When it comes to veganism, I like to use the following metaphor.
For our entire lives, we have lived in this room that had a bright light bulb, but the blinds were always kept shut. Who needs to open the blinds when having the light turned on is so convenient for us? But now I have reached out of the regular comfort zone of most people, and I have opened those blinds, and what I have seen and learned has shocked me in the worst ways possible. We live in this room thinking that life is perfect under this falsely lighted bulb, but it isn’t until we open the blinds and are greeted by the unpleasant surprise of what’s outside that we suddenly realize what has been going on this whole time. We have grown up believing so many lies and it’s awful how because we were raised that way, everybody thinks that way is normal, and that being a vegan is the weird/abnormal thing. Most people choose to keep those blinds closed and ignore what is going on around them. Most people keep those blinds closed as they prepare their chicken and steak for dinner that night.
I recently watched a video on Youtube called “101 Reasons to go Vegan”. My mind has been opened up so much more since watching it and I believe that everyone needs to watch it in order to gain a better understanding and perspective of the world. It’s only an hour long, but of course, not everyone wants to watch that – or even cares to. Why? Because they’d rather stay in the dark about those things. Well I’m here to tell you something. In this case, Ignorance is NOT bliss. You can’t just keep pretending you don’t know what’s going on in our world. We all have to realize all the problems, and work together to fix them and create a better world. So if you don’t want to take the time to watch the video, I have listed below the most important messages I learnt from the film, and believe that they need to be addressed to everyone.
Messages from the Speech: 101 Reasons to Go Vegan
1. The blue and red pills
The man who speaks in this video starts off the presentation by using a reference from the Matrix. If you haven’t seen that movie, what happens is, the main character, Neo, is given a choice. He can pick from two pills: the blue pill which will put him back to sleep and go back to his regular life where nothing has changed. OR he can pick the red pill and discover the shocking horrific truth of what is going on in his world.
Basically the man giving the presentation offers these two options to the audience. Take the blue pill and continue to be sheltered and ignorant to the things in this world, or take the red pill and learn the brutal truth.
I wrote an article a while back ALL about this topic which you can read here. But to touch a bit further on the topic:
The human body was not designed to eat meat. We are also not carnivorous hunters. If we were meant to eat meat, WHY do we get sick if we eat it raw, and worry so much about bacteria when cooking it properly? Real carnivores catch their pray, tear it to shreds and eat it raw. Do humans do that? No. We conveniently let someone do it for us while we go to the grocery store and buy it in a nice little package. Completely innocent, no torture, no blood, no pain. Out of sight, out of mind. Ignorance is NOT bliss. We have become so disconnected to not even recognize what we are eating is another being that we become so numb to it and completely disregard it. That little tiny red slab on your pizza WAS in fact a living breathing creature. The pain and sadness in their energy is then transferred into you when you consume it.
3. The largest land animals strive off of plants
Have you ever really thought about that? People claim humans need meat to survive, and need it to get their protein, yet when you look at the largest land animals on earth, what do you see? Elephants, gorillas, hippos, and rhinos. And what do they eat? PLANTS! They don’t go around complaining about needing dead animal meat to be strong and have protein? Have you seen the size of them? They could squish you in a second (but they wouldn’t). My point is; they are huge, strong, and have ginormous muscles, and they get that all from PLANTS! (and bananas if you’re a gorilla).
4. What makes animals different?
No really, think about it. We claim that farm animals and house pets are different, but why? I can tell you; it’s because this is the way that we have grown up. We were taught that this is the correct way to live. Hitler once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently, it will be believed.” So I can’t blame our society for naturally thinking it’s okay to eat cows and chickens, but so wrong to eat cats and dogs.
But let’s break this down really simple; in the most basic and elementary way:
A puppy has a face. A baby pig has a face
A puppy is cute. A baby pig is cute.
A puppy has family. A baby pig has a family.
A puppy has feelings. A baby pig has feelings.
When you kick a puppy, it will whimper. When you kick a baby pig, it will whimper.
When you kill a puppy, it dies. When you kill a baby pig, it becomes food.
Now do you understand? There is no difference other than the difference we have created. Justifying the slaughter of animals is a social construct. Stop separating farm animals from house pets; they both are animals, they both have feelings, and they both deserved to have a life that is fought for.
