Aside from posting occasional photos of what I love to eat on instagram (how clichéd of me!), you may have noticed that I never talk about what I consider to be moral choices around food. This is deliberate, and this is a rare and unusual share/post for me, but I also have to admit that I find the (much-lampooned) obsession vegans have with drawing attention to their cause understandable; it truly IS difficult not to want to draw attention to the reality of our food industry when you have decided to become aware (and it is absolutely a choice to become aware!) that many of its practices are very far from acceptable, shouldn’t be happening, and are spiritually, emotionally and in all other ways degenerative.
It is hard not to want to spread the facts, not to shout them from the rooftops; but it is confronting to feel judged for your choices and for shying away from the responsibility that comes with the impact that each of us have as individuals on a food industry which is rife with direct and countable victims, who are subjected to pain and suffering and mistreatment at unspeakable levels, needlessly. It isn’t personal choice anymore when there are victims involved. It’s a reality which any of us can choose at any moment to have no part in.
For a very long time I was vegetarian and saw nothing wrong with eating eggs. I remember reading something a life-long vegetarian had written online about how she’d ‘thought’, for years, that she was a vegetarian, whereas she now ‘knew’ she hadn’t truly been vegetarian until she’d stopped eating dairy and eggs. I found this incredibly irritating – what audacity! How patronising! – but it obviously struck a nerve because her words stuck in my mind, where it spun around, gathering momentum and growing in urgency as a call for change (spurred on by a bit of education that I put myself through, deciding to properly engage in those horror-inducing videos, such as the one I’m sharing here, rather than deciding that those who preach about this stuff are simply ‘a bit extreme’ or ‘a bit weird’ or over-sensitive). After learning a lot about our current practices around food production, and about our relationship with animals in general, I found myself actually aligning with her sentiment.
I’m quite a strong-minded person (despite many other failings), and have high standards for myself; I find it very hard to un-see something once I’ve seen it; once I know the reality of a situation which had for so long seemed innocent and harmless, I feel it isn’t OK or possible to go back. I don’t feel it’s OK to behave in ways which I know necessitate cruelty at a fundamental level; disassociating from the reality of what is in the food you buy is not really acceptable anymore; my own taste or convenience really isn’t worth all that (and I have quickly learned that a diet without animal flesh or their secretions is actually very often MORE creative and varied than it may have been previously, because it forces you to think about what you’re eating; that it quickly becomes convenient enough, and your taste-buds change so quickly that you don’t actually want what you previously wanted; the human body’s clever like that).
But it takes different things and different moments for different people, and not everyone will agree. And I’m far from perfect; I make lots of mistakes – but the point is that I try to make fewer mistakes than I used to… Anyway… I stand strongly by the idea that every choice you make that involves money is important; every time you spend money you are voting for a particular kind of world. Money spent supporting an industry which throws unwanted male chicks in plastic bags to die, or into a grinder while they are still alive, while their sisters pop out unfertilised eggs (AKA have their period) for humans to chomp on, over and over again, isn’t a great use of your money. (And unfortunately this isn’t something you can avoid by well-intentioned consumer choice; the male chicks get ground up alive/suffocated as part of the commercial process even if you are buying eggs which advertise themselves as ‘happy’ and ecstatically ‘free’.) Go and buy some art instead and eat something nicer. 🙂 Over and out.