Wow!

So, I’m posting this morning to give a huge “THANK YOU!” to everyone who read my blog yesterday – yes, all 101 of you. Over one hundred folks visited my blog yesterday! Presumably some of them were me – I know I checked it from a few different computers – but that still leaves a ton of people who read my blog out of curiosity, interest, or maybe just caring about what I’m up to. No matter what your reason, thank you.

In honor of breaking the 100 mark, I couldn’t let the day go by without a post from me.

I got a lot of feedback about my last blog post. Some people were interested in how I’ve found myself in a successful, positive place, a place where I can stretch my legs and go after certain goals and hobbies. Most people congratulated me on my attempt to stay fit, which I very much appreciate – whenever one first begins anything, getting positive feedback is always a plus! But I got other questions about one of the topics I mentioned, particularly in reference to meat.

I am not interested in cutting meat out of my diet for nutritional reasons. In moderation meat is good for you, and protein is always necessary for one’s diet. (I’ve seen too many vegetarians become pale and malnourished as a result.) Nor am I interested in going vegetarian for some kind of transcendent moral reason; I’ve never been one to believe that humanity is not meant to consume meat. We’re animals, and we’re all interconnected in a circle of life on this planet. To try to skip out of that and imply that we’re not animals or that we’re inherently separate from the food chain is simply not part of my moral structure.

However, I do have a strong ethical issue with the meat industry in this country. I have seen way too many hog and chicken confineries for my liking. They are disgusting, foul-smelling factories that churn out animals as nothing more than products. From the moment they’re born until the moment they are slaughtered, these animals are forced to ingest chemicals and the remains of other animals. They stand in their own filth, never allowed to lay down or run around. Some chickens’ feet never touch the ground, because they exist solely in a raised cage (so that the keepers can just sweep out the muck from several cages below). In addition, these factories puke out waste chemicals which run straight into the groundwater and surrounding environment, poisoning the local ecosystems of which they’re a part. The smell is foul and the pollution is ridiculous. Finally, these confineries are able to sell their product the fastest, and at the cheapest rate around. This means that once a confinery moves into town, the local small farmers lose their wholesale market. If you’re Tyson, for example, what’s the point in purchasing five hundred chickens, from three local family farmers, for $2000… if you can purchase 1000 chickens, from one place, for $1000? Before long, family farms crumble under the weight of the corporate meat industry.

I know PETA is usually a bunch of crazies, but they’ve made some good points about the meat industry. There are other less inflammatory websites and books that provide the same information. Regardless, I’ve seen those confineries with my own eyes, and I’ve seen the results in local farming communities. I can’t hold with it.

So, what’s the better choice? That’s where I’m straddling the fence:

On the one hand, I could simply make some sacrifices in certain areas and spend a little more money on meat. If I increase my grocery budget a little, it’s conceivable that I could pay for good, clean, fresh, organic, free-range beef, pork, or chicken. (Then I could simply go vegetarian in places where I can’t be sure – like Sorin, or when I’m out to eat.) This way I don’t support the meat industry, ever, and I will still occasionally be vegetarian.

However, this can get extremely expensive, and if you’re on a poor-college-student budget like I am, it can be even more daunting. Also, I purchase meat relatively infrequently – only every two weeks when I go grocery shopping – and so I’m wondering if I’d even miss it at all, if I got rid of it. And the last point on the vegetarian thing: If I ever do make the choice to convert fully to Judaism, and if I make the choice to observe kosher, going veg is often a good way to do it (as kosher meat can be top-dollar).

tl, dr: I’m debating between going organic/free-range, and going vegetarian totally.

And by the way, to clear up some misconceptions: The only reason I brought up PETA at all is because I worried that people might ask me, “Provide proof!”

The fact is, I’ve witnessed these confineries. I know what it’s like, I know what it does to the environment, and I know what it does to the local small farming community. I grew up in Iowa, where hog and chicken confineries are making a huge – and negative! – impact.

This is the result of my experience, not me drinking the koolaid from PETA.

