By: Lauren Lockey
It’s difficult to imagine dog and cat meat on the menu in Park City. They are loved so much here that just the thought of it creates deep anger and disgust. We respect and love our four legged furry creatures so much that we come together as a community to find loving homes for those in need, raise our voice of any inclination of abuse, and fight city council for more off leash areas!
This is not the case in countries such as China. One example is their yearly event called the Yulin Dog meat festival. 10,000 dogs and cats expect to be eaten during the 10 day event. Dogs and cats are cramped together in wire cages and often transported 1000 miles without food or water. It is one of the most horrific scenes you can imagine. These animals are often beaten and tortured because instilling fear and stress into their bodies is believed to make their flesh more tasty and desirable. Hung by the neck and beaten with a bat, mouths stapled shut, boiled and skinned alive are just a few of the torture tactics.
It is gruesome and heartbreaking to read or listen to hero, Marc Ching tell his story of going undercover in these areas as a dog/cat meat buyer. Watch a short interview with him here.
However, as we gawk at the very idea of consuming dog or cat meat, most of us have no issue with biting into the flesh of a cow, chicken, lamb, fish, or pig. Maybe it’s too difficult to wrap our minds around such a number as 150 BILLION animals slaughtered each year for human consumption. Therefore today I am going to keep it rather simple and focus on pigs. That brings the number down to 115 MILLION slaughtered each year. That’s quite a few lives taken for bacon, sausage, ham, pepperoni, and pork which are considered to be just as carcinogenic as cigarettes. In other words, they cause cancer. In blunt words, feeding children these foods is like giving them a pack of smokes!
Besides the health effects, this is an ethical issue that must be brought to light again and again. These are 115 million individuals who endure similar lives as those dogs and cats being butchered in other countries.
For a moment, imagine spending 4-6 months in an airplane seat. Yet you can’t get up and stretch your legs or go to the bathroom. We can barely handle a few hours right?! That is the life of a pig in the meat industry.
Their natural life span is 10-12 years but instead they spend 4-6 months(longer if it’s a sow in which they are continually impregnated for up to 4 years) in a metal crate on a cement floor where they are fed specifically to make market weight in a short time without the ability to move or care for their young. You can imagine the stress and boredom this causes when pigs naturally like to burrow in dirt, be social, and oh I don’t know, turn around and walk. Then, just like the dogs and cats, they are transported for long hours/days without food or water in extreme temperatures to the slaughterhouse.
The transport is similar to being stuffed with other humans in an elevator. Except it’s not just for a few floor levels, it’s for a few days. No water, no food, and covered in fecal matter. Pigs are actually very clean animals when given the space. They don’t sweat naturally so they enjoy mud as it keeps them cool. In factory farms and transport trucks they do not have that chance. As piglets, their tails and tips of teeth are docked without painkillers. This is because the crowded conditions cause such stress that pigs will bite eachother to death. You will often find them chewing the bars of their crates.
One single processing plant slaughters 1000 pigs per hour. Yes, per hour! How can such a large scale number not be questioned? Have we become so desensitized and ignorant because of pleasure and convenience? Often due to improper stunning, pigs are still alive when they reach the scalding hot water or have their throats slit. Sound similar to dogs and cats being boiled alive? This is in no way humane. Just the sheer number per hour make it impossible. Therefore, it’s torture. In fact, humane and slaughter are complete opposites! One can’t humanely slaughter someone. It makes no logical sense!
Life matters to all beings. Your life matters to you. My life matters to me. Rats lives matter to them. Cats lives matter to them. Dogs lives matter to them. Pigs lives matter just as much. They are not all the same. They have unique personalities. Some are extroverts, some introverts, etc.. Just like our dogs and cats we love so dearly at home.
This video gives you an idea of what the life of a factory farmed pig is like. I ask you to be courageous because we must bear witness to create change. No matter how hard it is to watch it’s not even a fraction of what these animals go through. You think it’s difficult to give up taste and convenience? Think how difficult it is for these animals destined for our plates. We must begin to think outside ourselves.
What you can do:
- Stop giving your money to the meat and dairy industry. The abuse and slaughter will continue as long as we pay for it and demand it.
- Educate yourself. Watch films such as “Forks over Knives,” “Cowspiracy,” and “Earthlings.” More great films coming out this year and next!
- Make a plan! Everyone is different! Some can give up animal products overnight, some need to be gradual. Try meatless Mondays or meatless 2 days a week! As you gradually introduce more plant foods and grains, animal products will slowly disappear from your plate.
- Join Park City Utah Vegan Fb Page or SLC Vegan FB page for great restaurants, recipes, events, etc..
- Try new recipes and cook yummy plant based meals for your family and friends.
- Explore all the plant based meats and milks out there! These foods are becoming more and more available!
- Leave the animals alone! Sorry..but seriously!
This is not some cult or religion. It is about looking outside ourselves and opening our eyes to the injustices everywhere around us. This choice stems from the ability to educate ourselves and realize how ingrained and brainwashed we are from these multi billion dollar industries. Our government spends roughly $40 billion each year to subsidize the meat and dairy industry. We are constantly bombarded with commercials and slogans to keep up the unhealthy habit. Do you think these industries are really looking out for our best interest? No they are looking out for THEIR best interest! And it all happens on the backs, skins, blood, and bones of sentient beings that value their lives like we do.
We are here for just a speck of time. Let us all leave a legacy of kindness and compassion. Even the world’s greatest scientists and thinkers agree!