5. The difference between real food, and animal ‘food’.
If I brought a strawberry into a room, what would you think? Yum, right? If I brought that strawberry up to your nose, what would you smell? Delicious fresh fruit, right? If I cut that strawberry in half, it would look super appealing, and you’d probably want to eat it, right!? Now ask yourself these same questions if I were to bring a baby pig into the room. What do you see when I bring it in? A baby pig (really cute). What about it’s smell? Hmm, probably a bit dirty or animal-like. And what about if I cut that big in half? Would that be as appealing to you as it was when I did it to the strawberry? GOD NO. Why!? Seriously, why?? Ask yourself this. Why is a strawberry so appealing no matter what you see/smell/taste, but a baby pig can go from being a cute innocent creature, to a dead carcass in a matter of seconds. And do you want to eat that dead carcass? Of course not. So why do you eat it when you buy it from the store and it’s packaged all nicely? Just ask yourself that.
You like food right? I like food as well. I like mangos, and strawberries, and watermelon. I like cucumber, spinach, and sweet potatoes. I like quinoa, and almonds, and oatmeal. I like a whole bunch of foods. And guess what? No harm had to be done to anyone in order for me to get these foods. However when you eat dairy, milk, and eggs, a lot of cruelty and harm goes on.
6. Eggs are hen periods
Have you ever really thought about this either? Each month, a human women sheds an unfertilized egg. What is this called? Her period. The same thing happens to a female hen: she sheds an unfertilized egg. Although a hen’s ‘shedding’ happens way more frequently than a human, it’s still essentially the same thing. So yes people, you are currently eating hen period. Yum.
People never really think about these kinds of things, which is okay if you don’t like critical thinking; I know I never did. But now I have opened my eyes and my mind to so many things. I like researching, educating myself, and reading different articles, books, and facts. I’m always open to new ideas and opinions, even if sometimes it is disturbing. (Yes, I cringed once learning I used to eat hen periods.) But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can simply change the way you live to prevent suffering. All you have to do is learn and be open to change.
7. The nightmare of factory farming is real, and animals do suffer tremendously
I don’t know why people think factory farms don’t exist. And frankly, those who know they exist don’t really care. They brush the thought aside with everything else on their plate. Some people hear about them, but don’t believe they are all that bad. My dad was one of those people. I would tell him these stories about animals being brutally slaughtered, and cows being ripped away from their mothers, and he never really believed me or thought anything more about it. THEN he watched ‘101 Reasons to go Vegan’. I didn’t pressure him or anything. I simply sent him the link and said one day if he has time, he should watch it. The next day he came to me and had so much to say and talk about. He explained how he had NO idea factory farming was like that. He grew up on a farm himself and they raised their own animals and killed them themselves. But in his life he had never seen something so disturbing then that of a factory farm. I won’t spare you the gory details, it’s horrible and people need to know this. I find it ignorant when people say they don’t want to see these videos and turn their heads, yet go to the dinner table and continue to eat meat? WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT CAME FROM PEOPLE? MAKE THE CONNECTION. They don’t just give the cows sleeping pills that make them go night night easily. They don’t just stick a needle in the chicken’s neck and then use their meat. WAKE UP. They keep them in crammed rooms and boxes that over exceed the limit by thousands. They keep them diseased and sick, and even feed them re-grinded dead animals.
The cows get pregnant just for the sole purpose of making milk. She doesn’t start producing milk until she is pregnant. So what they do is artificially inseminate them (also known as rape [sex against one’s will]), and then once she has her baby, it can have two fates. If it’s a male, they send him off to the slaughterhouse to become veal; because what good is a male cow in this world when they 1. Can’t make babies, and 2. The humans rape and impregnate the cows themselves. And if she has a baby girl, she is ripped away from her mother at birth because they don’t want her drinking all that milk they worked so hard to produce. The mother cow’s scream and cry in desperation to get their babies back. Think about if you were in the hospital, and you just had a baby, and then the nurses just came and took her away from you and said you can never see her again. Yea, awful isn’t it?
