How I became vegan – the taste of guilt!

I’ve always liked to consider myself an open minded individual. Open to understanding things from all perspectives and trying to get a level of understanding to all kinds of issues and beliefs. Take for example my long gone elitist view on Atheism, which has now reverted back into a sense of understanding for everyone’s sets of beliefs. Whether you believe in a god or you believe in nothing, it is not my place to force my opinions and beliefs on to you, but I do think it is a fantastic thing, to discuss it candidly. As with most things in life, your opinion was probably based on something you have consumed as a human being over your life time. These learnings and experiences are what make us who we are. But I also do believe, that many beliefs can be altered over time. Just as race and gender equality have changed over the years. Change isn’t something that happens overnight, but it does happen over time. I do feel as younger people experience life with a different set of teachings, the world changes along with it. Which leads me to the question of, what does guilt taste like? If you’d like to know my personal experience. Well read on.

Earlier this afternoon I had my car in for a service, a service which I actually bought on Groupon because that’s what you do to save money today. As I was sitting down waiting for the service to be completed, I knew I had some time to spare and thankfully I brought along my tablet and some earphones to kill some time watching what ever I had on there. As it turns out I was about to watch what may be the greatest life changing viewing experience of my life. A while ago a friend recommended that I watch this documentary called Earthlings, she said that it would make me look at meat consumption so differently. As it turns out, Earthlings was something I had sitting on my tablet. Waiting for the perfect moment to consume this grossly moving encounter with the fractured relationship between humans and animals. How greed and capitalism have driven the modern world to a place, where we treat animals as a commodity rather than fellow living creatures.

I could not believe that I was in the middle of a waiting room filled with people watching the atrocities depicted in this amazing documentary, even at times to be honest, actively sobbing. There were many moments that I could not bare to watch, but forced myself to anyway.  This documentary is an extremely moving piece, one I believe that every meat eater should watch. I heard this great saying once, if you are not willing to kill it yourself, then don’t eat it. I can’t remember where it came from, but I think at minimum, if your not willing to watch this, then don’t eat it, is a fair enough alternative. Pardon the pun, but after watching this documentary, I think meat is dead to me. I could not bare the thought of looking at another steak and remembering the vision I’d just witnessed. For those of you that know me, you are well aware of the spurts of ‘things’ that I do, but for the first time ever, I really feel that it was the learning experience I needed to really sway my mind on the particular topic of meat consumption. I just thought, is it really worth it?

I don’t think so and I know that by me stopping, I am not going to save the world of these cruel and unnecessary practices, but at least I know I am not a part of it. I have had my struggles dealing with capitalism and understand  it is this economic system that has lead to the current situation we are in, in regards to animal welfare. But I also do believe at the heart of capitalism, there is good. The ability for a free and open market, where people have the ability to earn what ever earning potential they want, has to be a good thing. Although I do not believe in this notion with the caveat of, at all costs. There needs to be that ethical line and unfortunately, that line continual gets broken by large corporations such as Westfarmers (Coles) and Woolworths. At the end of the day, they have a duty of care to make sure the products they are selling to people are of an ethical background. But they themselves are part of the problem. With an ongoing battle to win the war on price and consumer dollar, the pressures they feel, gets felt all the way down the distribution chain and all the way to the slaughter house. When costs need to be cut and price levels need to be maintained, corners will be cut. In this case, the cost of the humane slaughter of animals. The whole notion and hypocrisy of the term ‘humane slaughter’ is somewhat laughable now. But I guess you can’t have slaughter without laughter.

Hey friend, if you are brave enough, please give Earthlings a watch and see how it makes you feel. The way I look at it is at least you can clear yourself of any ignorance or you can continue to remain in the camp of, out of sight out of mind. It’s up to you and I know I definitely feel like a better person for going through it. I obviously understand that this film does not depict the industry standard, in essence it is a sense of visual ethical propaganda, but it worked for me. It was enough to convince me and thats coming from an absolute carnivore. I’d almost rather starve than eat another piece of meat. Seriously. But it also beg’s the question, does one have to go full vegan to feel they are doing their part in the whole world of cruelty to animals? Probably yes, but I will see how I go.

You can watch the full feature of Earthlings below and for those of you who don’t think this kind of thing happens here in Australia, click right here. Yep! So it really is an odd feeling I have now. Hard to almost think about the notion of not eating another Chicken Parma or another lamb chop. But the thought of it actually makes me feel ill. Goodbye to one of my best companions, bacon. I will miss your taste and probably save eight pigs a year in the process.

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