no life, animal or human, is meant to be wasted. about the animals were put on earth to be eaten, i see where you're coming from, but i don't agree w/ you. i think animals were put on this earth in a way that they can't control their fate, but their fate lies in the hand's of humans, and that (god's) intention was not for them to be cruelly slaughtered without a second thought about it. they have no say in their life, so we must help them. i'm 14 years old and have been a vegitarian since i think i was 12. it began when i saw blood in my steak( londen broil was then my favorite thing to eat)and has since then become partially vegan. i am a vegitarian not becuase killing animals is against my morals, but becuase killing them the way we do is against my morals. i absolutely do not agree w/ wearing fur b/c that is just cruel, but i tolerate and respect meat eaters. being a vegitarian is my personal desicion and ill stand w/ it.
Posts: 4 | Registered: Jun 2005
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Hi. I believe in the ethical treatment of animals, I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian [I still eat dairy products and, on occasion, eggs], and I would like to say that my decision to be what I am came from more than one thing.
Even though I saw videos like the ones you saw, I also have learned that a vegetarian diet is very healthy. While my mother incessantly tells me that beef is a natural stress-reliever [and it is], I would rather eat foods that I feel are healthy for me. So think about that, too, when you're deciding to go veggie.
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