WIAW [The Animals]

Instead of my usually WIAW post today, I’ve decided to not only share my delicious eats, but additionally give some of my thoughts regarding animal rights.

Specifically, I want to explain my rationale for being vegan in the context of animal suffering an cruelty, how I believe it should be avoided and why I make the lifestyle decisions I do.

I think for the next series of WIAW, in addition to my eats, I will share a bit more about my vegan journey. I don’t have anything planned other than exploration, musings and thought provoking rhetoric about said topics. I think that being the day bloggers celebrate a day of eats, it is a great way to explain more about myself through the food context.

Veganism: The Animal Rights Perspective

Growing up, I wouldn’t consider myself an animal lover. I was never overly ambitious in giving my love to the creatures in my life, outside out my cat, whom I found when I was 4 (RIP Mr. Kitty, I miss you). I did love to pick up and cuddle the barn cats and this was a huge cause of concern for my dad, who was scared to death I would get rabies. I did not know he used to shoot the cats either, because I always found the kitties and would bring them home. I apologize to the cat God for any anguish I caused you over my affection, causing my dad to go to extremes.

Other than that though, I liked animals a lot but I was not the person to run across a busy intersection to pet a cute dog. A puppy maybe, but the cuteness factor had a lot to do with it. I’d do the same for a baby.

I didn’t really make the connection between the pain I felt when I hurt myself to the same pain an animal might feel. They can’t speak or tell me things so why would I think they can feel? I was quite disconnected. It’s almost like how the settlers felt about native Americans or slaves. They did not understand the culture and perceived them as different, as not having the same feelings or worth.

Well folks, animals can feel things.

Here are some more in depth explanatory details.

In my personal story, I have always been someone who can feel things I see or read. It’s one of the many reasons I cannot watch horror movies. That person gettin their arm sawed off? Yea I can feel that. It makes me uncomfortable and upset, so I don’t watch that stuff.

I never thought of animals in that way unless I was running and saw roadkill or the one time I hit a squirrel with my car. I buried it appropriately, rabies or not it deserved it. Still, amazingly I did not make the connection.

You see, for me, an animal has just as much right to live as a human. If biology is right, we are all unique species and possess a lot of the same DNA, same feelings and same signals. Until I listened to the RRP and read Eating Animals by Jonathon Saffron Foer, I did not see a dead carcass on my plate or a menstrual cycle in my breakfast. I was shielded from reality and called it food. Well, that changed.

As mentioned in my Vegan Lifestyle Page (which is hard to find and I’m working on it) after reading Eating Animals and then trying hard to disprove it and finding out about more the injustice and disgusting industry practices that gave me “food” I could not do it anymore. I could not separate the beef from the cow, the egg from the chicken or the milk from where it was stolen and how it was done. I saw death and it made me sick.

Animals can feel what we do to them. “Humane slaughter” is the biggest oxymoron. I could not be a cog in that wheel of cruelty anymore.

The thing is, people will say that animals hunt each other in the wild. It’s natural. It’s right. Give me my meat damn it!

I argue however that just because it’s always been done does not make it right (um…slavery, women’s rights) and that as a society develops and progresses, it does not have to do things wrongly anymore. It may have proved necessary for a portion of time(eating other species, not slavery) but we are smarter now, we don’t have to rely on killing and the suffering of other beings to sustain ourselves. We are able to get enough calories and all the correct nutrients through a vegan diet and arguably that is better for us than eating animal products (that is a post for another time).

For myself, I cannot justify killing something or taking its secretions or eggs just because it tastes good. There are too many other good things to eat without that and I don’t need it.

You know what, I don’t want it either.

Not the lightest topic for WIAW but Jen would understand my choices 🙂 No judgments.

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Chocolate banana microwave muffin & apple // hummus over sweet potatoes and tomato sauce & pickles // peanut butter and jelly and banana wrap & bowl of greens // banana&PB protein bowl

What is one thing that changed the way you see the world?

