Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
- Albert Schweizer
So, this is one of the most incredible stories about animals I've ever read. It's Portia de Rossi's story (from Nov. 2010, O Magazine) on what made her stop eating meat and ultimately become vegan. I found it moving because it gives a glimpse into the souls of the millions of animals that are tortured for human consumption everyday; animals we'll never see or meet. But we should absolutely be thinking of them every time we consume their meat or use products derived from them.
I adore animals and recently adopted the vegan lifestyle as I believe it's a more peaceful and kinder way to live...not to mention healthier, as outlined in The China Study.
This is Portia de Rossi's story on what made her go vegan:
I've always seen myself as an animal lover, but honestly, my affection didn't extend to all animals. I categorized them: Dogs were smart, loyal, and loving, so they were more valueable than, say, goats or pigs. I think that's why I never thought twice about eating meat. Steak and burgers weren't an everyday meal, but I definitely accepted meat as a necessary part of life. That all changed five years ago, when Ellen (DeGeneres) and I moved to a farm in California.
The property was beautiful, with plenty of land for our animals: We had four cows and two calves, and after a few months, we took in a 4-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare named Diva. The night she arrived, I was so worried about her that I couldn't sleep. She had been hauled several hours to our farm, and I feared she might have colic. So at 5 o'clock in the morning, I went out to the pasture to keep an eye on her. I sat very still, watching her until sunrise. Everything was so quiet that I think the animals forgot I was there. Then I witnessed something extraordinary: The cows formed a single-file line, and one by one they touched noses with the new horse as a greeting. The calves wouldn't approach on their own, so one of the cows nudged them forwward. Each of the babies touched the horse's nose, then jumped around and played like little children.
I started crying and thought, I can't possibly keep eating these animals. Before that moment, I wouldn't have fathomed cows doing something like that. I was forced to confront the fact that I had chosen to remain ignorant of their nature because it was just easier that way.
That evening Ellen and I went to dinner at our favorite restaurant, where I often ordered the spaghetti Bolognese. I almost asked for it out of habit. But then I realized I had actually changed. I had no appetite for meat sauce. Giving up beef wasn't just some fleeting idea. Over the next year, I stopped eating all animals and animal products. I always thought going vegan would be difficult, but I genuinely don't crave meat or cheese. And I feel happier, like I'm contributing to making the world a less violent place. Before that morning on the farm, I ranked an animal's value based on how "human" it was. Now I don't judge other beings that way. Every animal has its own inteligence and sensitivities. They're all lovely, worthwhile, and deserving of our respect.
Amen to that Portia! If you want to learn more about the cruelty that's inflicted on innocent animals before they hit our dinner plates, please check out this informative video called "Meet Your Meat" from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
It's a sad video -- I cried watching it -- but this is the truth, and knowledge is power. It helps us make informed life decisions. Unless you are sure the meat you buy is organic, free-range (animals are allowed to roam outdoors), antibiotic & hormone free, and grass fed, it undoubtedly came from a horribly terrifying factory like those in this video. This is precisely where fast food restaurants, like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Wendy's, etc., get their meat from.
Even when I consumed meat, I didn't want to eat it at fast food joints. There's no nourishment to be derived from fast food. To say the "meat" they use is actually meat is laughable. It's dead flesh poisoned with antibiotics, growth hormones, bleach and other chemicals, and worse. The human body is incapable of ridding itself of such toxic substances, especially when consumed countless times over the course of a lifetime.
Going vegan is something I never-in-a-million-years thought I'd do. But the more I learn, about health, nutrition and how animals are treated, the more I see there is no real choice. People who eat sickly animals will become sickly people. I'm all set with that.
Love and Light,