There is a saying, “Better late than never,” and I believe that to be true. It took me so long to be confronted with the truth about what living and being vegan is all about. When I finally learned the truth about animal agriculture, our health and the environment, I was astonished at how I could have lived more than half my life not knowing and not doing anything to change. My heart hurts just thinking about that.
We go through our lives mostly in full speed, and there are concepts, ideologies and realities that are right in front of us, but we’re not noticing. We’re affixed on our paths, and with so many variables in our lives requiring our immediate attention, the elephant in the room is completely invisible. Some see him early on. Some, like me, take years and years … and for some, the noticing never comes.
The problem is that the elephant in the room is actually hidden away…far away in remote parts of the country in huge cement factories with big iron gates and signs that read “KEEP OUT – TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” We’re not supposed to see what is going on behind those gates. It is actually a crime to view or videotape anything that goes on in that building. Ask yourself… why is it that the place producing our nourishment is completely off limits? Kids never take a school field trip to factory farms or slaughterhouses, do they? The elephant in the room is hidden away in corporate boardrooms, as their ad agencies paint pretty pictures of the animals as our “food.” We’re lulled by the commercials and print ads depicting happy animals and their body parts draped in sauce and spices on fancy dinner plates or fast food drive-through windows.
I wish someone had told me the truth.
I wish someone had told me that baby piglets are castrated, have their teeth pulled and their tails cut off without anesthesia. That way, they cannot be aggressive to the other pigs when they are crowded into their pens by the hundreds – never seeing sunlight or breathing fresh air. Their mothers are kept in metal gestation crates so tightly confining that they cannot turn around to meet their own babies. I wish I had seen for myself the torturous slaughter process that defies any concept of humanity. If someone had told me, if I knew back then, I would have made different choices long ago.
I wish someone had told me that every baby male chick in the egg industry is killed the same day it is born. Male chicks can’t lay eggs and are not suited for food, so they are either ground up alive in a big grinding machine, or packed into garbage bags by the hundreds and left to suffocate…each and every one of them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ5qAfyUuWE Before the female chicks begin their egg-laying career, they will be subjected to the spinning debeaker, where a portion of their sensitive beaks will be burned off. This too, is to keep the hens from pecking each other when they are unnaturally crowded together and put to work. Many will have toes cut off too, without anesthesia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBECp95ow5Q
I wish someone had told me that in order for a female cow to give milk, she must be impregnated and lactating. She is artificially inseminated and waits nine months to have her baby, just like us. When her baby is born, it is taken from her as she wails and cries. The sight and sound of this separation is heart wrenching. Her baby can’t have any of her milk, because the farmer will put metal machinery on her udders, extract the milk and sell it to market so that humans can drink milk and eat dairy. When the milk supply slows down, the same mother cow is impregnated again, and will again know the grief of losing her baby. This will go on for just a few years until she is considered “spent,” and then she’ll be sold to slaughter to make fast food hamburger. Those fancy ads you see on TV will never depict the depths of her misery. Her baby, if it is a boy, will only live a few weeks in a tiny crate and then be slaughtered to make veal. If her baby is a girl, she will enter into the same life as her mother. As a feminist and a mother myself, I really wish I had known that. We may be of a different species, but a mother’s grief is a mother’s grief in any form or language. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kheeL7qcYPY
I wish I had known that eating animal flesh, dairy and eggs was the cause of so much suffering for humans. Take a good hard look inside our hospitals and doctors offices – look at the cancer rate, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic illness…the elephant in the room is there too. I wish someone had told me that a plant-based diet could prevent and reverse these hideous conditions we live with day in and day out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8sGE5n-i1Q http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk
It is just within the last few years that I learned about the connection between animal agriculture and the environment. If you really want to see an elephant in the room, listen to the environmental groups talk about solutions without even addressing the leading cause of climate change – animal agriculture. Our planet is in deep trouble, and using a different light bulb is not going to solve the problem. www.cowspiracy.com.
I wish someone had told me that the crops we grow to feed the animals we eat could feed everyone in the world. If I’d only known that all the protein I would ever need was already in the plants, beans and nuts I already loved to eat. Who knew that broccoli has more protein than steak? I didn’t. Nobody told me.
If I had tasted some of the amazing vegan food I now make for myself and my family, I would have known how much of a difference I could be making for their health and their spirit.
For me, there was no one there to tell me the truth. There was no one there to tap into my consciousness with information that would encourage me to learn more, to understand more and to do more. When something is seriously wrong and needs changing, many of us say, “Wow, someone should do something about that!” Well, now there are someones doing something about that. They are called animal advocates. They are called plant-based nutritionists. They are called informed environmentalists. And they are here to shout the truth from the mountaintops. They are here to help the animals and stop the violence. They are here to prevent and reverse disease and teach us how to respect our bodies. They are here to save the planet from destruction so that our children and their children will have a planet on which they can breathe and drink clean water and eat foods for sustenance. They are here for the very survival of us all. Will you listen when they tell you the truth?
The vegan advocates are addressing the enormous elephant in the room. They have studied the science, the statistics, the evidence, the philosophy and the truth about using animals for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation. Just because you don’t want to look at the atrocities, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Vegan advocates are simply truth tellers. We are the people who might just keep you from having to say the words…”I wish someone had told me.”
Because I just did.