I braced myself and watched Earthlings yesterday. Ok, so I watched the trailer, but that was more than enough. I was 4 seconds in and sobbing, and 20 seconds in I was gagging. It’s the kind of movie where the images live with you for days afterwards, and part of me wants to jump off a high building because I feel so utterly devastated by the state of the humans in this world.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years and seeing documentaries like this reminds me why I became a vegetarian at 14 and why I still am one. I’ve never been a preachy veggie, but there are days, like today, where I feel pretty damn militant. I think the problem is that so many people have no idea where their meat comes from (and it’s not from the meat aisle in Woolies, FYI…) and they remain completely (and mostly by choice) uneducated about the treatment of the world’s animals (and not just in terms of the meat industry: fur, testing on animals, puppy mills, hunting, whaling…it’s an almost inexhaustible list).
[I get that you like meat, but, really, you like it that much? And, no, you do not need it. Really.]
And then I get to thinking about my own place in the world, and maybe I need to re-evaluate. Perhaps being vegetarian is not enough. I was a vegan for 2 years, many years ago, and damn, veganism is hard work, and shit, I like milk chocolate and dairy products, but maybe that isn’t the point. Just because it’s hard and hampers my social life, doesn’t mean that I should be eating animal products, or anything that supports the exploitation of animals – maybe it’s about making sacrifices for the things you really believe in.
It also means not buying leather handbags, belts, shoes and flipping gorgeous leather biker jackets; it means being educated about eating locally and sustainably, knowing the lifecycle of the food you consume, recycling, and checking the contents of all the products you use and eat/drink, even if they happen to be products that promise to takes years off your age, or are things you love to eat.
It becomes completely unnerving if you start to think about the implications of everything you do and everything you buy, and I feel a quite defeated, I have to say. What impact does my veganism have on the people slamming clubs into seal skulls, or those walking through the litres of terror and blood on abattoir floors every day?
I’m not sure where to next. Sign up with Green Peace and hope to make a difference in a world consumed by money and small-mindedness, or give it all up and sit atop a mountain in the Himalayas with just the clothes on my back, meditating and living on air and water?