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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