Years ago I made a life changing decision, and I’ve never looked back:
I became a vegetarian
Many people asked me why I decided to not eat meat. Sometimes I skip around the real answer because I don’t want to suffer through a nasty debate—people might be offended by me not eating meat (this doesn’t make sense to me).
My answer is simple: the welfare of animals.
The day I made the crossover, I was with friends roaming the internet. We stumbled on a series of videos on meat.org (the website is a bit different now), and what we found shifted our thinking. After viewing several videos showing the mistreatment of animals, we pledged to become vegetarian.
Throughout my life I’ve kept a journal of my activity, and that day I wrote:
Sam, Janet, and I watched a horrible video about how animals are treated so we all became vegetarians. I don’t know how long they will last, but I know I will ALWAYS be a vegetarian.
Years later, I’m still a happy, healthy vegetarian. Sam and Janet, on the other hand, didn’t last as long. A month into our pact, Janet’s dad took her to McDonald’s and she caved over a 10-piece McNugget dinner. Sam lasted two years but then crumpled over piping hot dino nuggets (dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets) fresh from the oven. I guess the steamy Velociraptor got her.
Growing up, I vacillated between vegetarian and what most people consider a normal diet. My parents supported me and never forced me to eat meat when I went through these phases. I’d make a frantic break into the vegetarian realm and soon thereafter find myself back consuming bacon or sausage (my favorites.) Until finally that day with Sam and Janet, when we watched a heart-wrenching video I won’t describe here because I don’t care to relive what I felt that day. I haven’t wavered since, and I don’t plan to—ever.
With my recent return to my homesteading roots, spanning the years back through multiple generations and great-grandparents, I have revisited the reason I chose not to consume meat. I realize now that I’ve not been true to my cause. Although I quit meat, I continued to support the mistreatment of animals.
By purchasing products from companies that promote it. Mainstream dairy and poultry companies cram diseased animals into small spaces to suffer through a torturous life. No thank you!
This recent realization has put me back on track. I now see how disconnected we are from our food sources. My great-grandparents raised and cared for their livestock and thought of them as part of the family, because they provided for the family! They did not inject their animals with antibiotic concoctions or feed them GMO garbage that lingered in their system! In our current society, we are disconnected from the animals and we lose sight of their value and purpose. My forebears would cringe if they could see the large dairy production centers.
I was hypocritical for so many years. I became a vegetarian, but I supported poor animal treatment since I failed to research the companies providing my food products. Never again! I recently found local farms where I can purchase eggs and dairy products. I can now witness the welfare of the animals that produce food for me! I can also support the cause of farmers, which I love!
If you care for the general well-being and treatment of animals, you can make three simple changes:
1) Buy eggs locally
Find a nearby farm with egg-laying chickens. You will be surprised how many farms exist! Farm-to-table programs are common and farmers often have an abundance of products. Ask to visit the farm in person to observe the animal treatment and living conditions. During this process, you will likely find yourself closer to your ancestral roots! Also visit a farmer’s market, another great place to find farm-fresh eggs. Verify the authenticity by asking the seller where their farm is located, how many chickens they have, and if you can visit the farm. Some “farmers” buy eggs at the grocery store and re-sell them at these markets.
2) Buy dairy products locally
Similar to #1, visit a local dairy products farm. You would again be surprised at the abundance of farms that sell milk, cheese, butter, and other products. Some farms will let you see the cows! This may not sound exciting to some people, but to others it will be a great experience! You can also find these products at a local farmer’s market.
3) Buy meat locally
Meat nowadays is pumped with GUNK—just research it. Find a local farm that sells the type of meat you want and ask if they treat the animals with antibiotics and what they feed them. Ask to visit the farm. Some farms sell cows, pigs, lambs, etc., and they butcher them for you. Although this may be more expensive, you know what goes into your food and in turn, your body!
One day I plan to raise free-range chickens and maybe a dairy cow. I will accomplish these goals within the next 5 years. If my great-grandparents (who came from Eastern Europe) could set up a functioning homestead in a foreign land, then I can figure it out too.