If you love pets, why do you eat pigs?

The author at the age of 16 with his friend Voli Baba

Zoe Well

I have many friends who like them. Pets And post their photos regularly. social media. Sometimes these same friends also post pictures of their barbecues, or barbecued animals. My hunter and fisherman friends often post selfies with the animals they’ve killed. They catch the fish hanging from the hook and unconsciously smile as the fish suffocates. Or they crouch behind the cold bear they have shot, beaming with pride, along with their beloved hunting dog.

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Our relationship with animals is full of contradictions—contradictions I understand well. I grew up an animal lover in New York City, stopping on the street for every dog ​​I saw, begging for my own dog as a child, crying during any movie where an animal was hurt. In high school, I befriended a crowd at the Children’s Zoo in Central Park. I named him Voli Baba and visited him every week. Whenever I reached and called his name, he would come running to me and raise his head to scratch my neck. I loved that crowd.

I also loved the lamb. In fact, the lamb chops were my favorite meal. But one day, I could no longer pretend that there was some essential difference between the olibaba and the lamb chops on my plate. I considered becoming a vegetarian, but the truth was I didn’t want to give up the food I loved, so I told myself that since the animals on my plate were already dead, I can eat them too. I had not yet understood the laws of supply and demand. I didn’t realize that our dollar is our vote that says: “Good job. Do it again.”

Eventually, I realized that my choices had consequences, and when I let my desires eclipse my values ​​by eating animals, I was actively participating in the suffering of those I loved. used to claim My transition from omnivore to pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan spanned eight years. I was a slow learner. Or rather, I was slow to commit to being more deeply aligned with my values. It’s true that in the 1970s and ’80s, there wasn’t much information about the excesses of modern farming, and few people had heard the word “vegan.” At the time, the “substitutes” for meat, milk and eggs tasted awful.

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How different it is now. Many, if not most, people know that animal agriculture is incredibly cruel. It takes a while to learn that soy milk contains essentially the same protein as cow’s milk, but without the antibiotic residues, pus, and toxins that travel up the food chain, and neither does regular factory milk. In finding out the terrible abuse of the Vali cows. Farms Many people are aware that fisheries are being destroyed one after the other as we trawl the oceans and net everything in our path, including the dolphins and turtles we love so much. tend to And where it used to be difficult to become a vegan, now it’s easy.

I’ve heard many reasons not to choose vegan. Foodamong them:

“I can never give up cheese and ice cream.”

“You can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet.”

“My blood type is wrong.”

“We are all eaters, and eating animals is natural. Other animals do it, so why shouldn’t we?”

I understand that. I am a CrossFitter, well aware of the protein requirements associated with weight lifting and high intensity exercise. But the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to have a protein deficiency on a healthy vegetarian diet that meets one’s caloric needs, even if one the player.

I also love the taste of meat, cheese, and eggs, and I know firsthand that it can be difficult to give up foods that one loves, even if there are many plant-based alternatives now available. They burn.

I have the same blood type that a naturopath claimed required meat in one’s diet, but since there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, I along with tens of millions of other vegans. Having happily continued my vegan diet for nearly 35 years, our health and longevity combined provide ample counter-evidence that the blood type claim is shattered.

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And I also admit that non-human omnivores eat animals and that my body can digest meat as well as plants. That doesn’t mean I need animals to suffer unnecessary suffering and death just to please my taste buds.

As a humane educator—who teaches about the interconnected issues of animal protection, human rights, and environmental sustainability—I know that most people resist dietary changes even when they know about them. It turns out that environmental damage from their food choices is not mentioned. . Such resistance can disappear when we pay. attention About the consequences of our actions, and educating ourselves. When the contradictions between our values ​​and actions become so acute. This becomes very important when animal agriculture is destroying the planet. When delicious vegan options become overwhelming; And when the urge to live more compassionately becomes so compelling, we can and do change.

I believe that one day, the majority of us will not eat slaughtered animals or force animals to produce milk and eggs for us. The day will come when enough people will have changed their diets, and food companies will have moved with them, to meet the ever-increasing demand for humane, sustainable, and equitably produced food. Food production systems have been transformed. When this critical mass causes systemic change, the rest of the population will change as well. We eat what we eat because it is what was served to us as children at our dinner tables, in school cafeterias, and in restaurants and convenience stores. If the offerings are different, we will naturally go with our new and more humane diet.

How nice it would be to accelerate this change and not wait and look back with regret at why we stuck with cruel systems so hard while feeding our dogs on bacon. Filling our bird feeders while nibbling on chicken wings. We can create a more peaceful and healthy world right now, so let’s start eating for our future what we want today. A more compassionate world is just a meal away.

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