Written by CharMelodi
People ask me all the time why I went ‘vegan’ and let me tell you … it was by FORCE, not by choice.
The last animal I ate was a factory-farmed salmon that I purchased from a supermarket nearing the end of 2011. I remember the experience vividly; from the texture of the animals flesh in my mouth to the teriyaki sauce I drizzled over it which contrasted nicely with the baked pear slices I’d tossed on top for a culinary flair. The dish was absolutely delicious and somehow sickening to my core. I sat there for a moment in deep contemplation over all of the unknown variables of this ‘meal’ I had just enjoyed.
Firstly, it dawned on me that I had no idea what factory-farmed actually meant. A lot of the fish at my local market sported this seemingly harmless label so I decided it was high time I clued myself in on what and where these factories were; in case I needed to call them and give them a peace of my mind. My googles on factory farms revealed that over 99% of animals used for food are raised in farms that focus on profit and efficiency and not the animals well being (no surprise there, they’re going to die anyway right?). The future food is packed tightly in wire cages, windowless sheds or pens without any freedom to move around and enjoy natural animal behaviors. Most of them never breathe fresh air or frolic in the dirt until they are being herded out of the farm and onto trucks to go to the slaughterhouse. Because the animals are kept in such close living quarters, bacteria runs rampant and the animals are fed large doses of antibiotics to fight off diseases like E-coli and salmonella; both of which are still a major problem in the meat industry.
Adding insult to injury, I learned that most all factory farm animals are genetically modified and fed hormones so that they grow bigger than normal in order to produce more flesh, milk and eggs to sell. Altering an animals genetics for profits is not only questionable, in my opinion it’s down right unnecessary. Chickens can grow so big that their legs can’t support their weight and they die of starvation or dehydration. Transgenic cows are used to produce casein-rich milk which in turn makes “high quality” cheese and glue. Genetically modified pigs are up next, these ‘scientists’ have found a way to disrupt a single gene in order to make “super-muscly” pigs which translates to higher protein and lower pork fat for human consumption.
Make matters worse, these giant factories are polluting the water, air and land at alarming rates. Nine billion animals are slaughtered per year in the United States for human consumption and this staggering number begs several questions; how are they feeding all of these animals? Where are they getting land for all of these farms? Where does all of the manure go? Who’s paying the water bill? How can we worry about global warming while ignoring the methane gas that ruminants like cattle, sheep and goats produce?
I’ve never seen a factory farm and I can attest that the cliche is real; out of sight, out of mind. Before this spur of the moment google quest I had not once wondered how my ‘meat’ was farmed. Also, for the first time in my life I had to consider what type of effect factory had on the animals’ mental and emotional faculties and if that had any effect on the quality of the flesh being consumed. Who cares how the animals feel anyway, since they’re as good as dead right? I suddenly felt a shower of empathy come over me, accompanied by a vision of a few dinosaurs sitting around a table full of barbecued human body parts with their handkerchiefs tucked and their forks polished, ready to dig in. In that moment, the arbitrary line I’d been conditioned to draw between ‘humans’ and ‘animals’ completely dissolved. A cow being a cow doesn’t mean it’s sole purpose on this planet is to be eaten and up until this point, that is exactly what my thought processes was. The “food chain” programming is real.
The main thing that bothered me out of all of these discoveries was the genetic modifications taking place to make more profit. Altering a chickens DNA so that humans can enjoy that $5 bucket of chicken seems a bit extreme when plants grow vegetables and trees drop fruits freely for our consumption. Do we really need to play God for a few more grams of “protein”? I always say, when you genetically modify the foods, you genetically modify the people. You are what you eat and it should be of no surprise that your dinner alters your genetics. As soon as that genetically modified salmon’s flesh hit my stomach, genes that are involved with digestion are activated and began to break down into carbs, amino acids, fatty acids etc. These substances were absorbed into my circulatory system and the blood carried the nutrients to the cells in my body and they are transformed yet again, using the amino acids to synthesize their own proteins as well as glucose for cellular energy, so on and so forth. Eating is sexual/intercourse and the thought of merging my own genetics with the salmon’s altered genetics made me sick, literally.
That’s when I came across epigenetics which refers to the changes in gene expression from the environment or outside forces. These changes are not within the DNA itself but instead in its enzymes and other chemicals that surround the DNA which effect how the DNA unwinds its various sections to make proteins or produce new cells. A good example is the Queen Bee of the beehive, who is born genetically identical to worker bees but once she’s fed a diet of royal jelly in large quantities over extended periods of time; she becomes royalty. The Queen Bees live for years, produce up to 2,000 eggs on a summer day and never pollinate a single flower. Her genes were no different than her sisters genes but because she was fed a different diet, she emerges as queen of the hive.
Lets insert a pause here, for emphasis.
Are the elites eating Popeyes? Or royal jelly? This was the proverbial nail in the coffin for me. No way I’m supposed to be eating subsidized ‘foods’ made in a lab dude, I’m supposed to be Queen Bee around this mug! Not long after this candid discovery I watched the movie Soylent Green and I was floored. The masses were being fed processed squares of processed human flesh, unbeknownst to them; while the elites had the most immaculate greenhouse one could imagine in those times. Total disrespect. This also brings to mind the newest Mad Max film, Fury Road. The elites in that movie also had a garden called “the Green Place”. The powers that be have been subtly telling us the entire time; you ARE what you eat and your fork is the most powerful surgical instrument you have access to.
In summary, I could never kill an animal so I really had some nerve eating them when I knew I’d never have the will to kill them myself. I’m still bewildered by the fact that people kept pets and ‘love’ them but eat other animals to no end, as if that animal couldn’t have very well been a pet themselves. Who created the animal hierarchy here, anyway? Who decides that Americans should keep dogs as pets and eat chickens, while the Chinese eat dogs by the pound and will sometimes keep chickens as pets? Whats the difference between squirrel meat and human meat? Why do we protest capitalism but support huge corporations that feed us poison?
Oh, I know. Because ‘meat’ tastes good. Once you add the herbal seasonings and dipping sauces, of course.
Transitioning to a plant based diet actually made me a lot smarter. Now I can fully understand things like quantum physics and nanotechnology, which are subjects of interest that used to sail over my head at warp speeds. I also see the clear connection between the brain and the intestines, the two organs look alike for a reason. I’m not nearly as irritable or reactive as I once was, nor do I eat allllllll day like I used to. The difference between the nutrition that you get from plant based sources verses the mere stimulation you receive from eating burnt flesh is astounding. When I was a body eater, you could have never told me that my cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets & coke were partially responsible for my six day long menstrual cycles. My cycle is now two enjoyable, cramp free days and no one is happier about this than I am!
Disclaimer: I am not a vegan nazi (I retired, luckily for you guys) and I do not care if you chose to indulge in animal flesh or not. What you eat does not make me shit. Thank you for your time!