You Can’t Beat Meat!
Almost every day as a vegan, I am bombarded by comments, complaints, radio commercials, TV ads, and unwarranted opinions on the food I don’t eat. I want to make the distinction here that the animals involved are never talked about – it is always how ‘nothing in the world can beat meat.’ If you scroll through my Minds page, you’ll see at least one comment on every other post that is irrelevant to the actual post, but points out how because I’m not eating meat, I’m mentally ill or malnourished. You will also see that every time I ask for evidence of these claims, either the responses stop, or a YouTube video is presented of a person who isn’t accredited stating their opinion on the matter. This kind of behavior has been consistent, and I am beyond used to it by now. I’ve written a few blogs and pointed out the benefits of a vegan diet, misconceptions, and even discussed soy. But the main point of veganism, for me at least, is the animals and they are invisible to the people that speak out against veganism. I can’t think of one argument I’ve been in with someone where they have said something like, “I know the cows get murdered, but we need their protein specifically for x reason.” Or even, “I acknowledge that I am causing the death of animals, but for x health reason, I could never be vegan.” The actual animals are never a subject for conversation. This is partially to blame on societal norms, but also the fault of anyone who chooses to be blind to the reality of the meat and dairy industry.
We live in the age of the internet and I am a firm believer that being ignorant in the world is 99% a choice. Everyone should be aware of what they are putting into their body just as well as where it comes from. A quick google search will give you all the information you’d expect to see about meat – slaughterhouse videos, animal mistreatment, info-graphics, inhumane meat processing, etc. Yet, if you ever watch Cube of Truth reaction videos (CoT is a group that plays slaughter house videos in public places for people to watch and get information on animal ag.) the people who are watching are always shocked to see where their meat comes from. Some people get sick, some people get visibly upset, and others chose to walk by and ignore reality as they do in their daily lives. I’m not here to present you droves of slaughter house videos or show you anything grotesque, but if you are an avid meat eater, I implore you to watch a few so you at least know where your food comes from. Before I get ten comments on how the videos are ‘bias’ and ‘family farms are not like that’ please listen up. The practices shown in most slaughter house videos are more than common on any family-owned small farm. Castration, branding, clipping, forced insemination, methods of slaughter, and treatment cannot be distinguished between industrial farming and family farming. The scale on which it occurs is the only difference as a farmer might have 100 cows, but a factory farm would have 1,000s. This is all methodology that has been put in place to make profit, not to the benefit of the animals. For more information on this subject, I suggest reading The Ultimate Betrayal: Is there Happy Meat? http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com/
Have you ever walked down the street of a city and saw an ad for a meat product, like a burger? In my city, I’ve counted over 40 of these kinds of signs in one block. With this kind of advertisement spread, you would think you should also see things like ads for soy milk, or even for vegetable dishes, right? Wrong. I have yet to visit a city that had advertisements for products that were not meat and dairy based. I have asked others in my life as well as researched online and the rarity of these kinds of ads are severe. This is the same for television advertisement: Arby’s, McDonald’s, Fazoli’s, Steak n’ Shake, Wendy’s, etc. all have television ads that promote their meatiest, cheesiest products. Can you think of one for a salad or for a healthy alternative? The amount of money that goes into the advertisement of these products is overwhelmingly large and hard to avoid. It is on the radio, in newspapers, bulletin boards at work, and in shopping areas too. This is the effort of $190 billion in advertising in motion. If that kind of money that is spent on just the advertising, how much money can you imagine goes into the actual production? The government pays these industries $38 billion yearly just to exist, so the profit of this industry is much larger than America’s highest paid actor. Speaking of acting, this price doesn’t even include the amount of food that is used in entertainment. Think about the shows and movies you watch, what are the families shown eating? How many shows have you seen where the family is vegetarian or vegan? In addition to all of this, there is the products created from the meat industry for your kitchen. The hamburger press, the do -it yourself hot dog maker, the indoor grill, the nuwave oven, the turkey deep-frier, etc. all add into the pool of money that we are spending to fuel this industry. With all this information, where does the comment, “Vegans are pushing their beliefs on us!” come from? I’ve asked several people this when they have used it against me for why they are not vegan. One person said, “At a Chinese restaurant I go to, they have added a V to their menu that marks what food in there is vegan – I don’t need to see that.” And another, “In the milk aisle, at the end, there are two shelves for alternative milks; they’ve just added a new space for those kinds of products.” Each time I hear things like this, I can’t help but laugh. These people are complaining about seeing a hint of something new in their routine when they are literally being drowned in advertisements and promotions for products they support. It is almost brainwashing at this point, but ‘vegans are pushing their beliefs on us!’ is still a common argument that has no logic behind it what-so-ever.
Nutrition and Health
Most of the top causes of death in America today are preventable. In addition to that, they are caused by dietary choices. Heart disease, strokes, cancer, obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, heart attacks, illness, etc. can all be linked back to a diet heavy in meat and dairy – which is high in fat and cholesterol. Americans on average eat 200 pounds of meat yearly, and yet people are confused as to why everyone around them is sick, obese, or dying. I’ve said this in my other blogs, but I’ll say it again here – there is nothing special about meat that makes it a requirement in the human diet. The protein it provides can easily be equated in plant protein. Protein alone doesn’t match up to the amount of fat and cholesterol that must be ingested to reach reasonable protein amounts from meat. Americans eat more meat and dairy than almost any other country except Germany and because of this, we are the unhealthiest. I’ll also add that we are mentally unstable as well as we are the birthplace of the fat acceptance movement, anorexia, the carnivore diet, bulimia, and the atkins diet to name a few insane measures that we have dreamed up. When you go to the doctor and you are overweight, American doctors do not address diet outside of, “Eat what you are eating, but in moderation.” You are not given direction on what that actually means, and it doesn’t address the root problem. I have a shocking piece of information to share with you: Doctors are given a one-hour course on nutrition while in school – that is it. This is one of the biggest problems in our society today. Diet is causing our destruction and doctors are not equipped with the information they need to help us. They are taught how to facilitate the diseases, not cure them. They are trained in how to cut the strings of cholesterol out of people’s veins, but not taught how to prevent it from happening. If you are obese and your doctor is telling you, “You’re as healthy as a horse” you know all too well the plight that I am talking about.
