I started this blog, nearly four years ago because I found out something truly shocking. I was shocked by the discovery, but even more shocked that so few people seemed to know.
Animals are being tortured, abused and slaughtered by the billions.
If that doesn't mean anything to you - I strongly believe you haven't thought about it for a nano-second.
Let me say it again -
Animals are being tortured, abused and slaughtered by the billions.
And no one seems to care.
Humans have enslaved cows, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, fish, horses, dogs and plenty more to be used for our UNNECESSARY greed. If you want to debate whether animal products are necessary, I highly recommended this AMAZING full-debate "Animals Should Be Off The Menu" and doing as much follow-up research as you desire. Animal products are completely unnecessary for human consumption and there are plenty of walking, talking, living, breathing, THRIVING vegans out there who prove it. The American Dietetic Association even now state that vegan diets are adequate and HEALTHY for humans in ALL stages of life. The debate is over. Move with the times and get over it so we can move the fuck on. YOU DO NOT NEED ANIMAL PRODUCTS. Throw all the tantrums you want - eventually you will have to accept it, whether by force or by choice - that eating cheese on toast, or bacon and egg McMuffins or the finest caviar or fois-fucking-grois is you being an ignorant consumer with no real grasp of what you are participating in.
Am I saying vegan is the ONLY way? No. No I'm not. Am I saying you're a bad person if you're NOT a vegan? No, of course I'm not. Some of my best friends eat meat and I love them. I wish they would watch Earthlings, but I love them either way.
What am I saying? I am saying - get informed, don't be ignorant and, if you truly DON'T CARE about animal welfare then own that fact and don't dress it up in "protein". That's just fucking annoying. You're not eating a rare steak for protein, you are eating it because you like the taste. End of. I have so much more respect for someone who will say (like my beloved brother) "Hannah, I actually just don't care about animals. Sorry."
Do I believe you?
Do I respect your "honesty"? Sure. Why not.
Why don't I believe you? Because I know that if my brother saw a dog being kicked in the street - he would experience emotion and think it was wrong. If my brother was given a knife and told to slit the throat of a cow, he would not want to do it. Especially if he didn't NEED to. If I am fighting for survival, if I need to kill an animal - of course I would. I'm not a retard. I'm not going to starve myself because I put an animal's life before my own.
Veganism makes sense when applied to REALITY. Not this made-up cooky world meat-eaters are constantly referring to where we are stranded on desert islands. Do you have any idea how many times I've been asked "uuugh would you be vegan if you were stranded on a desert island??? Huuuuh Hannah?? Would you? What if you were DYING???"
Then I would eat what I could, you moron.
But guess what? I do NOT live on a desert island. I live in a fucking city, AS DO YOU. We live in a city, with supermarkets and a wealth of choice at our fingertips. We live in a world where meat is factory farmed and delivered to your local shop in MASS quantities. When you are buying meat and dairy - you are buying something that has been bred unnaturally, locked up, tortured, housed in horrific conditions you wouldn't allow your dog to inhabit for a minute, transported to a slaughterhouse, shot with a stun gun (which often misses) and finally - torn apart. Occasionally conscious. That's what you are paying for. Not to mention all the drugs in its diet you're digesting. Along with your "protein". Of course.
Oh, what's that? You get your meat from your local lovely butcher? Of course you do. What's that? Your aunty grows chickens in her backyard and you eat her eggs when you go there for Christmas? Great. Are you one of those people who uses this as an excuse to eat eggs ALL THE TIME?! Regardless of where they've come from? Do you use your local friendly butcher as an excuse to eat meat at restaurants? This is massively common and massively annoys me. The supposed "Achilles heel" people throw at vegans constantly - this ethical vision, the best case scenario, the fact they "could totally kill a chicken" as an excuse to consume animal products in ANY setting.
Obviously, it's great if you are trying genuinely to make the "ethical" choice with all your animal product consumption. That's all we can ask, really. Do your best, be informed, try and do what is right. If you are DESPERATE to eat meat - try and buy the most ethical kind you can. Research, look into it, try and feel good about it. BUT - just promise you will actually research and not just read articles that support your view point (vegans are guilty of this too. Massively.) Researching isn't looking at the butchers poster on his wall where it says "grass-fed!" That ain't research. That's marketing and propaganda and lies. It's bull-shit. Most marketing is. Of any product, not just animals. Researching means: where do these animals live? What food are they eating? And, most importantly, how are they killed?
How are they killed? This was what made me become a vegan.
I watched an animal get slaughtered and knew, with every fiber of my being that it was not okay. On any level. No part of what I was watching was normal, "natural", humane or necessary.
