Adieu 2011

You know a new year is approaching when you walk into Barnes & Noble and half the bargain shelves are stacked with 2012 calendars featuring cats, astrology, vampires and plant life. But oh boy, what a year we have to look forward to: dragons, the presidential election, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit, London Summer Olympics, the end of the world, a total solar eclipse (visible only from northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean), lap tops that are even MORE super-thin than they currently are…

To be honest, I’m a little sad at how much people hated 2011 and how eager they are for it to end. There were definitely some momentous and devastating events like the tsunami in Japan, the Libyan civil war, the formal declaration to end the Iraq war, severe natural disasters and ongoing terrorist attacks around the world, and the still-sagging US economy. But hey…we’re still here! We’re ALIVE and have the privilege to reminisce about 2011. Plus we don’t live in North Korea :)

(The chance of a North Korean reading this? Minimal)

So here’s to surviving 2011 and for a great 2012! *the sound of glass clinking*

As some of you already know from reading my facebook, I actually have a New Years resolution this year…and a hefty one too. My husband proposed just last week that he is going to embark on a vegetarian diet and (I never thought I’d say this) but I will too. How did a carnivorous, meat-loving gal like me come to this conclusion? It happened very gradually yet very quickly (wha?) Gradually because I’ve thought about the issue since last year but didn’t make the decision until just yesterday after watching an eye-opening video called Earthlings. This movie…will absolutely blow your mind and change your world. It sheds light on the very depressing, gruesome and real nature of pet stores, puppy mills, animal shelters, factory farms, leather and fur trades, sports and entertainment industries, and the medical and scientific fields that experiment on animals. Even though I’ve grown up on violent, gory films all my life, I couldn’t watch this entire video with eyes wide open…not without looking away every 20 seconds (but I did finish it). I held my dog the entire time as I bawled and sat on the couch in horror, watching thousands of cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, foxes, sea creatures, etc. being tortured and murdered in unbelievable ways. I feel like I have to explain one particular scene that really got to me because that was the pivotal moment…it’s what made me decide “Okay, I’ve had enough of this…what can I do to help? How can I end their suffering even just a little bit?” This part might be graphic for some readers so don’t read the next two paragraphs.
It was a scene showing the conditions that mink, fox and raccoons undergo in the leather and fur trade. Hundreds of wild fox are captured and put in wire cages so small that some experience cage madness where they continually pace in circles because they’re not used to extreme confinement. They’re left there to wither away and fester in infections until finally (if they’re not already dead) they’re strangled or bashed in the head and then skinned. But sometimes, the humans carrying it out don’t even have the decency to kill the poor creature. One particular scene showed a fox being skinned alive, kicking and squirming for its life (without any anesthetic of course) as its skin was gradually pealed off of its body. I could not believe what I was seeing. It showed the now-skinned fox tossed on the ground…experiencing so much pain that it didn’t even know what to do with itself. I’ve never seen a skinned animal alive before and I never want to again. Its eyes were wide open and you could still see the eyelashes on the poor creature as it blinked just sitting there…a red, bloody mess with no skin or fur. Unspeakable horror. I will never forget it because it looked right at me.

Of course the other sections were just as abhorrent. Pigs were boiled alive while screaming and thrashing, conscious cows had their heads chopped off, chickens were de-beaked (their beaks cut off with a metal machine) to prevent them from pecking each other, cows were de-horned with rusty pliers (blood squirting out while the cows screamed in pain, no anesthetic), etc. After finishing the film, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted with man. I know that not all farms mistreat their animals and this should NOT represent the entire meat industry. But it DOES happen and it happens to an alarming rate of animals each year. Just to be clear, I am not opposed to eating meat from animals that are raised on free-roaming farms – animals that can eat food natural to their diet before coming to a quick, painless demise. But I am entirely and utterly opposed to torturing and murdering animals even for the sake of “food.”
SO. How does me being a vegetarian help prevent this madness?

1) By not supporting large factories (discluding local farms that actually follow regulations) I’m making a statement that says I have respect for sentient life. I don’t wish any cow, pig, chicken, whale, dolphin, etc. to suffer on my behalf. If I find a local farm that upholds these values, great! I can eat meat! But I choose to be skeptical of mass-packaged grocery meat because there’s a big chance that an animal suffered.