I often hear people arguing against veganism with the icebreaker, “How do you think the cavemen survived all those years? Our ancestors ate meat, so I eat meat.” This is Appeal to Tradition fallacy at its finest. You could easily change this out to say “My family had slaves historically, and they were happy with my family. We treated them good. My ancestors kept slaves, so I can have them, too.” Both statements are void of logic and are not relevant to present day. It is currently unacceptable to keep legal slaves, so claiming a right to it now doesn’t amount to anything. This is the same for the caveman argument; we are not in the Ice Age or fighting for survival so pointing out that someone in history ate meat to survive a harsh climate has no basis of comparison for modern-day Americans. You’d be surprised at how many times this ridiculous point is used, but it is upheld by the speaker with a full belief of its truth.
Something similar I hear related to this is, “My grandmother’s been eating lard and meat since she was a kid and she’s almost 100! She sure didn’t survive all that time on lettuce and dirt. I love my grandma’s cooking, you are disrespecting her by not eating it.” This is a loaded conversation, but I’ll start with noting that almost everyone loves their grandmother’s cooking. It is what they grew up eating, they have an emotional tie to it, and there is tradition tied into the sharing of the food as well. I love my grandmother’s cooking, but it would be disrespectful for someone to invite me to dinner somewhere that I could not eat at. Luckily in my time being vegan, this has not happened, but it is common courtesy that if Peggy hates liver and onions, you don’t invite her over for dinner when that is being served. The stereotypical grandmother is usually overweight, serves very large portions and multiple helpings, and does use a lot of fats and butters in their cooking. That being said, you can live a long life eating that way in some cases. That does not mean that you are healthy by any means. My grandmother is in her 80's and is a smaller woman now. However, five years ago she weighed three times as much as me and ate a lot of foods that were unhealthy. When my grandfather was in the hospital, she lost a lot of weight due to stress and when he died, it was worse. So today, she weights probably less than me, but she has more health problems then I could even list. Just a few months back, she had to have the veins in her throat scrapped from a blockage and she’s on several medications. Longevity or weight does not always equal health. I still eat with my grandmother and she has made changes to her cooking she loves when I come over. She recently revealed to me that she is lactose-intolerant and hadn’t had ice cream in years. I was able to give her a coconut-milk based ice cream and she was so happy. Now she asks for it when I come over. You will not hurt your grandmother by changing your diet; your grandmother in most cases loves you and will like trying new things. I’m not sure why this argument is used so often, but it also has no basis of logic.
We now know that there are billions of dollars in advertising for meat, doctors are not trained in nutrition, meat isn’t the holy grail of food, and your grandmother might not have made the best dietary choices. If you’ve read all this information and still believe that meat eating is your personal choice, I want to remind you that the other being in the equation does not get a say in your decision - that is the animal. I get the comment all the time, “If you want to eat that way, that is fine as long as I can eat the way I want” or “Meat eating is my personal choice and it doesn’t effect you so don’t talk to me about it.” The whole reason that meat eating is not logically a personal choice is because something else is affected outside of one’s self. If I eat a carrot, a plant is being pulled for the ground and that is the extent of it. Eating that carrot is a personal choice because the carrot is not sentient, has no motor skills, has no nervous system, and isn’t a living being. However, when you eat a burger, you are eating an animal that has a family, has a nervous system, has emotion, is sentient, has motor skills, and has personality to name a few things. When people argue that eating vegan is just as harmful as eating meat, I am absolutely disgusted. Any logical person can see that the process of eating a vegetable compared to the process of eating a hot dog are two completely different things and that someone could joke about the life of a creature for their own personal gain just sickens me. You cannot argue or talk sensible to a person like that.
There is a reason you feel uncomfortable watching animal slaughter, and yet it is easier to not watch the video than to stop eating a burger. There are so many alternatives out there now to transition to veganism, the information is out there, and there is a limitless amount of support to help people make the change and people are just choosing not to do it. Whether it be because of advertisements, nutritional advice, tradition, or fallacies, there is always going to be false arguments out there for paying to have defenseless animals slaughtered. Hopefully, to you reading, you have gathered additional information you needed on the subject and have formed some questions on how you are eating today and who is affected by your food choices. Cows grieve over the loss of their young, sheep travel in groups for protection, chickens have a menstruation cycle just like women, and most farm animals exhibit the same type of love and play that you would see in your house pet. These are not dumb, lifeless animals – these are beings full of life.
If not for anything else I’ve written about here today, go meet your food. There are so many sanctuaries and farms out there that are willing to let you spend time with the animals, often free of charge. If you love your cat or dog and you couldn’t understand why anyone would eat them, you owe the rest of the animals you eat that chance to prove you wrong as well. Additional informational links are below (no slaughter videos) and if you would like any other types of resources or information, please reach out. I’m always happy to help. Meat can easily be beaten by the choices you make each day, it is up to you to decide if your food is what it should be. Thank you for reading 😊