It represented no food-chain I wanted to be a part of.
Quite simply - it's too far. It's gone way too far. Animals are so meaningless to us now we allow machines to hack them to pieces. Machines. By the billions. And guess what? Even your organic, grass-fed bollocks is sent to a slaughterhouse. Ask your friendly neighborhood farmer if he's allowed to slaughter the meat he sells. Ask him. He isn't. He sends it to a slaughterhouse, my friend. It's a legal thing.
See how fun research is?
Just for arguments sake (because I love arguing...) let's say you found a scenario you were comfortable with. Let's say, you found a source for your meat that you felt 100% happy with. The animal was happy, the farmer is kind, he slits its throat himself once it's "time" (when would that be, by the way?? Right on the cows deathbed? When you decided? When it was at its juiciest peak?) and he chopped it up into happy, unoffensive pieces for you to store in your freezer and consume as desired.
Is that a good scenario? I don't know anymore, it all sounds so hideous. But, I'm imagining that's something most meat-eaters would think is an ethical scenario?
Even in a scenario like this - does any part of that really, truly, fundamentally seem okay to you? Does it make you seem like a carnivore? Does it seem WORTH it? Does all that time and effort and moral dilemma (assuming you had a moral dilemma to send you to the farmer in the first place) really seem worth ...... steak?
When you don't even need steak?
Because you don't.
Seems like a lot of time and energy and effort (and lives) just so you can have steak. Right?
And, if you STILL aren't convinced (you fucking dick) then let me ask you this - what about everyone else? If this is the most ethical scenario - how is everyone supposed to eat this meat? Everyone. All the people on this planet.
Supply like that: lovely ethical supply of animal carcass, will never match demand. Ever. That's how factory farms came to exist in the first place. Factory farming didn't appear overnight. Too many people want meat and animals take time and energy to grow. There ain't that much love out there.
The demand is what needs to change. The demand is the problem. With demand the way it is - animals have no chance. No chance at all and this is why vegans get upset.
Vegans get passionate and angry and emotional sometimes because we don't understand how you truly do not care. Do you really not care at all? How is a cow - an intelligent, beautiful, ALIVE cow, who has babies, experiences pain, fear, love and compassion - not worthy of life? A life where it can live without fear of death? A life without having it's baby taken away to become veal? A life of not being hooked up to milking machines three times a day and sucked dry?
And this is just one cow. One.
Ten billion animals are slaughtered every year in the US alone. Ten billion. For human consumption.
It's not okay. Why are so few people saying it's not okay?
And demand, tragically, is only increasing. For all the new vegans out there and all the awareness spreading, we still don't seem to be making a dint. Population is growing and while America is finally lowering their meat intake (um, thanks Bill Clinton and Beyonce I guess??), China is starting to demand more. And this is China, so we all may as well fuck off. It wants more McDonalds, it wants milkshakes, it wants steak, it wants animal products. China wants to do away with their amazing natural diet that has gotten them so far (China Study anyone?) and move towards an American-style, beef and cheese Diet that has left the States fat, sick and undergoing triple-bypass surgeries.
Come the fuck on, China. Aren't you super smart??
I didn't want to become a vegan. At all. I think very few people WANT to become a freakish social outcast, destined to be hated by all waiters. No one wants to be different. No one wants to be in a minority, fighting to stop what everyone loves. I fight cupcakes. Everyone fucking loves cupcakes. People pass cookies around and I say "no" because I'm vegan and everyone looks at me like I'm the fun police. Sorry guys, didn't mean to remind you that there's torture in your cookie. My bad.
But - THERE IS. And you ignoring it doesn't make it go away. Burying your head in the sand doesn't mean there isn't a war going on around you. A baby cow was taken away from its mother so that you could put butter in your cookie batter.
You should know this. You should WANT to know this. Don't let yourself be lied to.
If I could ask anyone reading this who ISN'T a vegan to do one thing for me, it would be this -
Tomorrow, when you go about your day, take notice of every animal product you encounter. Anything that contains animal products. Notice it and think about it, just for a second. If you go to a store or supermarket - look at how much milk is in the fridges. Look at it and THINK about where milk comes from. A living being is attached to that milk - an actual cow pumped that out of her udders. Look at how much is in the fridge. And now, realize you are in ONE shop. On ONE street. In ONE suburb. In ONE town. In ONE city. In ONE country. Now, think about how much milk there is in the world and how it all had to come from somewhere.
Still think those cows can be happy?
Now, go on to the cheese. How many of the sandwiches for sale contain cheese? How much cheese is in the diary aisle? Guess what cheese is made out of? Milk.
