Being Vegan

Roberta - Rhinebeck, New York
Entered on July 23, 2008

I don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs. I believe that I have less chance of cancer, heart disease or diabetes. I know I am reducing cruelty to animals and helping our environment. People ask; “Are you a ‘vay-gan’? “No, I am a vegan (vee-gun). Vagans are people who live in Las Vegas. I ate the Standard American Diet (SAD) for most of my life; I started making changes. By 2000, I was vegan. Vegan food is healthful, varied and delicious.

The Poughkeepsie Journal printed a photo of a man tending a grill. In addition to the usual slabs of muscle tissue there is an entire head of a pig, skin, eyes, ears and nose. It appears to be looking at the camera. Many people, vegetarians, vegans and carnivores find this objectionable, my first reaction also.

Now I hope it will help some people realize that the meat they eat was part of a living, breathing and feeling animal. Thousands of unhappy pigs are raised in confined spaces – their waste goes into so-called lagoons, which are major polluting sources.

Cows care tenderly for their calves, but even on organic farms they are separated, mother and baby bellowing for each other. “If she is nursing, she holds back on her milk”, a dairyman said when asked if the calves were allowed to nurse. I believe that many people don’t realize that nature provides every mammal with milk specifically tailored for the needs of its infant. I believe that we humans are better off without a food designed to grow a calf to 800 pounds. “But they don’t kill them”, people say. Actually, they do. A cow can live 20 years, but dairy cows are so spent after four years they are sent to slaughter, then their flesh makes great mystery meat for prisons and school lunches.

It is not only beef that is high in cholesterol; chicken is too. Most of the ten billion animals we slaughter each year in the USA are chickens. McDonalds is now advertising chicken for breakfast, as if people needed to eat more of it. Chickens raised for meat have such large breasts that they can hardly stand. 95% of all eggs come from caged chickens who have the same space as the piece of paper this is printed on.

70 % of grain goes for animal feed. We could end world hunger.

I believe if more people knew about these things they would change their behavior. However, a friend said to me recently, that she knows most of this but has “compartmentalized” it so that she can continue to eat the foods that she enjoys. Consider stepping out of your box. A simple way to think about it – Eat nothing with a face, a mother or a liver. Every time you forgo a pound of meat you save as much water as if you stopped showering for a year – and you get to keep your friends. I believe that this is a good thing.