The greatest danger to our future is apathy. ~ Jane Goodall
I admit it. Several years ago, apathy was clearly demonstrated in my complete lack of knowledge and understanding around farming practices, and I was definitely not living a cruelty-free life. Looking back now, I realize I had my head in the sand. But, after reading content from animal rights organizations on social media and doing a bit of my own online research, my eyes were opened to the horrors of factory farming.
While meat was never the first thing I put into my shopping cart, up until 2011, I did eat meat when I was dining out or when I had guests for dinner. I made the decision to stop eating meat because, after all, I’m an animal lover and it didn’t make sense to me to eat one animal while having another as a pet. Also, I had left the meat-and-potatoes-loving man I had lived with for 16 years a few months earlier so I felt the freedom to eat how and what I wanted for the first time in a long time—something that is a bit more complicated in a two-person household.
What Is Veganism
My decision to go vegan was cemented in 2014 after a video was released by Mercy for Animals showing horrific abuse taking place at Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. here in Canada. The image of these abusive acts perpetrated by employees of this dairy farm will be forever seared into my mind. One can’t ‘un-see’ or forget about this type of horror. And it’s difficult to understand how anyone can continue to be a part of this abuse by resuming the consumption of animal products after seeing something like that. As Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.
As a vegan, I don’t wear leather, fur (obviously!), wool, silk or down, nor do I furnish my home with leather furniture. And I wouldn’t buy a car with leather interior either. I haven’t bought any leather or wool products in quite some time, and there are many alternatives to down to keep me warm in the winter.
There are many vegan leathers on the market today and I look forward to the day when animal leather is a thing of the past. Please see this article for alternative sources of leather.
For a list of vegan fashion brands and designers, please visit Farm Sanctuary. With the link I’ve provided, you will also see a 5-minute video from Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of VAUTE that is worth a watch.
The cruelty-free trend is alive and well here in Canada with these 5 Canadian vegan accessory brands to watch for:
As I mentioned in my last post, I have also chosen to eliminate some non-animal products because they fall under the ‘cruelty to animals’ umbrella, most notably, palm oil. In Indonesia and Malaysia, where 85% of palm oil is from, palm oil cultivation is done in an unsustainable way, uses child labour, is destroying the rainforests and, as a consequence, has resulted in the loss of habitat for many species. I now read labels even more carefully than before because palm oil seems to be added to so many products.
Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent? Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated with so little respect and kindness just to make more meat. ~ Jane Goodall
And I want to be clear, the horrors experienced by animals raised for food is not only in the slaughterhouses. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine any part of these animals’ lives as being anything but tormented. They suffer from the moment they are born until their last breaths. And their last breaths often occur on the way to the slaughterhouse due to horrendous conditions they are subjected to during transport. Please visit this website for details.
There are many documentaries about the cruelty of factory farming, but if you can’t sit through a documentary, which I completely understand, I urge you to become aware of the realities. For twenty years, Mercy for Animals [mercyforanimals.org] has been working hard to make the reality for factory-farmed animals a little less horrific. Indeed, their mission is to end factory-farming entirely, both for the animals and for the planet. I pray that is a reality in my lifetime.
The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. ~ Jane Goodall
Cruelty-free living is one small way we can all speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.