Now butter. Now cream cheese. Now cream. Now all the "buttery spreads". Now the flavored milks. Now the ham. Now the salami. Now the pastrami. Now the prosciutto. Now the lamb shanks. Now the chicken breasts. Now the chicken thighs. Now the whole chickens. Now the mince. Now the steaks. Now the fish. THE FISH. All that fish. The oysters. The mussels. The crab. All of it.
Oh, goodie - now the frozen food aisle - plenty of animal products down there. Now - confectionery aisle. Shall we? Look at alllll that dairy. Now, as you're going through the check-out, notice all the baked shit there? Yep, lots of butter and eggs in there. Allllllll the eggs in all the baked shit in your shitty store.
Okay, we've left the supermarket - now, every vending machine? How about that? Your co-workers lunches? Drinks around you? Every latte. Every fucking Starbucks cup is filled with cow-pus.
Welcome to the mind of a vegan. Welcome.
It's a fucked up world around you, isn't it?
This is your homework. I really hope you take it on.
In real life - I am a nice person. I am compassionate, amicable, easy to get along with, not judgmental... I think. I very rarely get into debates with people about meat-eating or animal rights. Mainly because I know there is no point.
But also, because I have this. My blog. My outlet. This is where I get to share and rant about all the things that make me so, so angry, knowing most people reading will understand on some level.
If you read this and didn't like it, or felt offended, remember this is a VEGAN BLOG. It is a blog about veganism and blogs about such things make up a tiny, tiny portion of the internet. You don't have to be here reading this. You are welcome to move on.
The question I get asked more than ANY is: why are you vegan? I can't begin to count how many times I've been asked this. I used to love it, then I would dread it. It overwhelmed me, consumed me, confused me.... how could I answer such a question without strapping the person down and forcing them to watch 48-hours of animal abuse videos on YouTube, then making them read Eating Animals, then the China Study and finally whipping them up a vegan dinner so they know there is life after fried chicken??
How do I answer this so simply?
Well, I can't. I can't answer something so loaded in a few short sentences.
That's why I have a blog.
And this post, right here, is as good of an answer as I can give. I'm a vegan because it's the logical choice. It makes sense. It makes me feel better on every level.
I don't want to live with my head buried in the sand. I want to know. I want to learn and grow and be the best I can be.
All these things brought me to veganism. Please try it.
Or at least - do your homework.
(That's better isn't it?)
I haven't written anything too personal for a while. There was a time when my blog was almost an online journal. I would post about my personal life when compelled, my problems if they seemed relevant and always got an overwhelmingly positive response. My personal posts would get such flattering comments and I did enjoy writing about things other than veganism occasionally (shock horror.)
But.... I don't do really this anymore.
My blog has become a bit disconnected, a bit lost along the way and I realised this morning, over my morning cup of mocha, it's because people in my real life are reading now. I'm no longer a stranger. My blog is no longer a secret place. It's open and exposed and I am too. Not every single person is reading every single post, obviously, but enough to make me aware. Enough to make me edit what I really want to be writing about. How silly is that? After four years of such lovely feedback and positive reenforcement from both strangers and friends, why should I suddenly start questioning what I want to write about? I am guilty of why would anyone want to read this shit? But thankfully, for what ever reason, people do.
So, what wanky, lame, pointless, personal things have I been dying to post but haven't yet? What have I been keeping from you that I definitely wouldn't have a few years ago?
Here we go.... Let's get personal.
I'm Making a Difference?
Getting to talk passionately about why you're vegan doesn't happen anywhere near as often as I would like. I know a few incredible vegans (four of my friends are (seriously!) and my amazing mother) so I get to share "vegan moments" or little rants more often than most, but sometimes it's talks with non-vegans I crave and they are so so rare.
You want to make a difference.... You want to inform people.... You want to talk about what you think matters. But, it's not really fun for the other party. They don't want to hear about how cows only produce milk when pregnant or how piglets tails are getting cut off at birth.
Vegans understand that. We do.
BUT - it's difficult feeling like you're not doing anything. Not stepping in. Not speaking up.
When I first became vegan I would rant and rave to anyone who would listen. God, it's a miracle I have any friends really. These days I'm far more mellow and only discuss animal rights or "vegan-related-matters" when I gauge people are actually open minded.
