For me, being a vegetarian has not always easy.
Because I used to eat meat and I associated a lot of fun memories with it, I used to crave it. I associated chicken wings with watching the White Sox (good games, and bad). I associated eating lobster with my summers spent at my grandparents' house in Massachusetts. But now I can't actually say I miss any of it.
The challenge for me today is the dairy and the eggs. It is the Alfredo sauce at an Italian restaurant. It is the cheesy goodness at a Mexican restaurant.
But then I watch this video from Mercy for Animals, "From Farm to Fridge" and ask myself, "Do I want to eat that cheesy goodness if it comes from this? Do I want my dollars to support this suffering?"
In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan wrote,
"The industrialization - and brutalization - of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were all the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow crates and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end - for who could stand the sight?"
I do hope one day the walls of factory come tumbling down. Because while this video is so difficult to watch, it is the reality that is served to us on our plates everyday, and it is optional. Even the most voracious veal eaters prefer that their food not have been tortured.
This kind of suffering does not exist on farms that are certified humane or that are small enough that farmers can plausibly care about the health and welfare of their animals. The meat, egg and dairy industry go to great lengths to ensure that we don't see what is in this video, because if we did, we would only support the farmers who treat animals with dignity.