To Vegan or Vegetarian? On the film Vegucated

So I have a bit of a dilemma.

I’ve been being a vegetarian/occasional pescetarian for a little bit now. I used to be very strictly vegetarian, but that was when I was strict about all food in general. Lately, I’ve been eating some fish when its the only protein around, or if its at a good restaurant, but tonight I decided to watch the film that solidified my vegetarianism: Vegucated.

Essentially, a woman takes three people who eat meat, eggs, dairy, everything, off the streets of NYC (through craigslist) and asks if they would be willing to go vegan, and be on film for six weeks–along with some medical tests to see if blood pressure, bloodwork etc. changed.

Then the documentary starts educating them about the horrors of the meat industry. And I do mean horrors. For example–free range means three square feet per chicken, cows are neutered using rubber bands (to slowly cut off blood supply and kill the organ), medical procedures done without anesthesia or antibiotics, pigs are sometimes boiled alive and chicks often don’t even survive the sorting process–and they never even get to see their mothers. I don’t know about you guys, but this cut my meat eating cold. I can’t stand choosing which animals I care about living. I rescue some of the most hated animals around the world–rats–and personally know how cuddly, intelligent, and emotional they can be, so how could I do anything to condone the murder of other sweet, innocent, intelligent animals.

The documentary also goes into how eating meat actually gives oneĀ a huge carbon footprint, along with harming the environment in other ways. One of the more gross ones includes the waste of all of the animals in the farms (yes–these are FARMS not just slaughterhouses) because yes it has to go somewhere. Its stored in the open, then when the storage is full sprayed all over crops as fertilizer I assume (bet you won’t skip washing your veggies before you eat them now, will you?) and runs off into water sources, polluting them and changing the ecosystem drastically. Also those fish I’ve been okay with eating on occasion? Their netting kills tons of other ocean life and wrecks different parts of the ocean floor. Bye-bye salmon.

And before you ask–all of this is legal under a law that states that farm animals are exempted from the animal cruelty act when it comes to COMMON procedures. So because everyone does it, everyone can do it!

I took all this into consideration last time and figured, okay, so I’ll stop eating meat. But the thing is, what I’ve been doing is doing just as much damage, its just making it less personal for me. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated, then separated from their calves so that they can be forced to produce 340% (from the film) of the milk that they would naturally. The calves are either raised to slaughter, raised to be milk cows or sold as veal. Chickens are living on metal grates in packed containers and live no life other than for their eggs. Sheep grown to produce wool are sometimes fed hormones which make them grow folds of skin where more wool can grow (and where insects can lay their eggs!).

I don’t think I can do this anymore.

Hardest to say goodbye to will be my leather filofax which I love, so that’ll likely be the last to go, but I’m going to start making changes. I’m not going to change everything at once, because I want to be able to stick to this one day. I’m going to scramble tofu in the morning instead of eggs, make smoothies with soy milk instead of regular milk and try to start drinking the stuff. And I’m going to buy a pair of fake Uggs that are vegan, and man-made material slippers, instead of the new sheepskin products I was going to get. I’m also going to talk to plenty o’people at IOP (the intensive outpatient program I go to) and my nutritionist about doing this healthfully, because the last thing I need is for people to think I’m doing this just because its a way to cut out food.

We evolved into omnivores because there wasn’t food available–we needed to be able to eat all that we could eat. Now, the food’s available, but we’re still omnivores. The cruelty of animal based products is unnecessary, and as I try to cut out the cruelty I inflict on myself, I want to cut down on my contribution to other acts of cruelty.

Its a good thing I like tofu.

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