Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vote Yes on Prop 2 to Help Stop Animal Cruelty

Updated: If you don't live in California (or even if you do) you can still help out by making a contribution to the Yes on 2 campaign. Just go to my 20/20 page to help. If you can't give $20, you can always donate a smaller amount here.

I'm not a vegetarian, as you may notice from many of my posts with meat and chicken. But, I am a big animal lover who's always been conflicted between my love for animals and the fact that I eat them. I have never eaten veal, because when I was just a kid I read an article about how they treat baby cows. While I don't think it's wrong to use animals for food, I do think it's wrong to treat them in an in-humane manner, even if they are about to be killed. So, I am supporting a modest measure on the California November ballot which would provide all farm animals with the right to stand up and move around in their small cages.

Some people may not know that chickens, baby cows, pigs, and some other animals are kept in tiny cages their whole lives. Many have barely seen the light of day and can't even stand up, turn around, or stretch their limbs or wings. This is wrong. You can watch the video below which is a very g-rated way of explaining it:

Thankfully, there are some farmers in the U.S. who already choose to treat animals better as part of the Certified Humane Raised and Handled program. You can use the tool on their site to find retailers selling these products. If prop 2 is passed, it doesn't mean that all California farmers would have to meet the standards of Certified Humane, but it's a step in the right direction.

Albert's Experience
Some folks might not think it's a big deal to be in a cage like that, but coincidentally, I have a story to share that happened the other day. I was taking my cat to a shyster oral surgeon. He was in his small carrier which does not allow him to stand up (I have this one because it's the only one small enough for me to use when I flew him out here.) On the way back from the dentist I said, what the heck, and I let him out of the carrier to roam free in the car. What a difference!!! No more sad crying kitty, he just sat in the passenger seat and looked so happy.

About Vegan Eating
As I get a little older, I think more and more about my place in the world and taking responsibility for my choices. Many things lately, including this measure, have been pointing me towards living in a way that is responsible and true to who I am. So, as Kathy Freston puts it, I am "leaning" into the idea of being a vegan. Lately I have been making choices not to eat animal products and am actually finding it quite easy most of the time. Since I pretty much like to eat everything, including eggplants, onions, fruit, etc, there are tons of good choices once I rule out meat. In fact, since I've been educating myself about the way animals are treated and actually finding the strength to look at what's happening around me, I actually prefer not to eat them, but not in a way that feels deprived, it actually feels good. While Kathy is far from the originator of conscious eating, the Buddhists have been doing it for thousands of years, she is part of an Oprah webcast where she explains things in a very modern, common-sense way. To watch it, go to the Oprah soul-series webcast archive and scroll down to Kathy Freston, part 2. I am also planning to buy the new cookbook: Veganomicon: the ultimate vegan cookbook.

I don't know if I'll ever be a full vegan or vegetarian. I will always eat fish. I actually just signed up for a professional cooking class! But, I can help just a little to make a few humans and animals happier while they are on this earth.

Information and Resources:
Vote Yes on Prop 2
Humane Farm Animal Care
Locate Humane Product Retailers
Humane Society of the United States
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals