Liv was born and raised in Romania, but has been living in London since her early 20's. Shortly after her arrival in the capital, she became vegetarian, only to become vegan 3 years later after looking up some information on the dairy and egg industry. Organic and free range are just a sadistic joke when it comes to animal rights after all!
I grew up in (what I see now as small) a Romanian town in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Always surrounded by animals of all kind, I always knew I was an animal lover. I had a cat and a dog in the back garden after all! I fed them, brushed their fur, took them to the vet whenever they needed it. From a very early age I was taught that we are superior to animals and that we own them. The idea of animal rights didn’t cross my mind until I was about 17 or 18 years old.
On the other hand, we had chickens, sometimes ducks and for a very long time we had a pig as well – one pig, a different pig every year. It’s traditional to slaughter your pig just before Christmas so you can “enjoy” “fresh” meat and all the home made delicatessen you can make. But this is only Christmas, the rest of the year some of the “lazier” egg laying chickens got it as well – they became soup, stew, barbeque, etc. The ducks were victims from day one, they only had one purpose: to “give” meat.
Every weekend, for so many years, my family used to take me and then after by brother was born, they used to take us both to a mini zoo. Thinking about it now makes my blood go cold. The cages they were kept in were so small and there was no space for them to run around. Some of the animals were kept in a cage by themselves – how can you do that?! That is worse than slavery and prison together! I know some animals are rescued from the wild and that they need medical care in order to recover, but we should do our best to help them integrate into their natural habitat, not cage them for our own amusement and profit.
And now come the pests – nasty, disgusting, disease carrying creatures. On top of it all they multiply like crazy so they have to be exterminated. It’s so easy to just think about it this way rather than think about the environmental imbalances caused by humans, that eventually lead to pests multiplying. It’s so easy to treat the problem with some poison rather than fix the actual cause.
So, do we actually have animals rights or do we just favour pets and endangered species? What rights does a sheep have? Or a cow? Or a 6-week-old calf? Or a chicken that’s so heavy it spends most of its life laying in their own faeces and never see the sun light? God forbid you leave your cat or your dog suffer the same atrocities as a chicken. God forbid you kill the male kittens hours after they were born, you would probably get a fine or get locked up.
Now it’s probably the right time to bring up humane slaughtering. How many meat eaters would never ever kill an animal themselves? Take my mum for example. She’s always been a meat eater, she loves the taste she says… I did too! I was hooked up on it, I was addicted to KFC, I used to spend all my money in there, double menus, 3 times a day! Taste was never the problem. How many vegans used to love bacon? My mum loves veal, she loves it! She said she would never ever kill the calf herself, but someone else kills it anyway and if she doesn’t eat it somebody else will. She’s correct so far. But she denies one basic, simple and logical fact: she’s contributing and increasing the demand of meat on the market! So she’s paying for the system to go on. I tried to show her the movie Earthlings. Her answer was, 30 seconds into the film, that she cannot watch something like this, she doesn’t agree with it, doesn’t support it and here comes the icing on the cake – she doesn’t think that factory farming is like that at all. This is just an exaggeration put together by vegans to justify their strange choices.
As humans, we will always tend to resist change and defend our current choices, situation, etc. So does this basic instinct make it OK to ignore the suffering, the desperation and the horror animals endure in factory farms as we speak? When I became vegan, the least of my worries was my health. I just knew straight away that an animal lover, a true animal lover would never be part of factory farming. I then did my research on recipes, healthy and balanced vegan diets. I gave up wearing leather, wool or using any cleaning or cosmetic products tested on animals or those that use animal products in their production process. How extreme does this sound? If you ask me it sounds very extreme! It’s going to turn your life upside down, you can’t do anything any more like you used to, you don’t know how to cope with the change, what would your friends and family say about you, you’re going to make it difficult for them to invite you to any of their events and so on. Life as we know it will change. Is it worth the change since we’ve “always done it like this”? Care for your dog and not care were bacon comes from?
From my personal experience as a vegan some people can get uncomfortable or even defensive when they hear your reasons for choosing this life style. Patience is of essence in situations like this! No one “guilty’ed” me into becoming vegan and I am doing my best to “spread the word” to whoever is happy to listen to what I have to say, in the nicest way possible. When you come across traditions that are built around animal sacrifice such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc., things can get a bit tricky. If you do get an invite to a Christmas party for example and the host is doing all the cooking, it’s a good idea to discuss everything beforehand. Throwing such parties involve a lot of hard work and if you’d like to make everyone’s life easy, bring your own food! Bring some extra, other people might want to try it and who knows?! They may fall in love with it, ask you for the recipe, start cooking it regularly, which will result in a drop of meat consumption – mission accomplished! The second advise I can give you from my own experience is to be careful how you word your answers to the storm of questions that are inevitably going to come your way. Be discreet about it and chose your words wisely as you don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or insult your host.
I believe there are still a lot of people that are unaware of the atrocities that go on behind closed doors. If by magic all the consequences of our lifestyle and choices, all the suffering, the environmental impact would flash before our eyes when we look at ourselves in the mirror and we would most probably not smile back. But this curtain is pretty convenient for us humans, isn’t it? Paul McCartney’s famous saying is: ‘If slaughter houses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian.’ I know a lot of people would never touch meat again. If you don’t see it… hear it… take part in it, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
The idea behind this post is not to make you feel guilty, not to provide you with any answers regarding your health, life choices or habits, but simply to make you ask yourself some questions that desperately need to be asked! Where does your food come from? How is it produced? If we are carnivores, why don’t we eat fresh animal flesh, why do we cook it, spice it up, why do we feed on cadavers that are at least a few days old, if not months (frozen meat)? Why don’t we look up the details on factory farming? Why don’t we look up things like the environmental impact our diet has on the planet?
Ask yourselves questions my friends, don’t let multinational companies and the government feed you the information they want/need you to believe. Do your own research and if you can, come to terms with factory farming, then fair play to you, honestly! But if you think that we are not the masters of this planet but should in fact live in harmony with it all, stand up and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. There is a lot of work to be done across countries, continents, cultures, religions. We won’t probably ever be 100% vegan as a species, but if we manage to reduce animal products consumption and be strict on what living conditions are acceptable for farm animals, that will be a huge achievement in itself. Not ideal, but a big step forward.
How can we be animal lovers if we love some, we eat some and we exterminate some?… The society as we know it has to change, will change and it’s down to each one of us to speed up the process by thinking and asking questions. Questions is what made us evolve as human beings, so keep asking the right questions!