Here’s the story of why I am now a vegan. I make my own dog food because one of my dogs has serious health problems that are controlled, in part, through diet. I have raised and butchered my own poultry; I know that my chickens and ducks have had the best possible lives, and I strive to make their deaths quick and painless. I know first-hand what the carcass of a happy, foraging, backyard chicken looks like. In December, I bought ten pounds of chicken leg quarters at 49 cents per pound from the grocery store to make into dog food. I thought it was a great bargain. I cooked the chicken and, while de-boning it, found that almost every quarter had a bone that was malformed or showed evidence of one or more healed breaks. I realized that almost every one of the chickens had spent their lives with inflamed joints and broken bones.
I undertook a serious self-education of the reality of commercial animal processing. It turns out that animal welfare is only one part of the problem; our food production system has calamitous consequences on personal and public health, the environment and our society. I have been a vegetarian and vegan in the past, but had not fully accepted the reality of our food network; now I get it. I recommend that anyone interesting in understanding the system should watch “Food, Inc.” and read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I’ve got more to read, too. By constantly thinking and learning about the consequences of my food choices, I find constant validation for my decision. In brief, here are ten of the reasons why I love being a vegan:
I refuse to support an employment system categorized by high-stress, hazardous and emotionally brutal task repetition.
I’ve reduced my carbon foot print.
I don’t participate in our country’s industrial animal-processing system that allows the occasional skinning and butchering of alive, aware animals as a “standard industry practice” that is thereby exempt from animal welfare laws.
I believe in the value and diversity of heritage livestock and poultry breeds.
I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination of kitchen utensils.
I get enough protein from beans, nuts, seeds, grains, veggies and occasional soy products.
I’ve slashed my grocery budget.
Eating out is cheaper, too.
I am full after every meal and eat regular snacks. Almost everything I eat is good for me.
I weigh less than I did two months ago.