This week we had guests from out of town. Inevitably, whenever people visit, the subject of being vegan comes up. People have to eat. One friend who was in the group knows Jen and I are vegan and told us that, while not currently vegan, she tried it once but “her body needed more protein.” Did she really just say that? She then went on to assure us that any and all meat she eats is free range or grass fed. I had my first “I’m one of those vegans moments.”
“They still die in the end.” I responded, causing a look of confusion and concern on her face. “But they live happy lives and that makes me feel better. I like knowing that while they are living, they can graze and spend time in the sun and socialize.” I am paraphrasing but that’s the gist of it.
That caused a look of concern and confusion on my face. I don’t see the connection and don’t think that free range “anything” is better off if it’s being raised as food. Admittedly, at this point in time and in the right circumstances, humans are at the top of the food chain.
However, transport any human to the jungles of Africa, surrounded by hungry lions. Humans become food.
Humans, when properly armed, are the ultimate hunter. Able to down a deer for its meat from a cowardly 200 yards. Now, under the cover of darkness, as a human sleeps peacefully in their tent, a hungry pride of mountain lions decides to make a visit. Humans, once again, become food.
Humans, at some point in history, got the idea that they are in charge and that animals don’t have rights. Humans believe they rule the world and that animals should be sorted into two categories: 1) Domesticated pets/captured creatures, or: 2) Food. Or, worse yet, animals that are killed for sport/considered a nuisance or used in testing or just for their coats or hides. Who developed these categories? Humans. Did anyone ever take the animals’ opinion or rights into consideration? I think not.
When the animals finally strike back, humans will wish they had.
Imagine the day you’re at an outdoor barbecue. Walking around with friends. Eating and drinking. Living life. Free range.
Now, imagine that as you’re standing there, minding your own business, and a wild animal violently grabs you from your environment and rips off your head. You are then bled and cut into a hundred pieces that later get marinaded, skewered, and grilled. Your friends will (hopefully) be sad that you’re dead and they will probably wonder if they’re next. Pretty lousy way to “live,” I’d say.
This would suck but this is what we do every day to animals. More than a million times a day. Pluck innocent “happy” creatures from their pasture, kill them, cut them up, package them, sell them, marinade them, cook them and eat them. With no regard for feelings, rights, or suffering.
Is free range meat better for you than factory-farmed meat? Probably. Is it better for the animals? Not even a little bit.
This same woman also mentioned how she only drinks raw milk, citing again the health benefits and thinking that somehow the cows that are treating her to this raw milk are somehow cared for better than cows in larger dairy farms. Raw milk is illegal in many states, set that aside. All milk is bad for you, set that aside. You’re drinking the milk of another species, set that aside, too. Even if raw milk was good for you, in order for it to be taken in a conscientious manner, the following minimum criteria would need to be met: The farm should be certified organic and the cow, who is in heat, needs to be naturally impregnated by a bull. The way nature intended. He will wine her and bovine her and properly mount her from behind. It will be beautiful. This now pregnant cow will carry her calf for approximately nine months and give birth to her baby in a clean environment. This baby calf, male or female, will be kept by her side for three months as it nurses itself into a young cow or bull. All the while bonding and being loved by its mother.
During this time IF the cow would feel comfortable providing milk to the farmer, I suppose he could milk her to hopefully get enough to make it worthwhile. With a baby cow nursing itself as often as it does, there isn’t going to be a whole lot left which means this process has to happen over and over again and again with multiple cows.
This doesn’t happen. Bottom line, there is no ethical way to raise and kill animals for their flesh and there is no ethical way to extract their milk for human consumption. There is no way.