A few days ago at work was an amazing, rare morning where people wanted to listen. People were ready to drop their blinders and have an honest, raw conversation about how the world operates and maybe make a few changes. My manager dropped a bomb - she had no idea what marshmallows are made of. Whaaaaaat?! Don't worry, we relished telling her the horrible truth and her reaction was exactly what it should be. Shock. Horror. Denial. Her confession began a brilliant hour or so where myself and a few colleagues talked about what animals are used for, the practicalities of this, the greed of humans .... It was brilliant. I was the only "veggie" in the discussion, but it was so reasonable and open minded you could have thought we all were! I obviously led the whole thing and felt so happy with how accepting and interested everyone was. It gave me faith. Given the right circumstances and the right information, people can care. They may make change.
The next day, I got this amazing message...
How amazing is that? And how lucky am I?
Remember - you have no idea the impact you're making or the ways you may be influencing change. I had no idea the impact I was having on this person, but I was. It is a perfect example for me of what I've always believed: go around being the example of what you want to see in the world. If you are an example, you are living proof it's doable. And not just doable, easy! If you are happy, kind and good and positive, it will be contagious. Don't go around preaching veganism as something militant or elite or negative. It's not. It's eating good food, caring about animals and being informed.
Oh, and feeling great....
That's contagious, surely?
I have to mention also - my friend Stephie. She is an inspiration to me always, but even moreso at the moment - having just CONQUERED Veganuary! Not only is she a successful, brave, beautiful and talented woman, she is now taking the full plunge and staying vegan after enjoying January so much! I could burst I'm so happy for her. Please check our her beautiful space of the internet - Tea in Your Twenties and read about her journey.
I'm Not a Superhero... Though I Try.
Yar.... I'm a bloody busy bee.
I've given up waiting to become someone who isn't busy. Someone who is zen and peaceful and floats around the globe. I always wanted to be like that, as apposed to the ball of mad energy I seem to be. Eh - It's time to embrace. I'm a busy person, probably always will be and the sooner I just accept that and make it work for me, the sooner I can start thriving.
I've been quite obsessed with this "woman I want to be" concept recently. A bit obsessed with wanting to better myself and be a superhero who can work a full time job, have a relationship, keep all my friends, blog regularly, pursue my acting career, start a theatre company, take up voice classes, go to Yoga AND do all my washing.
It's not really possible without being a stress head. Or doing it all badly. Or murdering someone.
I need to be more realistic, strip everything back and decide what to spend my time on. This is nearly impossible because there is nothing I want to cut out. Obviously if my Acting WAS my full time job, there would be no issue. I'd be spending the 40 hours-or-so I spend making coffee doing what I love. But at the moment, I am making coffee for a living (sigh), so outside work, I'm doing everything else that matters to me. I'm trying to keep all these relationships, build new ones, make recipes, be active, pursue my career...... Oh and stop to enjoy it now and then? Yeah that.
It needs a re-jig. Because at the moment it's not working.
I'm pretty tired and pretty stressed, so I'll get back to you on this. I need to cleanse my life, but nothing is getting cut. There is nothing I WANT to cut, I only want to add.
But they haven't invented cloning yet, so I'll have to get cleansing instead.
I'll have to take
At the moment what is working well is keeping a positive mindset (duh). Remembering actively that everything I'm taking on and doing is a CHOICE. I choose to make my life this way and I could also choose to run away to a mountain and spend my life meditating. Remembering you are in control is a very empowering thought. For me anyway.
Projects, projects, projects!
This flies in the face of everything in the above paragraph, but I am so excited about the projects I have coming up! One is acting for a fantastic theatre company here, which will be an enjoyable and important investment of my time. The other is more long-term.....
I am coming back to what I ultimately know I need to be doing: making theatre .... Producing, production managing, writing, maybe even some directing in the future? I'm working with a friend to build something we care about, can be proud of and turn into a theatre company that will become our income. It's ambitious, but we are up to the task ;)
I'm... um .... in Love
Yep. Turns out it's possible. Turns out my years of being alone and thinking I may just never find anyone "right" were all building to something. What I wanted wasn't asking too much.... My dream partner wasn't a dream, he's real.
I won't say much, because this is beyond personal and he will certainly be reading, but I will just say - wow. I'm happy. I'm so, so happy and am experiencing a love I didn't know was possible.
I may write more about this one day, but for now, it's ours. Just ours.
My blog was always a personal place... A safe one... A place I shared thoughts that I wouldn't even vocalise to best friends, so it felt wrong to not at least mention this massive life change. My life has completely changed. It all looks different and only for the best.
I'm incredibly lucky, incredibly loved and pinching myself every day.
This was a result of my co-worker having way too much fun with the label maker.... I appreciated it.
Have a brilliant week everyone. Lots of posts swimming around my head to get working on..... One called "Children Eating Marshmallows". Beware - rant ahead.
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