Saturday, 7 July 2012

What's your number?

What's your number?  How many animals did you kill today?  The average person is responsible for approximately 6 animal deaths everyday.  These animals include birds, dolphin, rabbit, cows, deer, bear, whale, sheep, dogs, cats, lobster, pigs, turtles, ducks, shark, fish of every imaginable variety, this list could go on ad infinitum.  Throughout human history we've consumed just about everything, with hardly a glance at the effects on us, the environment, or animals. 

How can one person be responsible for 6 animal deaths everyday?  This is due to the fact that when a person eats a chicken, or an egg from an egg laying hen, an unwanted male chick is disposed of by being ground up alive, just after birth.  Or, when a person eats a shrimp taco, or mahi mahi, 8-9 other ocean beings are destroyed in the by-catch process.  Much of the sea life now caught is being fed to farm animals as food; in turn people are eating farm animals and the destructive, unsustainable practices continue.  Not to mention the intense confinement and crowded conditions animals endure on factory farms for their brief, tortured lives.  So much of the behind the scenes destruction and harm to animals is kept from our view.

We have relentlessly and assiduously practiced the ability to disconnect the reality of the flesh, cheese or egg on our plate from the reality of the misery of what a living, feeling being endured to provide it.  We have become masters at reducing these feeling beings to mere objects, serving our taste and comfort.  Practiced since infancy, our daily rituals of eating have made us skilled at justifying and denying this art of objectifying others.  This is an enormous tragedy and we have hardly allowed ourselves to become aware of it.

Fortunately this is changing, as a growing number of people are becoming more conscious of the world around them, more people are choosing to eat fewer animals, opting instead for healthier, more sustainable alternatives.

As director of Vegan 1 Day, an international challenge for everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day out of the year, I've been very encouraged by the growing trend toward more compassion for animals and more sustainable environmental practices.  Earlier this year, California banned the Shark fin trade as well as the selling of Foie Gras, which is one of the cruelest practices within the animal agriculture industry.  This year, there are twice as many people who consider themselves vegan, than last year.

Change is difficult.  Ask any drug addict in recovery how they stay clean, they say, "one day at a time".  I understand how habituated we've become to eating animals.  The walls of defense in people are strong, even when the desire for change is present.  This is why we are working to encourage people to adopt a vegan diet for even just one day.  If everyone adopted a vegan diet for just one day, 30,000,000 million animal lives would be saved (globally) and 100,000,000 billion gallons of water would be saved (globally).

That's worth it.  Animals are worth it, so is our planet.... so are we.  Go vegan 1 day - August 31st.