Earlier this week I came home from work, and my 11 year old daughter was in tears. “Mom, is is true they cut off the chicken’s beaks?” She had seen one of my Veg subscriptions. She was truly distraught, and then so angry. “We’ve got to stop them from hurting the animals!”
With childhood innocence, her belief is that justice can prevail and bad guys will be stopped. When the truth is, WE are the bad guys. The factory farms exist because of our huge population’s insatiable need for cheap meat, and demanding it several times a day. We don’t want to know how the sausage is made, we just want our $1.50 jumbo hot dog from Costco, and to be able to go to 24 hour fast food and get a tub of fried chicken parts for under $5.
I don’t have the heart to tell her that although the animals live, shortened painful, miserable lives, there truly exists karma. In the form of resistance to antibiotics, heart disease, cancer, environmental waste, climate change. Eventually we will wish we hadn’t used quite so much of the water in the Aquifers for cattle, and corn to feed cattle. The suffering for us will happen later, probably in her lifetime. And that makes me feel hopeless sometimes. The song “How can we sleep when our beds are burning?” running through my head.
I can’t get too hopeless however, since that renders me useless. We all need to do what we can. If everyone could cut back on meat, it would make more of a difference than a small percentage going completely vegetarian. Even one meal a day, or one day a week.
In the end, we’re like the titanic heading for the iceberg on a course that we can’t really change at this point. But, instead of accelerating and going full speed ahead, let’s apply the brakes and coast as slowly as we can. If by not eating meat at every meal, or every day, can give our children a better future, let’s do it. Read that link on the aquifers and think about the difference that makes to your children if it dries up in 2050 or 2070. Change is coming, pay attention.
Now, I am going to go out and enjoy this unnaturally dry and sunny winter weather with my family. I hope that the rains will return, and the storms that ravage other parts of the country will mellow out, but know that this is just a glimpse of our future. And while, my daughter may be sad for the animals, we are all linked together on this earth.