I have an apology to make. But first, let me explain how I have adored you. I love watching you, seeing how you interact with each other – and with us humans. Watching you play, seeing you get excited rolling in the grass or dirt, sleeping in a sunny spot, stretching, yawning, grooming, caring for your young….all of it makes me smile + I always wonder, what are you thinking, what’s going on behind those eyes + how do you see the world? What do you think of us?
When I can, and it’s safe to do so – #approachwithcare - I want to physically interact with you, be it a little chin scratch, a tummy rub, or a full blown cuddle.
Yet, I was disconnected from the sentience of most of you, for most of my life. I appreciated you, yet I had a pretty clear view of where you fit into my life. You were a pet, you were wild (and therefore warranted protected status) or you were food + raw materials. I told myself this was part of the natural order of things + I didn’t delve too deeply into how you went from being a breathing, living entity, to a plate of chops.
When I woke up + educated myself on the reality of your suffering at the hands of humans – be it factory farming, animal testing or canned hunting – I changed my ways. I stopped eating your flesh, and drinking the fluids or eating the products from this fluid, designed for your own babies, and I stopped working with materials that came from your skin + your insides. Granted, there may be some high welfare versions of life that some of you experienced – but as I couldn’t get transparency on this for the plethora of your products on the market, I figured it was safer to cut them all out. And I also decided, my temporary tastebud or fashion desires, weren’t worth your suffering, fear, trauma + pain.
I envisaged this ‘wake up call’ to be unpopular amongst my fellow humans. Who wants to consider themselves as contributing to animal exploitation after all? Not one person that I’ve spoken to has told me they simply don’t care about you – they’ve expressed sadness + disgust at stories of factory farming. Yet, an uncomfortable moment then follows, where it's mutually understood that I am now 'other' because I've questioned the status quo. Sure enough, since taking you off my plate, I’ve experienced the full gamut of discussion from ‘but soy farming is destructive too’, to ‘animals are killed humanely’, to ‘cows love to be milked’, to ‘how can we feed the planet unless we farm billions of animals’ to 'but why are vegans so irritating' – yet on the whole, people agree it’s the right thing to not contribute to animal cruelty. And still, it goes on daily.
Our population has doubled in the past 50 years, yet the amount of you guys being eaten, has tripled. 1.5 million pigs, 500 million sheep, and 50 billion chickens – just to name a few species in the mix - are killed every year across the globe. Factory farming is ruining the soil, using (increasingly) precious water, contributing to desertification of land, producing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and with all the antibiotics you are being fed to keep you healthy enough to slaughter, given you live in congested, unnatural environments that would normally make you very sick – is going into the water system + then consumed by us humans.
You’re cheaper than you should be – because corporations (and in turn, governments) make it that way. Subsidies are in place, to ensure that you, as a business unit / a cost centre / a profit driver, can continue to grow.
Sadly, I can’t promise fast change in the ways of humans. More than your flesh + your body parts, I fear ‘we’ are too addicted to the profit that you bring. I hope that more of us will ask for transparency – and if ceasing consumption is not a consideration, then may your lives at least be respected with higher welfare + standards adhered to. We know currently this is not the case – and I’m sorry to say, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The humans who take a stand for you, are firmly in the sights of those making a buck from your flesh + hide, and the marketing machine has kicked in. If only we all understood, that we are you + you are us - and messing with nature to the degree that we are, will be perilous for us all.
Founder Sans Beast
For anyone wanting to read or watch more about how we treat animals en masse, particularly factory farmed animals, on the planet - and how it's negatively impacting the environment (and our health, let alone our humanity), here's a list. Be it for ethics, the environment, or health - it's worth your consideration.
- Animal Liberation - Peter Singer
- Farmageddon - Philip Lymbery + Isabel Oakshotte
- Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer