Cruelty Free Eating for Wiccans

The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

cattleToday we’re going to talk about our food – specifically looking at our meat and other animal based products and the cruel, industrial methods that are employed en masse to bring our foodstuffs to the grocery store aisle. These are things I’ve given a lot of thought to in recent months and I’ve found that the more research I do the more I feel compelled to change my own eating habits. And the more I feel a moral obligation, especially from a spiritual standpoint, to try and create a little change.

Like most people in my neck of the woods, I grew up eating both plant and animal products (and a lot of processed foods, but that’s a topic for another day). None of us were terribly big on our greens though so we rarely had what would be considered balanced meals. Also like most of the US, I grew up without any true understanding of where our food comes from. The question, “How do the items I buy in the store get to that shelf?” was never something I’d have had the understanding to ask until I began taking a more active role in animal advocacy.

Cruelty free eating was almost as novel a term as goddess was when I first discovered it. And not in the context of fantasy, but as something that is real, applicable and not really that uncommon an idea. There is a horrible amount of cruelty in the food industry. Animals that are kept on huge industrial farms are treated horribly almost across the board, regardless of whether or not they’re being kept for their byproducts (like cows for their milk) or being sent to the slaughter house. This video in particular was the one that compelled me into action. I felt awful knowing that I was a consumer who could have bought products that came from an animal that was treated like any of these. And I felt guilt, because as an animal lover, how can I allow such treatment of animals to exist? Don’t I, especially as a Wiccan, have a responsibility to see all the justice done in the world that I can?

We’ve talked before about how as Wiccans and Pagans, we have a higher responsibility to the Earth Mother than most. As noble a goal as that is to aspire to though, I’ve found that it clashes with practical application. When you start looking at the possibility of switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a radical change with so many things to consider. When you start looking at buying cruelty free animal products, you find that places that sell such items are very few and everything is super expensive.

With the exception of hubby, none of my family has been terribly understanding of the changes I’ve been trying to make. My sister makes very active fun of my green smoothie and my veggie stirfrys. And amid the lack of support and understanding, I have questioned my own effectiveness in that age old manner of, “I’m only one person, am I really making that much of a difference?”

What do you guys think? Is this a non-issue or just something that’s still too underground and too involved to be practical for your average family? There is something to be said for the fact that animals do simply eat other animals, but I have to wonder if switching to a cruelty free diet were easy, would more people do it?

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About Ayslyn'sCorner

I am an eclectic Pagan bordering on atheist who has made her way through a number of different spiritual spaces. You might wonder what a person self-identifying as an atheist has to discuss in a religion/spiritual context – and, well, so do I. That’s one of the things I aim to explore on Ayslyn's Corner. Check out Ayslyn's Corner at http://www.ayslynscorner.wordpress.com Check out Invisible Ink Blog at http://www.whitneycarter.wordpress.com Check out wombs in rebellion at http://wombsinrebellion.wordpress.com/
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8 Responses to Cruelty Free Eating for Wiccans

  1. Vix says:

    I don’t think it comes down to how easy or difficult it is, I think it’s simply a matter of perception. People are brought up to see animals as things there for our amusement and consumption (in more ways than one). Respect for the natural world was lost long ago but please don’t feel like one person can’t make a difference, you are impacting on people’s perceptions regardless of whether they mock your beliefs. And when we bring up our next generation, we can instill in them the values we hold most dear.
    Blessed Be

    • You are very right, Vix; perception is another big part of how we treat animals. Treating them with care and respect seems to come second nature to some, and not at all to others.

  2. Becky says:

    I actually think it is both an issue of ease and perception. So many people don’t realize what animals in factory farms and dairy farms are put through, and they don’t want to. I was vegetarian for a number of years, concerned about the ways in which animals were slaughtered, but I only became vegan a few months ago. I hadn’t thought about how dairy cows are treated and given the difficulty in finding alternatives to dairy I honestly didn’t look too hard. Most vegan recipes seemed involved and used recipes that are hard to find in the rural area where I live. But I’ve found vegan cookbooks that use everyday ingredients which made the transition so easy.

    As far as if one person can make a difference I’d day yes. Mercy for Animals recently released an article that lists the U.S as one of the top 10 countries where vegetarians and veganism is on the rise. More and more restaurants and stores are carrying meat alternatives. I think that the more of us that are out there the bigger impact it has.

    • What are the cookbook you’ve been using, Becky? I’d be very interested in getting my own copies.

      I guess the big question that I still have on this topic is, if eating vegetarian or vegan were easier, would more people make these dietary changes given the cruelty that animals do face?

      • Becky says:

        The cookbooks I use are Lindsey Nixon’s Happy Herbivore cookbooks. For me Everyday Happy Herbivore is the one I use the most. It was written when she didn’t have access to a lot of specialty ingredients. But I bought all of them within 24 hours of buying the first. Periodically they go on sale at amazon for $2.99 and she has several recipes on her website as well.

        I do think if it were easier more people would do it. I would have gone vegan years ago if it hadn’t seemed so difficult and impossible.

  3. My own concerns over factory farming and the treatment of animals within popular consumer culture directed me, not to veganism, but to hunting. I’m repeatedly struck by the shared concerns of vegans and ethical hunters, where most people would assume that we were on opposite ends of a moral spectrum.

    And as a Wiccan, my worship is largely centered upon a horned god of the hunt. Hunting deer not only resolves much of the moral dilemma that surrounds factory produced meat, it also helps me to connect to my gods in a tangible way.

    • It’s so interesting that you mention hunting both solves your mental dilemma and brings you closer to your gods because I wanted this post to be the first in a mini series, with one on hunting and respecting/communing with nature even though/especially because you’re going out to kill something. Only I’ve never been hunting, so I only have a hands-off context. Would you be interested in doing a guest post, Thorn?

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