2) Love of animals. I’m a mother to two dogs and I can’t imagine anything like this happening to them. Their level of intelligence is NOT much different than these animals (especially pigs and dolphins) so how can I be okay with this happening to some animals and not others?

3) By going vegetarian, I save the lives of approximately 50 animals per year. This especially helps large factories because they’re already performing at max capacity (i.e. chickens can not even open their wings in their cages). Freeing up space allows animals to be more comfortable.

4) There are vegetable-based substitutes for every meat product imaginable (beans, nuts, fruits) and instead of eating a hot dog because I’m “bored”, I can now munch on a bag of trail mix and feel MUCH better conscientiously and nutritionally.

So there it is folks. My very long and emotional explanation as to why I’m going vegetarian. Sorry if this post started out all New Years Eve-y and then turned animal rightsy. Let me reiterate that I’m not against eating meat per say and I don’t hate anyone who does eat meat! This is an ethical decision I’m making for myself ;) And just so I can end on a somewhat happy note, here is a photo from showing Lego characters reenacting a scene from Inception. Haha, good night!


8 thoughts on “Adieu 2011

  1. You are awesome fantastic human being. i wish you much success in your journey. life will always provide us challenges, but those most telling are those we create for ourselves. very proud of you.

    and…. i have seen that fox scene. and it is one of the most disturbing, haunting images I have EVER seen. I’m so sorry you too witnessed it. Nobody would EVER buy fur having seen that.

    did i mention you’re fantastic?

  2. Oh Em, you make me blush and feel WAY too good about myself, ha! Thank you, thank you. Right back at ya…when I was walking the dogs yesterday I kept thinking of you and wondered how you can run 9 miles. I could barely jog for 30 minutes without huffing and puffing.

    Maybe this sounds weird, but I’m so glad you saw that scene too and I’m not the only one. I lot of people who’ve asked me about my decision choose not to watch the video and it’s hard to explain just what I saw that was so horrific. It’s like trying to explain the holocaust in words…but seeing films and photographs are so much more powerful and hits home harder.

    P.S. YOU are fantastic and (on a tangent here) I applaud you for eating less sweets/using less makeup. I started using less makeup out of pure laziness. The swearing, unfortunately, has not diminished.

  3. Shan says:

    That fox scene literally just made me sick. Makes me SO sad. How can human beings be SO cruel?

    The video sounds a lot more gory than some footage I saw a couple of years ago on Nightline (or something like that). I remember seeing footage of dairy workers twisting cows’ tails and then just cutting the tails of with huge plier-like tools without giving the cows any sort of pain meds. THIS scene has haunted me ever since. I can’t imagine seeing the fox scene. But, anyways, that cow scene affected me so much that I wrote a whole journal entry (and I never write in my journal) about how people can be so cruel.

    Anyways, thanks for posting about it. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person in the world who is really sensitive to animal rights. :)

    • Shan, I love that you wrote in your journal about the cow scene (writing is therapy!) I wish more people would voice their opinion on this issue and I think you’re awesome for having such compassion/sympathy towards animals (believe it or not, there are ppl who watched this documentary and…I don’t know if they’re idiots or trying to be macho…but joked about wanting to eat a juicy hamburger in reviews). Heartless :(

  4. Taryn says:

    The entire film was so hard to watch. The fox scene and the whole section on pets will haunt me forever. For New Years, Raul and I went to the grocery store and bought ourselves some Morningstar veggie burgers instead of going out to eat. Couldn’t stand the thought of eating meat. :(

    I can’t imagine you eating only vegetables for the rest of your life. It’s going to be tough no doubt about it. If you ever ate a salad, it’d have to be doused in dressing. Hehe but that’s okay, you gotta start somewhere. This might be a good thing for you and Ben. Eliminating meat will definitely force you guys to eat healthier. :)

    • Haha it sure will be hard some days, but so far so good! We’re making a barbecue-tofu recipe tonight and hopefully it will taste just as good as the vegetarian chili. 5 hours in the crock pot!

      Mmmm…a veggie burger actually sounds good now. Doused in mushrooms. I’ve actually grown fond of salads but I like it when the leaves are dark. No iceberg lettuce for me!

  5. Missy says:

    My mom got that movie and had my younger siblings watch it. Then she gave us a copy. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t have the guts to watch it. I wish you good luck on your vegetarian journey, and kudos to you for being brave enough to do something about it.

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