AwareNow: Issue 7: The Return Edition

Page 28

I heard a story once about a guy online who claimed he’d stop eating beef when he saw a cow play fetch. Well, if you take a second to google “cow playing fetch” (or watch the video above) you’ll see just that. So what is it about a cow playing fetch that makes us care about them enough to consider sparing their life? Back to my secret of what makes veganism so easy for me - compassion. The more empathy you feel for an animal the more disgusted you are about the idea of eating it, according to Dr. Melanie Joy, author of the book “Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows.” So why do we naturally have more empathy for dogs or horses than other farm animals? Maybe it’s because that’s what we are taught. It’s what we accept as “normal” from a young age. But can we really accept something we are told is normal without question? Let’s remember that it was once against the law for women or people of color to vote. Interracial marriage was once illegal. We as a society are constantly evolving and learning from our past. It is our duty to question things for ourselves and for our future generations. I’m also not suggesting that everyone eliminate meat products all together from their diet. Even though we are learning that our nutritional needs can be met in less harmful ways, each person needs to decide what is best for their own body. But if you do choose to be a meat eater, be a conscious one. Moderate your meat and dairy intake. Go meatless for one or two days a week. Increase your vegetable portions. You’d be surprised how much protein you can get from vegetables and other plant based foods. Buy meat that has been grown organically and is unprocessed, it will say “USDA Certified Organic.” When you are buying meat, get smaller portions. Switch to plant based milks when possible. And most importantly, give yourself opportunities to connect with animals of all kinds. Find empathy! A great way to connect with farm animals in order to stir up some compassion is by visiting your local farm animal sanctuary. One of my favorites, The Gentle Barn, is doing virtual and drive through tours at all three locations (Los Angeles, Missouri, and Tennessee) during Covid. But make sure to visit in person after Covid. There’s nothing like hugging the giant face of a sweet momma cow or rubbing a pigs belly to celebrate the comeback of physical touch. 28 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION