The following is an open letter to those who love dogs, cats, and other “cute” companion animals but still eat meat.
I get it because I’ve been there. For all my years on this planet, with the exception of one, my family members included dogs and cats. Growing up, I had a black German shepherd-Lab mix named Blondy (I didn’t name her, don’t judge) and I loved her to death.
After she passed, a stray cat came into our lives. We’d joke that her personality was like Blondy’s. Stripes, as we named her, quickly buddied up to me, sleeping on my bed (sometimes even on my face), following me around the house, and playing with my feet when they were under blankets. She and I were inseparable. These days my household includes a dog (Bella, now 13) and three cats (Stripes, 14, Sawyer and Sam, 1). It’s a happy home.
So I understand how much you must love your furry family members.
But what if I told you that the love you have for your companion animals would extend to farmed animals if you just got the chance to know more about them?
I remember before I went vegan, years ago, I would cringe when scrolling through Facebook and seeing images of the dog meat trade in other countries. My anger would overflow. How could someone do that to an animal?
That’s when I realized that I was actually paying for similar, just as horrific things to happen to animals. The only difference was that I was paying people to kill chickens, cows, and pigs instead of dogs and cats. My culture was different, but I was still inflicting suffering.
Have you made the connection yet?
You see, the truth is that the animals we raise and kill for food are just as sensitive and intelligent as the dogs and cats we adore at home. Chickens purr like cats, recognize more than 100 human individuals, and use previous experiences to make future decisions. Cows form close friendships, like to sleep close to their families, get excited when they solve problems, and love music. Pigs can play video games, have an excellent object-location memory and a sophisticated sense of direction, and sing to their young when nursing.
Yet we subject farmed animals to some of the worst cruelty. Would we ever deem it legal to shackle a dog by her hind legs and slash open her throat? Would we allow a cat to be kept for his entire life in a cage so small that he couldn’t even turn around? Would we permit killing puppies and kittens by slamming them headfirst against concrete floors? Of course we wouldn’t. But these heinous acts are completely legal to inflict on cows, pigs, and chickens in the animal agriculture industry.
Horrifyingly enough, no federal law protects farmed animals during their lives at factory farms. And chickens, those intelligent beings who purr when petted, are not even included in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, left with virtually no protection from abuse.
Nobody needs animal products to survive. In fact, humans thrive on a healthy plant-based diet. And not only do you spare animals immense suffering by going vegan; you also protect the environment.
The only difference between the animals you love and the animals you (currently) eat is your perception of them.
But it’s never too late to make a change. Join me and millions of others in switching to a humane vegan lifestyle.
If you still haven’t made the connection, keep reading.