As I was unwinding after work tonight, I came across a video which really got me thinking about the concept of empathy. I’m sure this video is circulating mainly for the countless tragedies happening to helpless people around the world, which I can barely wrap my brain around either. However, we also cannot overlook the approximate 8.5 – 9 billion land animals and 70 billion sea animals slaughtered in America every year.
Someone has to have a voice for those who do not.
Merriam-Webster defines empathy as,
“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
Basically, the ability to perceive what another being may feel, or to put yourself in another’s shoes. For me, the ability to empathize is what fuels my flame for Veganism.
A year ago—my turning point—I was blind to the purposely hidden, ugly truths happening behind closed doors. We grow up conditioned to believe the notion that we need meat and dairy. Everywhere you look there’s a billboard, tv commercial, magazine ad, or delivery truck promoting the “necessity” for animal products. The best part? The bullshit misconception pushed that these animals are HAPPY. As if they wish to have been put on this earth for their flesh, bone, lactation, etc. to serve our purpose. Thankfully light was shed on this lie for us. Shmesh (J) and I took the plunge to cut out meat randomly one day towards the end of January 2016 while discussing Vegetarianism. The very next day I came across a video titled Dairy is F**KING Scary which revealed the horrors that occur within the dairy industry. There was absolutely no way I could support this industry after becoming aware of this atrocity.
Think you’re doing some justice because the meat you buy was free roaming when living? Newsflash: they all still head to the same torture house. An Australian former slaughterhouse worker unveiled the facts of what goes on in those buildings. In order to make a substantial living wage, workers must kill 100 animals per hour (about 2 animals per minute). Due to this incessant need to work quickly, some animals are not completely unconscious while going down the line to have body parts removed. Their legs, genitals, sides are cut off while alive. The outrageous things this man saw actually turned him vegan, understandably so. ‘Cause this shit is f**king inhumane. Good for you, guy.
The abuse doesn’t begin and end with the slaughterhouses. A cow’s natural lifespan is 20 or more years; ohhh, but not in the HUMAN’S world. On a dairy farm, a cow typically lives only 4 years over which she endures multiple sexual rapes to force impregnation. A cow can’t produce milk unless she has a baby to provide said milk for, right? Science. Logic. Right. Well after being literally fisted, a gestation period of roughly 283 days, and actual labor, her baby is ripped from her within minutes. To which the mother wails for days mourning the loss of her baby. Once the aforementioned four-ish years is up where she can no longer produce milk and is mentally and physically exhausted, she is deemed useless to dairy farmers and is sent off to slaughter. What a lovely life.
So that calf that was taken from its mother—there are two options. If the calf is a female, she grows to live the same exact life as her mother. Joy. If a male, he is shipped off to be veal. These male calves are forced to live in small wooden crates, typically attached to a very short chain. The purpose of the small quarters and short chain? To prevent the calf from walking often and developing too much muscle in their 16-week-long life. The more muscle, the less tender the meat is for consumption. Sorry, lil’ guy confused about this crazy world, you can’t live comfortably (or live at all, for that matter) because of humans’ taste preference.
The Humane Slaughter Act (lol, because any of this is humane) was passed in 1958 and reformed in 1978 clarifying that certain animals must be rendered insensible to pain before slaughtered. Well this act does not apply for chickens or turkeys, meaning they are full blown conscious when their throats are slit or whichever method chosen.
I cringe watching videos of goose feathers being pulled out by the handfuls for down feather furniture items or reading slaughterhouse worker (or POS, should I say) testimonials boasting of abuse such as slicing a live pig’s snout off and shoving brine into the open wound. I cry thinking of the confused, frightened thoughts in these beautiful creatures’ minds during their final moments being pushed through the slaughter line or seeing photos of animals cowering behind one other to hide from the man about to murder them. These animals are aware of what is to happen and I imagine what they may think and feel.
Empathy is the capability to virtually see through another’s reality. As I sit here on my cozy bed in my spacious room within the walls of my sturdy house, I wonder how my soul was lucky enough to be born as a human living a fortunate life rather than a pained cow sexually abused for milk production; a confused calf yanked away from its mother minutes after birth to be shipped off for veal; an ill-fated male chick thrown live down a meat grinder because it provides no use for the egg industry. How did I get so lucky to live a happy, healthy life while these animals are abused, tortured, and slaughtered for days on end?
Is their entire life of pain and suffering really worth the 20 minutes of “yummy” flavor on your taste buds?
Someone has to have a voice for those who do not.
Much Love & Many Nomz,