How do you live differently now than 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

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20 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing that Ellie. I do sometimes ask myself that question. I know that God said that it was okay to eat meat after the fall, but animals and people only died because of sin, so death is a result of sin, though, not a sin itself. It’s REALLY something to think about. Thank you for stimulating some thought in my mind this morning to be more aware and thankful about God’s precious world. <333

  2. Very interesting Ellie!! I’m not vegan, but I have gone through several vegetarian phases in my life. I respect you so much for your convictions!
    And that PB protein bowl looks amazing!

  3. I think we’ve definitely screwed up big time when it comes to how we eat meat. I don’t think we are supposed to eat meat in the quantities that we do. I don’t have a conviction about eating meat, but I try to limit it to one meal a day at the most. I tend to prefer veggie options anyways. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  4. i always enjoy hearing about why someone has decided to go vegan! since becoming obsessed with everything michael pollan, we make a concerted effort in my apartment to only choose grass-fed or pasture-raised anything.

  5. Great post and thanks for sharing! I understand when you say about watching a movie and being able to feel what the person is going through–I’m the same, and I can’t watch things like that either. I was vegetarian for a long time, mostly because I just don’t like meat. However, when I was in grad school I started reading all those books about where our food comes from, factory farms, how the animals and workers are treated, and the impact that animal agriculture has on our environment. I went vegan after reading all of those things–I just couldn’t contribute to all the terrible things I was reading about. I never try to push my beliefs on anyone else, but I feel that by being vegan, I can at least do my small part in reducing animal and human suffering and reduce some of the impact on our environment.

    • That’s a great way to be Anne. I’m glad there are vegans like you who live compassionately and allow people to come to their own conclusions about how to live 🙂

  6. I really appreciate your perspective here! Though I follow no particular dietary lifestyle, I really respect when someone can really explain and articulate why they are making decisions, be it paleo, vegan, etc. Kudos to you!

  7. I respect anyone who can compassionately articulate their beliefs and know that it is the right thing for them. I still need to heal my relationship with food before truly deciding on the diet I believe is right for me (layers of eating disorder restriction still cloud why I was vegetarian for so long or still sometimes want to be). I eat 80% vegetarian and feel best doing this – especially since I cannot afford organic/free range/grass fed meats right now. I really hate the thought of supporting mass production or animal cruelty. However, I do believe there is a completely ethical way to eat meat, and that in the right proportions (like Kate said – we’ve screwed this up), it can be a natural part of life.

  8. Ellie, I really like how you articulated your thoughts here. I’ve read a bunch of food-related books and watched documentaries (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and almost all of Pollan’s books plus others) but JSF’s Eating Animals really did provide the best argument against eating animal products that I simply can’t refute. I’d challenge the biggest “meat-lovers” to read it and NOT feel *something.*
    Having said that, I still eat meat, eggs, fish, dairy. I DO limit my consumption, but I know I could do more. I honestly think I could thrive on a vegan diet, but it’s really hard when I have to consider my husband, who has no intention of giving up meat AND does 90% of the cooking. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, though, and I’ve gotten him on the “Oh She Glows” cookbook train! 🙂
    I respect you and others like you who are passionate about veganism. I know this makes me sound like a bad person, but I guess my moral objection just isn’t strong enough to make me change my habits 100%.
    I am so glad to see respectful dialogue in the comments. We all could stand to cut our meat/dairy consumption, as it’s also bad for the environment!

    • Aw thank you for reading my post and the kind words! They mean so much to me because it matters. Every
      time someone decides not to eat a cheeseburger, they are saving animal lives! Did you know that it takes the same amount of water to make a burger as it does to take a shower for 6 months?! I think you’re doing the best you can 🙂 Thank you again for reading!

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Ellie! I love reading about your convictions because they are so solid and fact-based. I also love that you live out your truth. That is so inspiring to me!

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