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Posts tagged ‘Lifestyle Choices’

Sentient Beings

May 18, 2014


cow and pig 4Photo credit: Danel Solabarrieta

Sentient beings, by virtue of their being sentient, have an interest in remaining alive; that is, they prefer, want, or desire to remain alive. We cannot justify treating any sentient non-human as our property, as a resource, as a thing that we can use and kill for our purposes.” – Gary L. Francione

Animal rights can be a touchy subject for many people because it hits too close to home—their stomachs and their lifestyle. Eating non-meat food, or using non-animal based products, challenges their beliefs.

Carl Sagan sums this up nicely in his quote about truth:

“You are a threat to my version of the truth, especially the truth about who I am and what my nature is. The thought that I may have dedicated my life to a lie, that I might have accepted a conventional wisdom that no longer, if it ever did, corresponds to the external reality, that is a very painful realization. I will tend to resist it to the last. I will go to almost any lengths to prevent myself from seeing that the world view that I have dedicated my life to is inadequate.”

Most people don’t like to see any animal abused or killed. Yet we turn a blind eye to suffering that is going on daily—animals bred and killed to satisfy our food, clothing and product desires. It’s not that we’re inherently cruel, it’s that we don’t really think about how our meat, leather and other merchandise comes from living, feeling creatures.

We’ve been taught that using animals is the “natural” and necessary way for us to survive. But we can make different choices. We created this system of animal exploitation and we can change it.

The Ghosts In Our Machine is an excellent documentary that puts a face on animal abuse. Please check it out.

 “The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham

Confessions of a Flesh Eater

June 27, 2012


I ate dead animals. I didn’t kill them—but I consumed their carcasses—I liked it. Cows, pigs, chickens, fish—it was open season. I never really questioned it—that was just the way it was.

Why not eat them? Everyone else did—I learned this from my parents who learned it from their parents. It’s what humans do to survive—it’s necessary and natural for our species. Or is it?

I wanted to know. How would I feel without beef, pork, fish or fowl? Could I survive? Would I thrive? The only way to find out was to stop eating animals for a month and see what happened. So after a lifetime of using animals for food, I decided to eat differently—not out of guilt, but curiosity.

My thirty day vegetarian experiment evolved into a vegan diet when I and stopped eating dairy and eggs—that was almost five years ago. A plant-based diet works for me. I feel better physically and mentally. It reduces my risk for disease and clears my conscience—no other animal needs to die, for me to live.

By questioning my eating habits, I discovered a new truth about what kind of food I needed to eat to survive and thrive—vegetables, beans, nuts, grains and fruits—it’s necessary and natural—for me.

Challenge your habits—there are alternatives.

If you’d like more information about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet, I recommend The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.”
Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

I don’t have a bone to pick with anybody—it’s about personal choice.