My New Year’s promise was a vegetarian day or two. I have always been eating and liked vegetarian food – like all kind of food – but I thought I will do it more regularly from now on. Then my friend told me to watch Cowspiracy. So I once again watched a very thought provoking document in these cold Finland days when it’s good to be inside and do some inside stuff. And after watching this document, I became an insider. Because I got some significant information that not necessarily many people don’t think of and that wasn’t widely spoken about, not even a long ago. I had read something about this issue, but I hadn’t been that aware and concentrated on the topic. The first time I really gave it a chance to run through my brains was now: the issue being that animal agriculture and meat production is the biggest climate polluter adding the globe warming gases in huge amounts, mostly methane. The effect is multiple compared to all the traffic gases for instance. All this according to as a big quarter as United Nation studies. Please watch the document.
I knew we are too big and are just growing over our resources and can’t take it. I knew we are so many that there’s not food for everyone. But besides this overload problems I didn’t realize how much it’s taking water and energy actually to produce meat for instance. That rains forests are hacked down so fast for the livestock and how bad the situation with animal rights looks pretty much everywhere nowadays.
It has been easy to close your eyes to this when you have never really been capable of thinking all this and had grown with a lack of information. I don’t know what is the time scale in human’s life when such natural thing as eating meat and dairy products has ruined out so bad. Since when it wasn’t that happy countryside life like in the storybooks we heard when we are small, where the pigs and cows are smiling and saying oink or moo. My grandma and the family definitely had that – they were self-sufficient farmers. Since when there have been way too much of animal agriculture that their farts and burps have started to affect the climate so bad. I don’t know, and I don’t know how much I should be waging my eating habits now. To be honest, I’m quite confused.
I have always found the “manner of the jungle” – that meat eaters eat meat and prey – very natural. Come on, it has always existed, from the early human ages! Of course, I have hoped that cows, for instance, can have a life after the milk production lowers by a litre or two and they don’t get shot down immediately. Of course, the situation is often the basic one that we can’t really see the connection between the dead food and the lively cow that it was just a short while ago. A cow that has probably lived in a very suspicious circumstances. Whether it says organic, local food or whatever the trend words are these days, you never know how the circumstances are measured and defined. And different countries may have totally different systems. I was actually pretty scared checking the meat shelf in the US, thinking about all those antibiotics, hormones and stuff. But not many of us have never actually been taught to think the story behind the platter. Of course, because it definitely would be beyond our comfortable zone. I remember my dad quitting hunting when I was little because we all the girls in the family refused to eat the rabbits he had hunted. Indeed, he couldn’t do it himself; he had told the bunny to sprint when had reached it first before the other hunters – and that was his last hunting trip. But what is the difference between this and the meat in the grocery store? Nothing. The supermarket meat is probably much worse and never got a chance to run wild free.
Next I talked to my friends about my suspicion. I wanted to hear their story and feelings. One is a total vegetarian, and the other doesn’t eat meat and chicken but is otherwise a free consumer – meaning fish and dairy products are ok.
This one is from the vegetarian:
“In summer 2013 I went to the library and lent a Finnish book ‘Syötäväksi kasvatetut’ by a Finnish writer Elina Lappalainen. It is a nonfiction telling about the meat, milk and egg production in Finland. I hadn’t been previously that well aware of the animal production brutality and I didn’t even know the basics: for instance that the cow is being inseminated each year to get a baby and to start to breastfeed – while the calf is weaned from her mother almost immediately. The cows are killed much earlier than they would live till because the milk production decreases. In the egg industry, the rooster babies are killed being useless because they can’t produce eggs. Besides all this there are very bad circumstances without any incentives. Not the mention the raw methods of the slaughterhouse. The book worked out well, and I immediately quit eating meat and chicken. I thought I have never enjoyed them that much and can live without easily. Back then I also though that within some period I will also leave all the animal based products, I just need to learn how to build my fully nutrient diet first. The quitting of meat was very easy. I could easily find food options also in the restaurants and abroad. Then in 2015, I was dating a vegan guy, and we talked a lot about veganism and how milk and egg production go hand in hand with the meat production. I also started to question the leather use in clothes, shoes and bags. I was searching for information about veganism, was finding out what vitamins I need to take from the pharmacy shelf (B12, D, calcium) and after a few months I started veganism! At home, it has been easy, but when eating out or being abroad, I have to figure out a bit where to go. Product specifications I’m constantly reading. I haven’t noticed any change in my state, but a better conscience.”
A “half vegetarian” told me this:
“It started when I got to know some vegetarians. All my life everyone around me had been eating meat, so I was never capable of questioning it. Then I realized that I can do without meat, and the animal doesn’t have to die just that I could eat it. In general, I don’t like the meat production: that the animals are born in their tight spaces just because they will end up on the platter – that they don’t have a natural life. Beside all this the meat production consumes the globe so much more that the vegetable food. So I have both ethical and ecological reasons. But I also feel better after quitting meat.”
Still from vegetarians mouth:
“According to some recent studies, fish feel the pain, just like a cow for instance, on the contrary to the previous thoughts. Even though it is hard for a human to experience it. Why are a fish and a dog unequal – the first is eaten recklessly and the second, no way! Why has the dog more valuable life than the fish? I think modern human doesn’t need to eat animals to survive because we are not dependent on them anymore. All the nutrients you can easily find in the plant products. Besides the intensive livestock farming and the “why to kill” aspect veganism is much better option ecologically than the mixed eating. Of course, we can always debate whether the locally produced organic meat is more ecological than the beans that are brought from far. It’s an endless question – if you want to eat the best way thinking both the environment and the animals. There’s not really an absolute truth. For me, the biggest cause is the animals.”
Ok, it’s my voice, Henna, again. I guess this issue is a really difficult one and very personal question, which however touches our common globe very closely. Thus, for the start, I think the biggest thing is to be open, and overall think about it. What could work for you but support the globe? Now that I am much more aware of this than ever before I’m going to start working on this one – start thinking what I should do. It won’t be easy, because for instance in this travelling lifestyle food is such a significant part of the cultures. And I know that I think I never could give up sushi for example. At the same time, I don’t want that the world will be overfished… Oh my. Let’s see how it will be with me and you and us and animals and this world. Promise to think about this, though. And watch this document: Cowspiracy. Then we continue. Now that we recognise this!