This is part of my the collection I'm dedicating to my girlfriend Emily, she is very into the environment and helping the world, and I'm going to help her spread her message! Happy 6 month
I'll let Em write more about this when she gets back
My Girlfriend just wrote the caption for this:
The beginning of my change in eating habits began when I was 11. I remember that day very vividly. I was on vacation in Germany with my family and, because I couldnít speak or read German, my mom had been ordering my food all week. I loved everything until I asked what it was. When my parents told me that veal was the nice word for baby cow, I refused to eat another bite.
Steak, hamburgers, pork, veal, hotdogs and meatballs were the first things to go. Bacon was the last red meat to go because, letís be honest, itís delicious. Since then, I became more and more aware of, and more and more concerned with what I was eating. First, I didnít want to eat red meat because I think cows and pigs are cute, but then I started to read about how they were raised and how horribly we were treating them and it quickly became an issue I was passionate about. I immediately signed up for email updates from the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and others.
At first I thought I was doing the right thing by giving up red meat and continuing to eat chicken so I would still get all my protein. But after a couple months of those emails and reading books by Michal Pollan, I learned that what I was doing was not good enough. Thatís when I went full-fledged vegetarian. A little while down the road, one of my teachers showed PETAís ďMeat Your Meat.Ē If youíve watched that short film, you will understand that I was a vegan for a solid three weeks after seeing that. I actually had to close my eyes and plug my ears because it was so horrible. Seeing pictures of the way we abuse animals is one thing; watching it happen is completely different. During that film you can hear the animals being mistreated, watch them struggle and suffer, and see the people doing this who just donít care. I watched this after years of reading about these issues and it still had this horrible effect on me.
Thatís the problem though. The first problem is that people donít know that this is going on. The second problem is that videos like ďMeat Your MeatĒ are so horrible that nobody wants to watch them. Very few people would sit down and watch that voluntarily and those who would probably already know whatís going on. Things are so bad that people just donít want to know anything. They would rather live in a blissful ignorance then learn how bad things really are. There has to be a way of informing without scaring. We need teach without turning people away.
For those of you who havenít seen the video, this is what you would learn: we cram six or seven egg-laying hens into one cage about the size of a file drawer; we castrate cattle, rip off their horns, and brand them, all without anesthetic; dairy cows give birth and their newborn calves are stolen from them right away; these calves are sent to veal farms and locked up in pens where they canít move; chickens are injected with growth hormones that cause them to grow so fast that their hearts and lungs canít keep up and their legs break from trying to support the unnatural weight; chickensí and turkeysí beaks are seared or cut off without anesthetic; mother pigs are locked in gestation crates that are barely big enough for them and they cannot turn around or lie down. Thereís even more horrible information crammed into the 13 minute movie and you can imagine that if reading those things sounds bad, hearing them sounds even worse.
My family was really supportive and we experimented with tofu and other non-meat options. That was okay for a little while, but humans are omnivores. Itís unnatural to cut meat and other animal products out of our diets because we're made to eat those things. Thatís why I decided I needed another solution. I started to research humanely raised meat and found Certified Humane Raised and Handled brands in my local grocery store. Humanely raised meat isnít easy to find and itís always more expensive but it is worth the time and money. For me, it means I can eat chicken without feeling horribly guilty and I can make scrambled eggs without regret. The Certified Humane Raised and Handled program requires that farms and meat production be monitored. They monitor the way the animals are raised, the way they are slaughtered, and the way they are processed and packaged. It is endorsed by the Humane Society and the ASPCA.
For a while, my family was ordering chicken and other meat from a farm in New York but then a Whole Foods opened up right in town. Whole Foods has become my newest and most successful solution because all meat sold in their stores has to meet their Whole Foods Natural Meat Quality Standards and Animal Compassionate Standards.
This works for me, my family, and my friends, but itís not enough. The biggest problem is a lack of awareness in the general public and that is why my wonderful boyfriend made this picture. By putting this picture on the web, the message is finding its way to more people then I would have ever been able to reach on my own.