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Veteran vegans, I need your advice!

Hallie123
Posted by Hallie123 at 02/09/2013

*disclaimer: I DO NOT advocate or eat any kind of meat, poultry, or fish; I have not purchased any fur, wool, leather, product tested on animals etc since I was 14 (i'm 16)*
Commercial factory farming vs. “organic” farming. By organic, I mean cows, goats, chickens and all farm animals are fed organic feed (cows are not feed grains but instead eat only grass), never given hormones or antibiotics, are allowed unlimited access to pastures, cows and goats are not milked more than what is healthy, and chickens are not induced to produce eggs by being kept in cages or surrounded by artificial lighting. The animals are treated humanely, with dignity, have the least amount of stress as possible and seem very content and relaxed. I’m curious what you think about this scenario, as there are diary and egg farms out there like this. Some of these include Horizons Organic and Organic Valley. I understand how commercially factory farmed animals are exploited and taken advantage of and I’m against it, yet the organic companies that I listed above are different, as these animals aren’t treated inhumanely and as machines. These companies have small family owned farms providing their products for them and follow Animal Welfare Standards. www.farmers.coop/producer-pools/animal-care-program/
I thoroughly researched the websites of both companies and there is plenty of information and proof (such as interviews with the farmers, videos, photos, etc)If you are vegan, I would like your insight on this topic. Would you still consider this taking advantage of an animal? Cruelty?
I have visited many vegan forums and websites but most of them only talk about one side of the equation, which is commercial factory farming. The documentary that I watched, Vegucated, also looked only at this. I’m very curious about veganism and want to know as much as possible first hand. Do not take this as an insult or challenge, I really respect vegans! For the past few months, I have tried really hard to eat as vegan as possible, but then my family started questioning it and I had no answers. I really want to eat vegan for health and environmental reasons and I don’t want to eat any animal byproduct that has come from an animal who was treated cruelly and tortured. If I were to ever eat an animal byproduct, I would never eat it from a restaurant, I would probably only get it from the two providers listed above. I'm struggling with becoming a full-fledged vegan and I really want all the help and advice I can get. Any kind advice or information is appreciated, please no mean comments!

Responses

DuncanDixon
DuncanDixon at 02/09/2013 23:12:10
Hi Hallie. Thank you for wanting to know more about why. I can't say that I am a "veteren vegan", but I research everyday looking at both sides of the story, so I think that makes me fair.

I will first start with dairy. There is always people saying that organic milk is better, and it is better, no doubt about it. But the behind the scenes that they try and hide from everyone is still there, otherwise the industry wouldn't exist. I will explain what I mean. In order for a cow to start to lactate (along with every mammal) she has to be pregnant. So what the industry does is impregnate them against their will (or I should say that they have no choice in the matter), they then take the calf away from the mother so WE can have the milk and not the baby. Unwanted calves (males) have no purpose for the dairy industry, so they are slaughtered and sold as veal (not eating veal will not stop killing of male calves), this can happen too if the calf is an unwanted female. After she stops giving milk, the process happens again. After she can't produce up to speed, she becomes non profitable.

On to eggs. To get laying hens, the hens come from eggs (no surprise obviously), but what happens to the male chicks? Disposed of. Usually ground up alive, gassed, or slow suffocation in a bin.

In that regard, I am vegan. I am also vegan also, as you say, I do still consider taking advantage of a living creature, cruelty, just as I consider taking advantage of a human, cruelty also.

You will find that people from the industry will always try and justify it, as it is their business after all. And I admire you, taking both sides of the argument to draw your conclusions especially at your age :) Remember that in order to make a free choice, one has to look at the whole story like you are.

Here is a video that you may like to look at. It talks about what Carnism is, and why people that eat meat, eat meat and may bully people that don't. Even applies to some vegetarians attacking the vegans, funny enough. It is about an hour long. freefromharm.org/veganism/carnism-the-psychology-of-eating-meat-a-special-video-presentation-by-melanie-joy/

Also, here is another one, this guy has turned hundreds of thousands vegan by this one presentaion www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4.

I hope this has helped a bit.

Your friend,
Duncan
AndyT
AndyT at 03/21/2013 02:54:42
Hallie,

welcome from my side as well.

Take a look at this great story: http://challengeoppression.com/2010/05/03/a-cows-milk-is-not-yours-to-take/

One thing on top of Duncans great explanation - a person I know once told me that he went vegan when he explained his reasons for being a vegetarian to a friend of the family who happened to be a farmer. That farmer replied "Well, to make it short - there's no meat without dairy". Meaning the two industries are closely interrelated, you can not have one without the other.

I once asked an Indian friend (who also was a vegetarian) how cows (holy animals) are treated in India. His colleague, who had been listening in on our conversation, said "Oh, very well, they are treated with reverence", and when I asked about the male calves, he thought that they would be sent to live on green pastures until the end of their natural lives and so on. My other friend said, "Well, actually not, what happens in his village typically (coming from history and tradition) is that the male calves are killed, their hide is taken from the carcass and stuffed with grass and put on a different pasture, so that the mother cow can see it from the distance and think that her calf is still there." When I asked him whether he does not consider this totally horrible, he agreed with me and admitted that it is not totally in line with "treating cows as holy animals" (maybe that just applies to cows, and not to steers).

Regarding eggs...

In theory, you could have rescue hens yourself at home and eat their eggs (accepting that the act of laying an egg takes a lot of power and nutrients out of the small chicken and thus weakens it) People I know who do have rescue hens feed the eggs back to the hens to avoid that loss.

When you buy your eggs from commercial manufacturers, you have to accept that they get their young hens from hatcheries. In those hatcheries, the male chicks are identified shortly after birth and put to death - in the least expensive way possible, e.g.throwing them into a shredder, or, if a shredder is too expensive, just put in plastic bags and left to suffocate or similar. By buying eggs - battery, free-range, organic, you have no choice but to accept (and condone) that practice. So I rather do without eggs personally.

Best regards,
Andy

PS: A good book that opened my eyes in Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals".
Pete- old energy
Pete- old energy at 03/22/2013 12:34:57
Hi Hallie: My entire purpose in becoming vegan was to stay out of a wheelchair. My Doctor told me that I had to lose at least 40 pounds and could not exercise. It is helped to lose weight, but it has opened a can of worms regarding ethics. Given the above responses, I would further add that the only way to treat animals better is to have fewer "meat" animals around. Cattle do cause gas which is bad for the environment, and I still have not gotten rid of leather shoes. My wife has lost 15 pounds and looks great, but she laughs when I suggest changing a few more life style habits, in particular what we wear. There are also numerous additions to processed food which are animal based that you would need an app on your cell phone to be able to check out each label in the grocery store. On top of all of that, are we supposed to share meals with friends? Clearly we need to adjust our meals, or else they need to eat our way. Possible, but difficult to manage.


Good luck, and I trust that I have added to the confusion.

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