I was reading a friend's blog the other day, and he mentioned Oscar's Law, and how this is a campaign to say it's unacceptable to factory farm companion animals. I know his is a blog about dogs, as is mine, however it was the specification of companion animals that got me thinking. I also think that as people who love dogs, we must be aware of the fact that we are continuing to enforce the 'norm' that some species are more worthy of our protection than others. By giving blogs to dogs, or cats, we are saying again and again: 'these animals are a part of our family, we will not mention the others - they are the invisible ones'.
So, to be clear, I'm all for Oscar's Law. Puppy farms are horrific, pet shops shouldn't sell animals unless they're from rescues or rehoming organisations.
I've only mentioned it once on my blog so far, but I am a vegan. I've been a vegan for less than a year, but it's something that makes sense. And look, I'm not the best vegan in the world- my pets aren't vegan, and I think I'm going to have one hell of a time finding boots for winter that aren't leather, since finding boots pre-vegan was impossible enough (ask Husband about the 4-hour walk around NYC trying to find a pair of boots and still coming away empty handed).
But what I wonder is, why is it unacceptable to factory farm companion animals, but acceptable to farm pigs and chickens? Why is it unacceptable to kick a kitten, but ok to kick a lamb, or a calf?
If I say "I love animals!" why does that only mean dogs and cats (and maybe horses - consider the latest horsemeat scandal. Is there something more horrific about eating the meat of a horse than eating the meat of a cow??). If I am ashamed and horrified by suffering inflicted on a dog, how could I not be horrified and ashamed by suffering inflicted on a broiler chicken just so I could eat it?
With more and more evidence coming to light that it is healthier to eat a plant-based diet, that cutting out meat helps the environment, and not to mention the moral and ethical benefits you gain (clean conscience, anyone?)... surely it can only make sense, if we call ourselves 'people who love animals', that we cannot eat them or cause them suffering (because I don't eat eggs or dairy either, even though this isn't directly consuming an animal, it certainly causes a bucketload of suffering along the way).
I'm not trying to be preachy, it's the truth. If you eat a part of an animal, you are eating part of an animal that has been bred and killed for you to eat. Depending on the type of animal you are eating, the suffering it would have lived through in its short life would have been immense.
If you're frightened by the v-word, don't be (I'm not a scary radical, I promise). Husband and I cut out red meat first, then went vegetarian, and after lots of consideration, went vegan. There's heaps of resources out there, recipes and support. And look, it is hard sometimes- we loved nothing more than eating all the free samples at Costco on a weekend, and most of them are off-limits now... but honestly? That's a small price to pay, knowing that I don't contribute to the suffering of animals anymore. (And probably better for my waistline, too!!)
Check out this website, for a 30 day vegan challenge, with recipes, info and more. And feel free to contact me or comment here for a lively debate.