the face on your plate

Isn’t man an amazing animal?  He kills wildlife – birds, kangaroos, deer, and all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes – by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed.  Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them.  This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative and fatal health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.  So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.  Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.  David Coats

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I just finished reading “The Face on Your Plate” and I must admit that my life is changed.  I’ve been leaning toward vegetarianism for such a long time now, but haven’t had the guts to make it happen.  This book is really good…only a few chapters long, it focuses on the damage done to the earth, the suffering of animals on factory farms, denial and living as a vegan.  Who was it that said the a mind stretched by a new idea never regains its former dimensions?  So true.  What you know, you can never “un”know.  Having read the chapter on the lives of chickens, cows and pigs, I can’t bear the thought of eating them ever again.  Knowing the details of their lives, the suffering they endure…I can’t bear to be a part of that anymore.

I mean, I “kind-of” knew that things weren’t the way they used to be on the family farm.  Chickens don’t run around pecking and sunning, cows don’t roam the fields and suckle their calves, pigs don’t root and roll in the mud for the sheer joy of it.  I “kind-of” knew things must be much different than that now, but I wouldn’t let myself think about it.  Too late for that now.  Now I have the picture in my head of the calf ripped from its mother at birth, both of them bellowing and obviously in distress.  I see the mother in a pen just large enough to stand in her own waste, not even large enough to lay down.   I see the calf fed a sickening gruel that includes ground up cow(!), similar to what his mother eats.  I see him thrown into a crate, shipped off to become a package of veal.

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I hear the cackling of chickens as they have their beaks clipped, right through nerve endings similar to our nail bed.  I see them crammed into cages smaller than a piece of notebook paper, where they live their whole lives, never seeing the sun, never running or pecking or sitting in a bush or tree at night.

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And I feel the sorrow of the pig who can’t get to her piglets below her in the wire cage where they can look up and nurse, but not be touched at all by their mother’s loving snout.

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I’ll stop now.  I won’t talk anymore,even though there are more things like this in my head.  And the book doesn’t even talk about the slaughter of these animals, just the suffering of their lives.  It’s like my eyes just suddenly opened and I wept at the sight of how cruel we are to these gentle beings.  I don’t want to be a “born-again’ veggie…don’t want to be preachy…don’t want to force my convictions onto any one else.  I only know that I have been changed and I’m glad about it.  I already feel lighter, more spacious and free.  One of the main tenets I try to live by is to do no harm.   Thanks to reading this book, I think I’m doing a better job now of keeping that vow.

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