Have You Met Your Meat?

When I began getting involved with animal rights and learning about animal cruelty, it all started with a video named “Meet Your Meat.” Now that I’ve decided to write this blog and share what I know, I thought it was only right to start you all off on the same foot. Of course if I’m going to tell you how to change your habits and live animal friendly, you probably want to know why you should even care.

It amazes me how so many people eat the meat given or available to them, but don’t bother to question where that meat is coming from. I know I was guilty of this at one time, but now realize ignorance is not always bliss. Once I learned the conditions these animals are kept in and the cruelty they endure before being slaughtered for my own personal gain, I wanted no part of it.

We see pictures of farms everywhere with happy cows grazing freely in green grass, but the reality is, most animals raised for food live miserable lives in confined, dark facilities called “factory farms.” Factory farms were created to mass produce animals and keep up with demand. The animals are treated simply as commodities to be exploited for product.

Picture taken from Google Images

Animals used for food are genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible, as quickly as possible and often become crippled under their heavy weight. Chickens have their beaks seared off with hot blades and male cattle and pigs are castrated, all with no pain killers. The animals spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses before being cramped onto trucks and transported to slaughterhouses. Many die during transport because of the harsh conditions or are so weak by the time they arrive they can’t walk off the trucks. Once in the slaughterhouses, the animals are hung upside-down and their throats are slit, often while they are completely conscious.This is the reality of where most meat comes from.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” – Paul McCartney

Here are some options to stop the support of factory farms and live more animal friendly:

Vegetarian: Did you know by becoming a vegetarian you can save more than 100 animals a year? When I decided to stop supporting animal cruelty, I decided to be a vegetarian. I don’t eat any meat including chicken and fish. Some people decide to eat only chicken, but because chicken are small, the average meat-eater is responsible for the deaths of more chickens than cows. This is why when choosing not to eat meat, chicken should be the first thing cut from your diet. I get asked what I eat just because I am a vegetarian all the time and I say “everything you do, just without meat in it.” It’s really that easy.

Vegan: Going vegan is also an option. Vegan is a lifestyle people follow in which they avoid the use of animals for food, clothing and other human purposes. Vegans do not eat any animal byproducts including eggs, milk and gelatin. Although I would like to eventually transition into a vegan,it can be hard to do because the options are more limited.

If you are looking for motivation, go to www.meat.org to sign a pledge to be a vegetarian for 30 days. The Web site also includes free vegetarian or vegan recipes and a free vegetarian starter kit.

Other Options: If you are not willing to stop eating meat, there are other options to live more animal friendly. Humanely-produced meat from ethical farms is available. Also, organic or free-range meat is an option, but be careful because the guidelines to get these labels on products may not be as humane as it sounds or looks on the package. The animals can still be exposed to animal cruelty and conditions just as bad as factory farms. However, just being conscious of where your meat comes from can make a difference.

It’s up to us to make a difference. What are you planning on doing to live more animal friendly?