Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why am I vegan?

I was asked recently how chocolate can be seen as animal cruelty.
Well this is actually the catalyst for my being vegan.I could write a massive essay here, but I'll try to keep it concise.

Just so you know, I wasn't raised vegan, I became vegan February 10th 2011. My favourite foods included roast pork, McDonald's, OMG I LOVED McDonald's (and it shows!), KFC and DAIRY! Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, full cream milk by the litre, CHEESE, oh how I LOVED CHEESE!!!

So, this is why chocolate is bad. Apart from the usual reasons of fat, sugar and empty calories,
chocolate that contains dairy products, or anything else made from or containing dairy for that matter is, to vegans, a cruel product. This is due to the abhorrent conditions in which the cows are kept.

Female cows are kept in a near constant state of pregnancy so as to be able to produce milk. Baby male (bobby) calves are then taken from their mothers usually within 12-24 hours of birth. They are then transported to be slaughtered within their first week of life. They are usually starved and deprived of fluids for transport so as to not make a mess for the truck driver. The bobby calves can be transported for a couple of days and in all weather conditions which means they can literally bake in heat and freeze in cold, even to the extent that their skin freezes to the sides of the trucks.
This causes excruciating injuries and even amputations in the efforts to pry them lose! Many die in transport from the conditions, injuries or starvation.
After getting to their destination, the slaughter house, they are kept in horrible conditions, tied up, for as long as 4 months, so as they can not exercise or develop their muscles. This ensures they will become tender veal. Yep, veal is a waste product of the dairy industry!

And what happens to the mothers? They are connected to the electric milkers in stalls where they can't turn around or lie down. The calf that they gave birth to will not get more than a couple of feeds from the milk that was produced for them to drink, instead it is stolen and bottled for human consumption! And on top of all that the mother and the calf experience horrible mourning and distress caused by the separation.

And why have I said that male calves are a WASTE PRODUCT of the dairy industry? Easy! They can't get pregnant and produce milk, therefore rubbish a.k.a. veal!

These 3 calves were rescued recently from the dairy industry, you can read about them here:

Now, just like humans and other mammals it is only necessary for a mother cow to produce milk for her infant to grow, to give nutrients and antibodies for that infant's survival and to get them through the most important growth period of their lives! After a young mammal has weaned from it's mother her milk dries up and is not produced, ever again, unless she gives birth to anymore young. This is why it is so unnatural for a cow to be milked. The only milking ANY animal requires is from the young she is supporting.

"Cow's milk, by design, grows a 90 pound calf into a 2000 pound cow over the course of two years. It allows calves to double their birth weight in forty seven days and leaves their four stomachs feeling full" From Skinny Bitch, 2005, page 56.

Why is this significant? It is to demonstrate how fatty the milk is and to show the nutrients required to grow a cow is taken and given to humans, this starts to make the mind boggle!

After learning some of these facts I started doing a lot of, continuing, research, and I also found that dairy products contain a fairly high amount of Iodine. Why is this bad? Well, the good news it that it's not bad for everybody. But, it is to me as I have Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), and too much Iodine is harmful to me and my thyroid. I was on medication, but for the last month I haven't been taking it. I just may have healed my thyroid, naturally.
I do NOT, however, recommend stopping any medical treatment without previously consulting a physician. I didn't, but I have a great understanding of my autoimmune disease and my body, so I was not hesitant in weaning off my medication. And I am ecstatic to report I feel completely fine!!

So what started as an animal cruelty issue for me turned into a health issue, and this is, in a round about way, why I'm vegan and chocolate is animal cruelty.
I have, however, only gleamed over the tip of the dairy industry iceberg and not even looked at the diseases, antibiotics, chemicals, hormones, addictive properties, pus and mucous in milk. Nor Have I looked at any other animal products, for that I'll ask you to refer to my previous post Food for thought... and get you thinking about watching Earthlings.

So now I've made your head hurt thinking about the implications of consuming dairy. Well that's exactly what made me turn vegan! Now I'm not trying to turn the whole world vegan (even though it would be nice) but, I am trying to get people to think about where their food, clothes, shoes, couches, bedding etc come from.

-SJ xo

Some great websites:

Animals Australia 

Animals Australia - Bobby Calves

Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania

Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania - Dairy Industry


Brightside Farm Sanctuary

Edgar's Mission

Skinny Bitch

The Veganist; Kathy Freston

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