This month marks 26 years that I have not eaten the flesh of another living creature. Whatever it was that day, so long ago, that creeped from my subconsciousness to stop eating meat, I thank it. While this collage shows only a few of the cute and cuddly revered animals in Canada, if you want to know what animals are used for food on the planet, just look in any encyclopedia A-Z. All of them.
Even the beloved pet that you have with you now.
I have had the great debates that people like to have with vegans, the ridiculous questions, the what ifs, the whys. I have even had the tasteless few sit across a table from me and exaggerate noises of pleasure while they eat their meat and taunt me how great it tastes. I generally only feel pity for them at that. What they fail to know about me is that I grew up on a farm where cows and chickens were killed, myself splitting open the chickens bodies to remove all of their guts after having dunked them into boiling water before removing their feathers. They don't know that I have helped my uncle prepare wildlife skins for sale and have watched the death of beautiful cows in order to feed a family. All this before age 18. So yes, I feel pity for the fool that sits across from me ooh-ing and aah-ing over the dead animal they are eating having never had to get their hands dirty.
I truly believe that if someone wants to eat meat, they should have to at least once catch, kill, clean, butcher and preserve one of each of the animals that they "can't live without". Ditto goes to the people who tell me "I'm the biggest animal lover you will ever meet" as they order their burger. No, you are not the biggest animal lover I will ever meet.
When you look down into the eyes of the animal you have chosen as your loving companion, realize that every animal possesses the same desire to be treated kindly and allowed to live out the time that has been given to experience play, life, love, affection and family.
To me one life is equal to the next. I do not require the death of any creature, the orphaning of any babies, and the torture of endless numbers of living beings to carry on my own survival.
Compassion and knowledge is what will guide me through my days on this planet.