In case you think I spent the whole weekend decorating my yard and building scarecrows as mentioned in my previous post, allow me to set the record straight. Last Saturday I did my part for the animals when I participated in the "Walk for Farm Animals" sponsored by Farm Sanctuary http://www.farmsanctuary.org/ whose mission is to "protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living." Although there were organized walks all across the country for this purpose, I walked in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where our group walked up and down the boardwalk, holding up our signs and distributing pamphlets and literature to educate and raise awareness about factory farming and Farm Sanctuary.
Until about a year ago, I'd never heard of Farm Sanctuary until I got a piece of literature in the mail. Considering all the mail I get on a daily basis from all kinds of charities requesting my financial support, it's a wonder this didn't end up in my recycle bin, as much of it does in my house. Don't get me wrong; there are many, many worthy animal and environmental charities out there, and I contribute to a lot of them, but I simply cannot afford to give to everyone that asks. Believe me, I'd love to, but I can't. In any event, I clearly remember opening up Farm Sanctuary's mailing at the kitchen table and it not broke my heart, but it opened my eyes to the horrors of factory farming, which is where the majority of the meat, eggs and dairy in our grocery stores come from. When I read and saw the horrendous conditions these animals are forced to live in for the sole purpose of human consumption, it made me sick. It also made me question my own eating habits. I've never been a huge carnivore to begin with, but I have to be honest; I did enjoy the occasional cheeseburger or a couple of strips of bacon with my eggs and loved smothering my Thanksgiving turkey with big helpings of gravy and mashed potatoes. Never again. Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not sitting in judgment of ANYONE who does eat meat (my husband, for example, will never go meatless and I wouldn't even attempt to win that battle) but it's something that I choose not to do anymore. And I don't miss it or crave it at all. That is, I guess you could say that I don't eat mammals (beef, pork or chicken), but I still eat seafood (fish, shrimp and crabs). I don't think I can ever completely go the vegan route, which would also mean giving up dairy and eggs. I think if animals are treated humanely and live in environments where they can thrive as God intended them to (case in point; my chickens!) and are not shoved up against each other in tiny cages and shot up with growth hormones and antibiotics, as they are in factory farms, then drinking organic milk from a happy cow who is allowed to field graze, not a confined, stressed out one, doesn't make me feel like I'm contributing to what I consider a crime against animals. In fact, I'm now drinking more soy and rice milk than I am cow's milk, which is truly not as bad as it sounds. Really. As for eggs, I only have to walk as far as my backyard for those and if you've seen some of my earlier posts, I don't think I have to convince you as to what spoiled queens those ladies are! Maybe this logic sounds completely looney to you, but so be it. I feel better - or should I say that my conscience feels better about living my life this way. Remember the "just say no" campaign started by First Lady Nancy Reagan back in the 1980s to discourage kids from engaging in recreational drug use? I guess this is my own personal campaign where I will "just say no" to animal cruelty in factory farms.