Warning: this is going to be a long review.
I hadn’t heard of this book and didn’t seek it out when transitioning into my vegan lifestyle, but then one night the beau’s mom offered it to me. She had bought it a year or so prior, and didn’t get past the first fifty pages or so. After looking up the reviews online, I did recognize the cover and remember hearing that this was a life-changing read. And for me, it was.
Over the course of two months, I’ve read every single word, sometimes twice or three times, as if repeating what was written would make it untrue. I cried. I sobbed. I felt angry. But most importantly, I often times stopped to ask myself the questions the author put forward, and a couple of times, asked those around me what their answer would be. I will forever be convinced that this book should be required of all to read and not because I’m vegan, because I’m human.
When the lightbulb finally went off in my head about eating a plant-based diet, my mind wasn’t made because of the animal welfare aspect of the food industry. It was strictly health. We have more “food-like” products available to us to consume now more than ever, as do we have the rising rates of disease in this country. For being such a wealthy country, our healthcare costs are outrageously high and the number of magic pills or solutions on the market are increasing. Coincidence? Absolutely not. I don’t ever want to put my health, my body, in some corporation’s hands ever again.
And then, I read this book. I can now say that not only do I want to control my health, my body, but I want to help prevent the abuse of animals- of all kinds, regardless of whether or not I share a bed with them.
I’m not going to get into detail as to what they do to the animals, I think many Americans are well aware of the common, and must I add approved, practices. But I’m going to come out and ask YOU why do you turn your head away? Why do you allow chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, lambs, etc to suffer? Because it is nature? Because it tastes good? Because it’s easy? Because everyone else does it? Not going to lie, I did it for years and I think it was because I didn’t make it a priority. Because it wasn’t in my life everyday, I didn’t think of it (out of sight, out of mind).
Every day when I wake up, usually next to kitty, I think about the animals I’m not consuming. Sounds morbid but realistically, people eat cats. And dogs. And why shouldn’t they? They are a source of protein just like a rabbit, cow, pig… you get the point. Why do Americans choose to idolize cats and dogs and not pigs? They are just as smart. Or cows? Because of the space needed to let them roam? Ask yourself this:
- Why don’t Americans eat cats and dogs? There are people starving in our communities and shelters across the country euthanize thousands of animals daily. Why not ship them to a slaughterhouse and serve them as dinner? Seriously. This is a serious question.
Take a look at your pet right now and imagine them in a slaughterhouse, in line to get a metal bolt to their head to *hopefully* knock them unconscious. Can you imagine the fear that they might be facing? One clap of thunder and my pitbull is in the other room shaking. Hearing the barks or cries from other animals, I can imagine, would be even more terrifying for him not knowing what was on the other side of the wall. Why shouldn’t cats and dogs be in this line? Why shouldn’t they be tortured alive, punished while living? Because it’s inhumane, that’s why. But we’ve made the conscious decision to let others suffer. How unfair is that?
A few sentences/quotes/questions that made me stop and re-read them a couple of times:
“Given that eating animals is in absolutely no way necessary – unlike some in the world, we have easy access to a wide variety of other foods – should we eat animals?”
“…that small victory of caring over the calculator.”
“…animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse,” and “manure…has been turned into toxic waste.”
“Down in the blood pit they say that the smell of blood makes you aggressive. And it does. You can attitude that if that hog kicks at me, I’m going to get even. You’re already going to kill the hog, but that’s not enough. It has to suffer…you go in hard, push hard, blow the windpipe, make it drown in it’s own blood. Split it’s nose. Alive hog would be running around the pit. It would just be looking up at me and I’d be sticking, and I would just take my knife and- eerk- cut it’s eye out while it was just sitting there. And this hog would just scream. One time I took my knife- it’s sharp enough- and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine, and ground it into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing it’s nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt left on my hand- I was wearing a rubber glove- and I stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know to shit or go blind… I wasn’t the only guy this kind of stuff. One guy I work with actually chases the hogs into the scalding tank. And everybody- hog drivers, shacklers, utility men- uses led pipes on hogs. Everybody knows it, all of it.” – slaughterhouse worker Steve Parrish
I learned many facts about fishing and how not only millions of fish/marine life are being killed on a daily basis, but everything else that makes up the ocean is being destroyed. A staggering prediction was made that by the time 2040 hits, we will most likely not have marine life- except maybe those in factory farming. Today’s fishing practices aren’t the only culprits, but the feces from factory farming leaches into our water system, creating a toxic environment. Can you imagine one day explaining to your children/grandchildren that when we were growing up we had animals called fish living amongst us?
I could go on and on but I’ll sum it up by saying that all should read this book. I’ll also ask the question- who said food had to be cheap? Wouldn’t you rather pay for high quality items that you know aren’t going to kill the cells in your body and cause you to get some disease and/or spend a fortune at the doctor’s office? Consumers are demanding such cheap food but the only way to produce it is by compromising everything we’ve known up to this point and by throwing our values out the door.
The next time you bite into that fresh piece of meat for dinner- remind yourself of this: if you heard someone beating a dog outside your door and it was crying, what would you do? At the very least, call the cops? And why would you call the cops? Because beating an animal and stripping it of it’s rights is against the law. But why did you allow a corporation to abuse the animal on your plate?