And in regards to cows’ viewpoints – Note that I am NOT against people eating meat. I support meat-eating. We’re meant to do it, we’re omnivores. That being said, I do think animal rights matter, regardless of how sentient or domesticated the animals may be. So, my issue is not about eating meat as an ethical concern in and of itself, my issue is about eating meat and supporting a corrupt industry.

So, I just wanted to share those thoughts with you. As my last post explained, I am finally at a place in my life where I can reach out and begin to take hold of certain goals and hobbies. Fitness is one of them, and nutrition is part of that; the meat issue is definitely a factor.

PS) Again, thank you so much, all my readers. I don’t know who you are, but thank you!

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3 Responses to “Wow!”

  1. joshuaslane Says:

    April, I voted the 3rd one. However, the promise part I can’t agree with, duh. haha.

    Personally, I find it hard to believe ALL factories treat animals the way PETA, or other videos portray them of doing. Of course I’ll never know, but you have to consider the possibility that these videos are just the extremist point of view. The only way to ultimately get a straight answer is to go to every factor yourself, probably under cover, stay there until something happens (how long are you willing to stay to find your answers?), and if you do this for every factory in the nation..well… That was a great life…

    I’m just pointing out, there will be no way to know the answer whether factories are humane(sp) or not. Just going by PETA, which I find to be an extremist, fundementalist organization, would just be illogical. I remember a show on dateline or something where PETA staged an animal killing of some sorts to prove X company was bad (said the video was from the company).. Of course I can’t say that was 100% true given it was the media, but it just shows that there can be multiple sides of a story in one subject matter.

    For me, I just keep in mind they’re part of the food chain. Answer this, and you will find what you’re looking for. Say you’re a free range cow. Do you have a personality? Do you communicate with your cow friends? Do you have a cow girlfriend? Are you going to cow college? When you’re eating your grass, do you have an ego? A mind of a philosopher? I would have to say no. I know some animals are VERY inteligent, but cows aren’t. How far are you willing to go to protect such an animal? If you indeed believe a cow in the rain with no shelter is sad, and horrible, than you might consider taking meat out of your diet. Because it doesn’t matter how “polite” a butcher can be for you when it comes down to it. They will kill said cow either way. If you don’t care a cow is in the rain with no shelter, than it might not be that big of an issue. What does it matter if the cow /pig or whatever dies a cruel death?

    That brings up my final though, is it cruel? Again, a cow isn’t smart. If they are, there is NO science behind cows having a personality. Maybe brain activity and such, but that to me isn’t evidence of an ego, or soul present. With this statement a cow could be burned to death, or given a trial… It doesn’t matter either way because I don’t think a soul is there to protect. I might sound like I don’t have a heart, but I assure you I do.

    It comes down to what you believe. If you truly think these animals have souls, personalities, and ego’s; than by ALL means research more or just go veg. Like you said, that might help you with you faith too.

    One last note and I’m done I promise. I like to compare this with other domestic animals. Dogs, and cats for example. I STRONGLY believe these animals have personalities. I know they do. My childhood pets were my best friends. I would never want them to die a horrible death because there’s a soul in there. Just when it comes down to it, farm animals AREN’T domesticated for a reason. and I think that reason is the latter. Think hard, it’s not easy 🙂 Just please don’t trust PETA with everything they say. pleaseeee 🙂

  2. Oh, trust me, I’m not.

    The only reason I brought up PETA at all is because I worried that people might ask me, “Provide proof!”

    The fact is, I’ve witnessed these confineries. I know what it’s like, I know what it does to the environment, and I know what it does to the local small farming community. I grew up in Iowa, where hog and chicken confineries are making a huge – and negative! – impact.

    This is the result of my experience, not me drinking the koolaid from PETA.

    And in regards to cows’ viewpoints – Note that I am NOT against people eating meat. I support meat-eating. We’re meant to do it, we’re omnivores. That being said, I do think animal rights matter, regardless of how sentient or domesticated the animals may be. So, my issue is not about eating meat as an ethical concern in and of itself, my issue is about eating meat and supporting a corrupt industry.

  3. joshuaslane Says:

    Corrupt industry? Isn’t that the new name for the USA? bahaha. Good luck on that one. Now a days, every industry is corrupt. /hippie

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