Thursday, January 14, 2010

Musings Concerning the Berlin Wall of Factory Farming

Today's blog is published with some trepidation. Nature's Express is all about providing healthier food, so the tangential issue of factory farming does not directly apply. Nevertheless, whenever I travel past the stench of the stockyards between Yuma and Phoenix, or see a cow pushing its nuzzle out the side of a transport truck, my sense of empathy is aroused, adding fuel to my passion to grow NE.

Factory farming as an ethical concern

Although hidden away from our daily lives, there is an increasing awareness that factory farming creates a veritable hell for billions of creatures that are as sentient as our pets. This troubles some of us more than others. For myself, before curtailing meat for health concerns, I remember feeling irritated when confronted with farm animal issues. To a large extent, it was only after dropping meat from my diet that my concern for farm animals began. I have no high horse to ride; my moral compass was not so very strong.

I first saw the "Meat your Meat" video six years after becoming vegetarian and immediately resolved to become vegan. Despite this intention to change, it still took me two to three years to give up cheese entirely.

The benefits of eating plant based grew clear to me only after changing to a vegan diet. In hindsight, my diet was clouding how I saw the world - damaging my health or the environment from my own actions was hard to swallow.

As far as health is concerned, studies show benefits to small diet changes. A healthier diet could start with one more apple and an added side salad with a healthy dressing every day. Each step toward a better diet makes one healthier.

I attempt to take a similar approach with compassion - more is better than less. One plant based meal is more compassionate than a meal with a burger. Choosing less meat is a more compassionate approach than more meat. If we can make it just as easy and tasty to choose something that is healthier and more compassionate, that is a good thing.

Momentum for change

In hindsight, as pundits look at the social and political trends that occurred before the Iron Curtain crumbled, what was so surprising as it happened, now seems as though it was inevitable. However, before the Iron Curtain actually fell, few predicted it.

Perhaps our eating habits are undergoing a similar evolution. The momentum towards a plant based diet is building on several crucial fronts. The environmental damage of animal agriculture, concerns for human health, and the horrors of factory farming are all realities with severe social consequences. The Berlin Wall became irrelevant as the momentum for freedom reached a tipping point against repression. Does factory farming face a similar tipping point? Will more compassion rather than less compassion become the new status quo?

When framed in that light, why not?

Expressly yours,

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