The life of a breeding sow in the U.S. pork industry is one of extreme confinement, stress, and suffering. There were more than 5.8 million pigs used for breeding in the United States in 2011, most of whom were confined to gestation crates, typically lined up row after row in large sheds. These naturally curious and intelligent animals are first impregnated at 7 months of age and live out their lives in a cycle of pregnancy, birth, and nursing until they are eventually sent to slaughter.
- The majority of breeding sows spend nearly the entirety of each pregnancy confined to a gestation crate, which is only slightly larger than their body, making it impossible for them to lie down comfortably or even turn around.
- Gestation crate floors are usually made of slats, which allow manure to fall through, meaning that sows live directly above their own waste. This design exposes sows to high levels of ammonia, and respiratory disease is common in confined sows.
- Standing on the hard, unnatural slatted flooring of a gestation crate takes a toll on pigs’ feet, causing excessive foot injuries, damage to joints, and even lameness.
- The intense boredom and frustration pigs suffer in gestation crates have been blamed by researchers for abnormal, neurotic behaviors confined pigs sometimes exhibit, like repetitively biting at the bars of the gestation crate or chewing with an empty mouth. These behaviors can lead to additional suffering by causing sores and mouth damage.
- Shortly before piglets are born, sows are moved to “farrowing crates” where the piglets will be nursed. The crates, meant to separate the mother from the piglets to avoid crushing, are restrictive to the point that the mother pig can only stand and lie down — she cannot even turn around to see her piglets.
- At only 17–20 days old, the piglets are taken away from their mothers and undergo a series of mutilations, including being castrated and having a portion of their tails removed without any sort of pain relief. The piglets spend the next 6 months of their lives confined to pens until they reach “market weight”; they are then trucked to slaughter.
- Once piglets are weaned, their mothers are put back into the restrictive gestation crates and re-impregnated, and the cycle continues at an average of 2.1–2.5 litters per year until the sow is considered spent and is sent to slaughter herself.
Chickens used for egg production are among the most abused of all farm animals. In order to meet the consumer demand for eggs, 280 million hens laid 77.3 billion eggs in 2007. From hatching to slaughter, egg-laying hens are subjected to mutilation, confinement, and deprivation of the ability to live their lives as the active, social beings they are.
- Because male chicks will not grow up to lay eggs and, therefore, have little value to the egg industry, 260 million are killed each year upon hatching. Methods include being sucked through a series of pipes onto an electrified “kill plate,” being ground up alive and fully conscious in a “macerator,” or being gassed.
- Female chicks are “debeaked” at a young age, most commonly having a portion of their beaks seared off with a hot blade. Debeaking is meant to prevent the abnormal feather-pecking that can result from the stress of confinement in a battery cage. A chicken’s beak is filled with nerves, and debeaking can result in severe and possibly chronic pain.
- 95% of egg-laying hens spend their lives in battery cages. Battery cages commonly hold 5–10 birds, and each chicken may be given an amount of floor space equivalent to less than a sheet of letter-size paper. Constantly rubbing against and standing on wire cages, hens suffer severe feather loss, and their bodies become covered with bruises and abrasions.
- Today’s hen, selectively bred and artificially induced to yield high egg production, will produce more than 250 eggs annually, compared to 100 eggs annually a century ago.
- In order to shock their bodies into another egg-laying cycle when production declines, hens are sometimes starved and denied any food for up to two weeks — a process known as “force molting.”
The lifespan of an industry chicken would be 5–8 years. However, when egg production declines after 1–2 years, hens are considered “spent” and sent to slaughter. Chickens and turkeys are exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law that requires some animals to be rendered insensible to pain before slaughter.
- Due to a declining market for “spent” hens, producers often elect to kill them by gassing them with high concentrations of carbon dioxide. In some cases, the gas does not kill the birds, and there have been reports of live hens found at landfills crawling out from piles of decomposing chickens
- Every year, 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for meat in the United States. Called “broilers” by the industry, these curious, social birds are treated simply as production units, selectively bred and fed for abnormally fast growth without consideration for their well-being. The resulting large size contributes significantly to suffering, disease, and early death.
- Chickens raised for meat are selectively bred to grow to “market weight” at an alarming pace. In the past 50 years, the amount a chicken used for meat grows each day has increased by more than 300%.
