Why I’ll never go back to eating animals

This article was originally published in the Dominion Post.

Siena Yates’ article on ‘Why I’m no longer a vegetarian’ (Your Weekend, 21 March) is not the first item I have read about a former vegetarian extolling the virtues of eating meat. I’m always slightly surprised when someone starts consuming animals again however. Surely preventing other sentient creatures from suffering will always be so much more satisfying than a meaty meal?

I’ve been vegetarian since I gave up meat as a young child and have been vegan for the last few years. For me, it’s all about the animals but as I’ve got older I’ve realised the benefits for myself too.

Some people believe it’s difficult to get the nutrients you need on a meat free diet, but contrary to popular opinion most vegetarians aren’t constantly tired and suffering from lack of iron. I saw this first hand growing up, as my meat-loving sister had low iron levels whilst I, the veggie, was the picture of health. Following a vegetarian diet can have many health advantages, including lowering our blood pressure, reducing our risk hamlest-cutest-pigof cancer, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

And do vegetarians and vegans live in a vortex of eternal hunger, destined to be perpetually dissatisfied and feeling weak? Ask world-renowned vegan athletes like tennis champ Venus Williams, world weightlifting record holder Patrick Baboumian and vegetarian Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis!

The environmental benefits of a veg diet are obvious too. The UN has stated that, raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global.” Reports by the Ministry for the Environment show that farmed animals are largely responsible for our enormous per capita greenhouse emissions. New Zealand is rated 11th in the world. This is well above the United Kingdom (36th). 52% of NZ rivers are too polluted to swim in, with dairy farming a major contributor.

Still, health and environmental arguments aside, we need to stick to it for the animals that need us. Being a vegan isn’t a fad, like the paleo diet. It’s a compassionate lifestyle choice.

Some of the things we do to animals are truly disturbing. Millions of animals suffer in horrendous conditions on factory farms, never able to live life as nature intended. Taking dairy calves from their mothers soon after birth and sending two million of them straight to the slaughterhouse as though they are trash is wrong whichever way you look at it. We share this planet with many other amazing animals. They have entirely unique perspectives, and perceive the world in ways we cannot. They are different from us, but they are the same in the only way that matters: like us, they can think and feel – and suffer.

And let’s be absolutely clear: there is no humane, good, death for animals in the food industry. It’s a fallacy. On free range farms animals might live in better conditions but they are still subject to low industry standards: crowding, physical mutilation and, ultimately a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse.safe_image

In the end we all want to live.

We all want to enjoy healthy, happy lives. And if we can do that without causing death or harm to animals, why wouldn’t we?

But do us veggies really make a difference? Of course we do. The simple supply-demand principle: by not supporting the meat industry vegetarians and vegans reduce demand, and consequently, reduce supply. By removing the demand, we’re sparing animal suffering that is beyond our worst imaginings.

We all have to make our own choices in this world. Let’s make them kind ones by leaving the animals off our plate – for good.

Mandy Carter, Head of Campaigns

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One Comment Add yours

  1. kusala says:

    I just finished watching a movie called cowspiracy, and would like to recommend it to you, and all others.
    Someone that i knew that was vegan, and then started eating dead animal meat (as opposed to plant-based meats such as beans and potatoes), replied to my questioning with, “my body needs it”.
    Another thing that this person refused to consider was that a human consciousness can not be reborn as anything ‘less’ than a human – well isn’t that is just a convenient belief?
    I now know that this is a load of rubbish, because i have being murdered animal free for a decade, and vegan for 7 years.
    Consider that your being is a stream of consciousness (some degree of self-awareness) – obviously humans are not the only conscious, or sentient, beings on this planet.
    Look at the size of an ant’s head, and compare it to that of a human’s.
    Ants are very conscious and very intelligent (in their own ways).
    Brain-size does not dictate intelligence, it comes from the non-physical or mental realm.
    Mind does not originate from matter (or brain) – although it can be, or is very often, affected by it.
    We all develop habits throughout our lives and associated with these habits, for better or worse, are volitional impulses, or said another way, kammic tendencies.
    These tendencies are often quite separate from reason, and often strongly associated with irrational craving.
    Hence, when the heart stops beating, the physical form begins to shut down and, at some time there, is a complete separation of body and soul (inclinations).
    In the absence of ‘human’ intelligence, the conscious stream can be ignorantly attracted to any form, and then enter into it. The form could conceivably be that of one of the billions of farmed/enslaved/tortured, creatures on this planet.
    Consciousness is not exclusive to human form.
    Thus the cycles of suffering and cruelty go around and around, at a particular, or variable, intensity, until the causes are removed.
    We have to ask ourselves these kinds of questions:
    Would i like to be born as that creature that is suffering at the hands of humans?
    Would i like to be fenced into a paddock, be forced to give birth every year, have my child taken away from me to be murdered or turned into a machine and forced to give milk every day?
    As a human, wouldn’t you like to be able to drink from streams that are now filled with cow faeces, parasites and bacteria?
    Is all meat animal-based?
    Are not beans meaty?
    Do not coconuts contain milk?
    Do i want to be happy and healthy?
    Can i think laterally and challenge a lot of the force-fed ideas that have dominated my life?
    This is possible, you just have to make the change for yourself, prove to yourself that it is indeed possible.
    When i really get serious (sometimes ‘vegans’ can eat vegan junk food) and eat sensibly (not comfort eating – sometimes a mission in this often miserable and generally ignorant world), i notice a marked improvement heath-wise.
    Indulgence in salt will dry out areas of your skin, and sugar encourages bacterial disease.
    Do not drink undiluted fruit juice – the acid will strip your bones of calcium – seriously dilute the juice, or even better better, put the entire fruit including the skin, into the blender, and then ingest it (in my experience, this has a neutralizing effect and cleared up very painful joints)
    All things in moderation is a lie – would you eat small amounts of lead and mercury?
    As above so below and visa verse – violence between humans will not cease until violence towards other earthlings ceases, If the planet is sick, you will have a mission keeping your body healthy.
    We make the bed that we sleep in and for many beings on this planet it’s not very comfortable.

    Watch out for products that contain milk solids – they seem to shove this into as many products as possible – for example, corn chips and bread.
    The gluten will sandpaper away your intestinal wall and then the large milk protein molecules with start to pass through the intestine wall creating an immune response, and the damaged intestine wall will eventually start to bleed.
    Refuse to by ‘food’ that is only fit for a rubbish dump from the supermarket, and then the healthy food options will increase.

    If we each individually start to show kindness to our fellow earthlings, i’m sure that many of us would be amazed at how much kindness that is returned.
    Many humans show compassion towards ‘their’ pets, but couldn’t care less about many other animals – is it any wonder that we are often double-minded, confused and easily fooled?
    Who would feel outraged of someone killed their human child or pet dog?
    But why is our compassion so limited.
    In limiting the compassion that we extended to others, we are accordingly limiting the compassion that we can extend to words ourselves.

    This is true spirituality, no hocus pocus nonsense, – realizing that we are not really that different at all, and that it is impossible to love ourselves if we do not love others.

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