The photo you see above was taken by the amazing Marji Beach, one of the workers at Animal Place farm sanctuary. You’ve seen me mention her many times while sharing her beautiful photos of animals who thankfully got the long end of the stick and are recovering from a life of abuse in places where care, love and freedom are the norm. Meet Marigold, Magpie, Grace and Georgina! Four rescued pigs who now fight over who gets the perfect spot for nap time. Their biggest concern now being, ‘hey human! When is it dinner time?!’. When I look at photos like this one I feel much more hopeful. This summer was all about animal love for me since as you know, we adopted another furry one who happily joined our family. When I see the bond my dogs have formed, and the bonds we have formed with them, my heart quite literally shrinks and expands all at the same time.
Our little Vega had her spay surgery this past month, and while I sat with her in the vet’s office, held her while they injected her with the anesthesia, waited impatiently to pick her up, and then helped her recover, I felt so helpless and was constantly worrying about the pain she might be feeling. How can my mind not go to thinking about the horrific pain we put other animals through? When I picture my dogs going through what animals in our food industry have to endure daily, I can’t even stay in that train of thought for more than a few minutes. I see their eyes widen in complete fear and desperation, asking without words to whoever is close, to please spare them of that pain and suffering. Besides the loss of life, an inevitable end to all animals farmed for food (including those in the dairy and egg industries as well as organic, humane and free range facilities), animals in the industry are de-beaked, de-horned, de-clawed, castrated, branded, have their tails removed, and many other procedures done regularly without anesthesia or even veterinary care. Not to mention the force and brutality by which these animals are handled, since they fight until the very end for survival. Like us, life is all they want. Abuse due to workers’ search for entertainment also makes the list, in what I have experienced as the most horrific of scenes, and which are sadly a regular occurrence and not the exception in the industry. The number of animals we kill for food today simply can’t support any sort of humane treatment or care. Even if it did, slaughter can never be avoided when it comes to earning a profit at the expense of animals. The sad thing is, this short list doesn’t even cover half of what most of them experience. When I imagine my little ones going through this, I simply can’t picture it for very long.
Since we like to keep this blog extremely positive however, I have to tell you that trying to imagine what my dogs would go through in these situations, was one of the things that pushed me to making the best decision of my life, going vegan. If you’ve read about what happened when I became vegan (part 1 and part 2), you know I have been so blessed and joyful since making this change. My life is fuller, it seems brighter and more colorful somehow, and I’ve always thought it was the beautiful veggies and fruits I was eating, so bright and full of flavor and nutrients. I thought it was my new love affair with cooking and getting creative in the kitchen, or the joy of shopping at farmer’s markets and having my plate look like a Christmas tree. Recently I’ve noticed it wasn’t the delicious vegan food at all! This new life I have started, because it truly feels like a brand new lease on life, was given to me not by tofu, or kale, or artisanal vegan cheeses, but by the animals. When I look at the piglets above, I can’t help but think it’s them I need to thank for this joy I feel every time I sit down to eat, or play, or work, or do anything in my life. Seeing them as the beautiful beings that they are, is what has given me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. A simpler way of living, more down to earth and full of all the wonderful things I had before, but with an added… let’s say sparkle.
Every single action we take to reduce our consumption of animal products makes a difference. Buying one less dozen of eggs, milk carton or steak can be the first step of many, to a life that is full of joy, peace of mind and love for all creatures, big or small, and love for our health and the conservation of our planet. Even the smallest steps make a mile eventually, we simply need to have the courage to take the first one. And then the second…
Today we are all celebrating World Animal Day, and I feel so grateful for the little animals that helped me see things in a different light. Here’s to all the beautiful animals out there, human and non-human, may they all be as lucky as the four little piglets fighting over the perfect shade below the trees.