Let me start this off with me saying I was a meat eater.
I remember going to a wholesale club in Massachusetts, where there were ham steaks (big ones, too) on a sort of tape. They were vacuum sealed and perforated between each one. They came off a huge spool in a cardboard box. Once you had the quantity you wanted, you simply tore off the last one, and tossed them in your cart.
It was only later that I realized those pig slices were probably like some sort of cross-section of the same animal. At least for 4 or 5 of the steaks. It was actually really gross.
I bring this up, as it was probably my first epiphany about what I am actually eating. Growing up, we are told that meat is an important part of your diet, and that beef is “what’s for dinner.” Of course I didn’t stop eating meat because of that realization, but it was the first of many small moments that finally ended with me being vegan.
The meat and dairy industries spend immense budgets on establishing the “black box” approach to meat. Their labels have pastoral farm imagery, and catchy phrases like “Smithfield Farms” and even extensive rebranding efforts on the names of cuts. This is, of course a huge lie being fed to Americans. There is no “farm” in the animal industrial complex. The days of the local farmer, humanely raising and caring for livestock are sadly close to an end.
They sell you the marketing of the farm, and in reality you are buying and consuming mass-produced, inhumanely processed, dangerous meat.
Thankfully, many activists are willing to risk their safety to bring people a real look inside these facilities. Leak after leak of unbelievable pain, suffering, fear, and safety violations are a very regular occurrence.
And how does the government respond? Simple. Instead of more funding for USDA inspectors and a revamp of the inspection process (where many facilities actually “self-certify“), they promote the passage of so-called “Ag-gag bills.” This makes it a significant crime (a felony in most cases) to secretly record, photograph, or video any animal agriculture establishment. Even if from public property.
And, look. I get it. You might not be vegan, and that is fine. But this should still concern you. Most leaks also expose major food safety concerns. What exactly is the industry trying to hide if they are doing everything by the book?
I’d suggest you go out and support your local farmer and butcher, but the US Government is making that harder and harder too.
Bringing this back to the illusion – I always find it so interesting that when people are actually confronted with the reality of what they are eating, their reaction is different. When all the marketing BS is peeled away and you actually slice an animal’s throat open, or even just witness the killing, people pause.
Take for example this amazing video I saw on Facebook. Seriously. Check it out.
Notice how eager everyone was to try the sample and even buy the sausage? But when they actually see the animal, and hear it, and see it go into that box, some of them even physically intervene.
Why is that?
How can we make purchasing decisions so blindly when it is off the shelf, but when there is an inkling of the reality behind the product we change our behavior? Notice how in the video, NO ONE wanted to buy the sausage after realizing what was going on.
And that is my call to action for today. Either go vegan, or go find out what is actually going on with your meat. Pressure companies and regulators to do more to insure your (and your families’) safety, and less to insure the lining of corporate interests’ pockets.