Finishing up the fateful year of 2020, I thought it would be a good time to share one of my strongest wishes for the New Year – that we all would eat less meat or animal products, or better still – to remove them from our plates once and for all. Please read on. Please!
With the transition from one year into the next, I want to share a story with you. Three years ago, during summer break, Marisa and I went on a Jucy Camper road trip from San Jose to Mt Rushmore and back. On this trip, we had two very eye-opening encounters. (You don’t have these really often, as these actions are happening outside of our usual surroundings, out in the country.)
As we were driving through the Utah sun in mid July, we were suddenly passed by an enormous truck, carrying LIVE chickens, at about 90MPH (I am not driving slowly, and that guy was passing us!). Marisa and I saw what was going on – live chickens, no water, wings and necks broken from the strong winds, sticking through the cage slats, it was an incredibly heartbreaking sight. We were stunned but I decided to pass the truck again and ask Marisa to take a couple pictures.
This truck full of animals becomes the frozen chicken breast or chicken wings you buy at Safeway or Costco or at your favorite fast food place. It may even be labeled organic if the chickens were organically fed.
A few days earlier we were in the blazing Utah sun, near the Salt Flats. It was 106F, when we had to get gas. A gigantic hog truck pulled up next to us at the gas station. The truck had open slats with live pigs right against them exposed to the burning hot sun with no water. The pigs were screaming in the heat. I was so stunned and I wish I had taken a video. FYI, my daughter, who was already vegetarian at that time for animal love reasons (she is now completely plant-based), needed the entire rest of the day to calm down. It was horrific!
That was your ham, bacon or lunch meat. Period.
Let’s face it. Unless you have raised and slaughtered that animal yourself, you have NO IDEA what it has endured during its lifetime. Do you care? Would it make a difference to you if you saw this with your own eyes? There is a reason why the CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) are kept out of our sight. In the country.
Let’s take China. Their appetite for pork is insatiable. Look at this picture of the newest “Pig Dormitory” as they call them. Inside of buildings several stories tall they are breeding and raising pigs in tiny stalls, sows that never see the sun, cannot turn around, pinned down, the feeding and cleaning process operated by robots, the animals are just a number if at all. Can you imagine the pain, horror, environmental impact of these institutions? And we are surprised we are having “zoonotic” diseases, viruses erupting out of this kind of environment, that we then try to tame with an injection, addressing the symptoms, not the root causes??
These are sentient animals, as smart as our dogs, with feelings, nerves, emotions, family bondings. Reduced to a commodity. Over the last few years, I have been to conferences and talks, I watched footage taken by investigative reporters (who can go to jail if exposed, check out “Ag gag laws”) and documentaries (“Dominion” by Joaquin Phoenix is one of them) and I have seen things you cannot unsee. Do you have any idea where the leather shoes, leather seats in cars, the meat products in the frozen sections at the supermarket, down feather beds or other products are coming from? What is going on in the slaughterhouses?
It’s maybe time to face the disconnect (ham on the plate, “Bailey” or “Fifi” under the table) or cognitive dissonance. I know it can be painful. I have gone through that process to admit I was wrong in the past. Is this the time, with the transition of the years, to close one door and open another? Which way do you want to live? Which direction do you want to look? Do you have children, grandchildren? They won’t have a world in 30, 40, 50 years if we continue to live this way. What we have done to the environment and to the animal kingdom, on a small and on a large scale, within a century or half a century, is despicable. What we are doing to the rainforests to have more room to breed cattle, is like digging our own graves.
We are the only species, the only animals here on Earth that behave the shitty way we do. We pollute, destroy, deforest, harm, exploit, slaughter, and torture. We are the only species on Earth that sends a rover to Mars, but we are so dumb to destroy Earth, the only home we have.
We have known for years that animal and dairy consumption together are among the most influential factors adding to our climate problem, yet most people choose to ignore this information (willful blindness). People don’t want to give up the taste. The human appetite for meat is growing faster than the world population, and it is insatiable. But eating meat or consuming dairy can no longer be considered a “personal” choice when it affects the entire world around us. It affects my kids, it affects your kids, our grandchildren. And don’t tell me about grass-fed or pasture raised etc. – we are 7.8 billion people on Earth – we don’t have the space to raise so many grass-fed animals for our appetite! The Amazon is already burning! Just imagine everybody would want that kind of meat (and just for the record – 99% of all animal products are still coming out of the CAFO’s).
And – here is where I am so passionate as a holistic health coach and nutritionist who has looked into this for a decade – continuing to live and to eat that way affects your health too! Can you make that connection? You are what you eat. You will be in the future what you eat right now, you are right now what you ate in the past. You can drastically improve your health next year by opening your eyes.
And once we “know” things we can change. It is up to you if you want to ignore the facts and keep living a way that is harming your health and harming the health of our planet, or if you want to make a commitment to help turn the ship around.
We can give up habits that “taste good” but are cruel and harmful (for meat and dairy consumption, we are simply paying others to do the dirty work that we don’t want to see).
If you listen to experts in the Food Revolution Network or Dr. Zach Bush (one of my favorite beings here on Earth), among many others, you will learn that we are given about 60-70 “harvests”, or 60-70 years until everything collapses. Yep, that is our kids’ generation. They (we!) will experience mass extinction, mass exodus, the fight for food and water, fires, storms, floodings, and incredible tragedy and disaster. I am sometimes puzzled that so many of my friends sweat about their kids’ education or where they go to college. Believe me, that is one of the LEAST problems they will have. In the end, it is all about survival. And the things out there right now, this past year of 2020, that is just the beginning.
We are the one species here on Earth that needs to get its act together to turn a corner. Fast. Let’s unite and act NOW.
It’s not difficult to be kind to an animal. We just have to do the right thing.
If you have not seen the documentary “A Life on Our Planet” with David Attenborough yet, please watch, including everyone in your household. It was the best documentary I have watched in 2020. (“I am David Attenborough, I am 93 years old. This film is my witness statement, and my vision for the future.”)
We all make mistakes. But we can learn from them and change. We can make a U-turn!
I am curious – if you will be watching David Attenborough’s documentary or set the intention to reduce or omit meat or dairy products next year, send me a message, I would love to hear your thoughts and chat.
“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
“If we know better, we do better.” Maya Angelou.
“If all slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Sir Paul McCartney
Do the right thing.