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July 29, 2018

Up to this point on the blog, our posts have been fairly PG.  We've shown the fun side to veganism with cooking posts such as macaroni and cheese, tempeh bacon, pancakes, and cheese sauce.  We've talked about some of the important health-related issues by introducing Dr. Greger's health bible as well as cracked open some of the myths related to dairy.  And we've discussed the ethics pertaining to letting people decide if veganism is right or not based on their beliefs.  But we've failed up until today to talk in an upfront and transparent way about how numb our population has become when it pertains to animal cruelty and deciding the fate of another species' life.

Today I (T.J.) finally watched the 2018 documentary Dominion, and I can't begin to express the feelings that I felt during the two-hour film.  Disgust, anger, embarrassment, depression, and sadness are just a few emotions that come to mind, but these words don't do justice to the mix of emotions that actually came out.  Before I continue talking about the film, I encourage everyone to watch the documentary.  Whether you're vegan like myself (and don't need any more convincing to stop eating animal products but could always use inspiration to turn from a vegan to a vegan activist), or you're an avid meat-eater who doesn't understand the emotions that vegans feel, I urge you to watch the film.  If two hours is too much to ask for today, I encourage you to watch the following 4-minute trailer to better understand my post.  [Side note:  If you are a teen reading this post, we strongly recommend you watch this with an adult, as the video contains images that are hard to watch].
Pretty f*cked up stuff, huh?

Through this documentary...

I witnessed pigs' tails and teeth being cut off without any painkillers.

I witnessed pigs' eyes burning after being exposed to gas, and then suffocating to their death.

I found out that many male chicks are now genetically modified so that they are a different color than females.  This makes it easier for us to sort them out and decide which ones live, and which ones get thrown alive into a giant blender.

I saw chickens lose their feathers due to the stress they endure, turkeys not able to support their own weight due to the lifestyle we inflict on them, and ducks not being able to stand up because they're forced to live on land rather than their natural water habitat.

I saw animals being thrown around like they're objects.

I saw feathers being ripped out of live ducks.

I saw fur ripped off of live rabbits, only for them to have to regrow their fur and endure this process one or two more times within their short life.

Skin is ripped off of animals (some still alive) just so we can wear it or drape our couches in it because it 'looks cool'.

I saw men breaking the tails of cows in rodeos seconds before they're sent out to put on a show, just to make them look more exciting for us.

I learned that it's completely legal to cut off the tails of sheep without any pain killers as long as they're less than 6 months old.

I saw countless animals suffering psychologically because we've decided that they belong in zoos for our entertainment.

I saw time after time, the use of electric shocks to kill an animal, fail.

I was reminded again that if we continue to kill fish at the rate we currently are, we will have fish-less oceans by the year 2048.

I learned that as of today, there's been an estimated 619,000,000 humans killed during war throughout history.  The same number of animals are killed every three days, and this doesn't even include fish and sea creatures.  Let that one sink in.

I heard so many piercing screams of animals being killed in "humane" ways.

I experienced human after human, not only killing animals in ways that words cannot describe.  But doing so with a smile on their face.

I saw pure evil as humans took pleasure in beating animals to their deaths and throwing them across the room.


The scene that hit me the hardest includes a dog in a Chinese dog farm being killed by a full-force swing of a hammer to his head.  I wish this were from a fictional horror movie, but this was real video footage of practices carried out in other parts of the world on a daily basis.  I remember the sensation of feeling physically sick to my stomach, and questioning why we as humans don't feel the same disgust when we hear that a farm animal (cow/pig/chicken) was killed.  It's not "just a chicken" or "just a pig" that gets slaughtered for us.  It's a living animal with a personality and a yearning to live a great life.  They may look different than us or than dogs, but as long as they're able to feel emotions and pain, just as we and our pet dogs do, they are not any less deserving of life than we are.

I know that common responses to this post might be "but I only buy my dairy from farmer John down the road", or "there's no way that every farm is like this".  But the truth is that with every animal-product purchased in restaurants and grocery stores today, there's an innocent life that's being taken away.  And on a larger scale with factory farms, there's a mentally ill person out there who's getting continued funding and support by your purchases.

You can't watch films like this and be disgusted, yet have no problem with buying a burger at your local fast food joint or enjoy a glass of milk.  The truth is that it's all connected, and despite the fact that we may be loving to our cats and dogs at home, we're promoting these acts of evil by not living a vegan lifestyle.

Killing an animal for our taste buds is not necessary and will never be justified.  We are living in a time where we have all of the information needed to prove that not only are animals not necessary in our diets, but they're actually hurting us.  Let me rephrase that:  in 2018, we still KILL animals so that they can do harm to OUR bodies.

And to those who consume animals not for the health reasons, but maybe just for the taste or convenience, remember that these are living creatures just like you.  Your chicken nuggets do not come from plastic-wrapped Styrofoam containers in grocery stores.  They come from a live animal who had a family of their own before we stepped in.  Your grass-fed ground beef is absolutely no different than other, cheaper types of beef.  They're both bi-products of an actual cow who suffered for your taste buds.  After watching this documentary, I encourage you to visit a local animal sanctuary, spend time getting to know these individuals, and question how it's viable to justify ending their lives just so you can partake in instant gratification.

These animals that get killed every second of the day are in no way different than your pets at home.  If we chose to domesticate pigs thousands of years ago rather than dogs, can you imagine the pure horror we would experience if we saw someone kill a pig and eat it today?  Similarly, can you imagine hearing that over 100-million dogs are killed each year, and not have an ounce of hatred or disgust in your body by this fact?

I can only imagine how hard parts of this post were to read or watch, but we NEED to continue to get the message out there.  We need to do more than just change our individual habits, as that's not enough to promote positive change in this world.  If these processes are continually blocked from our view, then how are we as a whole expected to make informed decisions and act responsibly?  Please educate yourselves on practices that are happening today, make changes, and most importantly, educate others on what you've learned.

The problem clearly is not that we as humans don't know that animals don't want to die for us.  I think it's pretty evident through their screams that they want to enjoy life as much as we do.  The problem is that even after we witness these unspeakable acts, we support it.

"150 years ago, they would've thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery.  100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote.  50 years ago, they would've objected to the idea of African-American's receiving equal rights under the law.  25 years ago, they called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights.  They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended.  Someday they won't be laughing." -Gary Smith


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