Can I Get That Without Bacon?

A Vegetarian Manifesto

It started with a Buzzfeed video.

I know, I know. I hate myself too. But I’m being honest here so I’m not going to deny it. If I’m going to talk about why I actually, totally decided I no longer wanted my diet to include the flesh (sorry but that’s what it actually is) of other mammals, I have to start with the Buzzfeed video.

I won’t bore you with the, nitty gritty details if you by some chance are not one of the 4.6 million people who have viewed this video since it was published on February 1st, but I will give you the general “what’s what” with the happenings of the actual video.

It came across my laptop screen because one of the participants, Gaby Dunn, is a writer/comedian/activist that I really look up to and admire. To put it into the shortest of short terms the Buzzfeed crew went to an independent poultry farm and selected and then killed their own food. They discussed the various reasons they wanted to take part in this type of video (experience, not really seeing the issue, wanting to put their money where their mouth was etc etc) before actually doing the deed and killing a chicken.

Now, don’t worry, I know. I’m the most basic human to end all basics. I am admitting that I made a major change to my diet at least in part because of a video from a website known for quizzes about Harry Potter and other videos involving Costco/name brand alcohol taste tests. I get it. But I’d be selling myself a little short if I attributed the entire decision to this 6 minute and 48 second video I saw thanks to tumblr.

What I will attribute this video with, however, was sparking something in me. It sparked an interest in knowing how slaughterhouses and commercial farming impact independent and small farming fiscally and economically, and how they operate from an ethical standpoint. It sparked a need to know the difference in the quality of life for the animals at the different types of establishments and to not live in ignorance about it. It sparked a necessity in the knowledge of the additives and treatments of food since they are things that I put into my body because I want to take better care of myself.

To put it bluntly, it got my ass in gear about knowing what the fuck I was eating.

Essentially what watching four people slaughter a chicken for the first time did for me was realize that if I don’t know where something came from or how it got to me, I don’t feel comfortable eating it. There is a huge disconnect, especially in this country, for how our food gets from where it originates to into our kitchens and eventually into our stomachs. So yes, person reading this who’s a big hunter and all about that blaze orange. I would feel okay about eating the deer that you got a license to hunt for, shot, butchered, and prepared into venison. My digestive system since being over 6 months clean from meat would probably not be so okay; but my psyche would be unfazed.

I’m kind of a bad veggie, I’ll admit it. Part of the reason this change wasn’t insanely drastic was because I already didn’t eat a ton of meat. But that isn’t the point. The point is I do care about animal rights and believe in the humane, ethical treatment of animals. I also believe in a person’s right to hunt for sport and the farmer’s right to own and operate something that provides for their family. What I don’t believe in is pumping our meat full of hormones and artificial dyes to keep the illusion of freshness, and the force-feeding of already psychologically traumatized and cage bound animals to obtain a product.

Why do I still eat fish, you ask? Oh yeah — I didn’t cover that so you may not have actually asked. I still eat enough seafood to feed an army. Well that’s because I live in Seattle and the place that seafood is coming from is literally a stone’s throw away. And if by some chance the restaurant I am at doesn’t procure it’s mussels from our super close salt water? I’ll pass and get something else! It’s totally fine.

Yep, here we are. I could have written this to bore you with statistics that bother me like those of animals killed for food (3000 per second) and tell you the weird additives they inject into the things you purchase in the meat department when you aren’t consciously looking (nitrates and silicon dioxide — otherwise known as sand); but that’s not my point. My point is that I think you should know what you’re eating. You should know what’s on your plate, in your bowl, and being shoveled by fork, spoon, chopstick, or whatever utensil into your mouth. I think you should have an understanding of how it got to you and what it took to get there. Whether that be knowing that you’re purchasing fruit that is free from pesticides, or being able to say “I know that this steak is just steak, not estrogen”, I personally think that’s important.

Soooo… yeah. Until that day, and until further notice, I’ll be passing on the bacon.

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