- Chickens in the meat industry typically spend their lives confined to warehouse-like buildings, each packed with as many as 20,000 chickens. On average, the space per chicken is only slightly larger than a sheet of letter-size paper. This crowding can result in scratches and sores from the birds being forced to walk all over each other.
- A 2006 study found that 55% of uncooked chicken purchased from supermarkets contained arsenic, which is known to cause cancer in humans. Arsenic is added to the feed of approximately 70% of the broilers raised each year because it is believed to promote growth.
- Since more than one flock is sometimes kept on the same litter before the floor is cleaned, floors can be covered in the waste of tens of thousands of chickens. Excessive ammonia levels that can result from the waste breaking down can lead to health problems for chickens, including difficulty breathing.
- The lights are kept on nearly constantly in the buildings where chickens raised for meat are confined. This can stimulate eating and unnaturally rapid growth and limits the opportunity for chickens to sleep and rest, all of which leads to serious health problems.
- Studies have consistently shown that approximately 26–30% of broiler chickens suffer from difficulty walking because their skeletons have trouble supporting their rapidly growing bodies. This can also lead to deformities and lameness.
- The rapid growth of broiler chickens is often associated with acute heart failure. The hearts and lungs of the rapidly growing birds are not able to effectively get oxygen circulated throughout the body. This problem is the leading cause of death in chickens as they reach “market weight.”
- With bodies taxed beyond belief, chickens who survive their time in production are often slaughtered at just 42 days old. They are still “peeping” the sound of baby chicks when they are killed – even though their bodies have ballooned to the size of giant adult chickens in this short time due to industry practices.
- At the slaughterhouse, there is no law in place requiring chickens to be rendered unconscious before slaughter, and the electrified water bath stunning used has been shown to cause painful shocks before it stuns the birds.
8. We are the only creature that drinks milk past infancy – AND from another creature
I also wrote a post a while back about Cow’s milk and how humans are not supposed to be drinking it. You can read the full post here.
But really think about this as well. We are the only creature that continues to drink milk past infancy, AND not to mention, we drink another creatures milk.. And out of all the creatures, WHY a cow?? Would you drink your dogs milk? A pigs milk? A hippos milk? Hell, would you drink some random women off the streets milk? Well that’s ludicrous. Why? Because she is a complete stranger. She is not your mother, you do not know her. You therefore do not know what she is like, how healthy she is, what her milk is like, and what it would do for you? Hmmm, sound familiar? Those are the questions you should consider when you drink a cow’s milk. And no they do not create milk for the sole purpose of humans drinking it. They produce it STRICTLY for their babies; just like your mother did.
Not to mention cow’s milk is awful for us to drink and actually contradicts what society tells us and TAKES AWAY calcium from our bodies which makes our bones weaker and gives us a higher change of developing osteoporosis.
9. The cholesterol and proteins in animal by-products is high and unhealthy for humans
Multiple studies have found that eating animal fats and proteins are unhealthy for humans. They cause so many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and so much more. Don’t you find that odd that ‘the food you’re meant to eat’ can cause all of these problems for you? That is because we humans are meant to thrive off of plants. Will fruits and vegetables ever give you heart disease and cancer? NO! In fact, studies done by Colin T. Campbell in The China Study found that eating whole plant based foods can actually reverse cancer growth.
10. It’s just not normal – we can get all of our nutrients from plants.
I’m sure I’ve said this a lot in this post but – it just is not normal. To me, normal eating is growing crops and picking plants from the garden. Normal is cutting up fruits and veggies and enjoying them as they are. To me, it is not natural or normal to impregnate cows and steal their babies. It is not natural to keep thousands of chickens locked up and caged, JUST TO EAT THEIR PERIODS!!! (like wtf) It is not normal to keep animals locked up in small cages/barns, and kill billions of them each year, just to eat them. Why must we take another creatures life just to fulfill our own? We don’t need to – because it’s not natural. The only reason people continue doing this is because it’s what we are used to. That by no means makes it right or normal. Adolf Hitler killed millions of people during the Holocaust. Was this behavior normal? Consider that when you think about all of the innocent lives being slaughtered just so you can eat them.
For some very mind opening photos I’ve added to my blog previously, click here.
5 Reasons Rory Freedman is a Vegan (author of NYT Best Seller Skinny Bitch)