“Tell it like it is.”
That advice paid off for Aaron Neville since 1967, along with, “Don’t be ashamed to let your conscience be your guide.” But for most of us it isn’t that easy.
In Speak Your Mind, Damnit and How To Be Fearless, two bloggers ponder self-censorship and the question of offending, or not, their readers. They remind us that sex, religion and politics are known taboos, but I believe I’ve found another that’s just as intimate, personal and potentially polarizing: food. These days everyone seems to have strong opinions about dietary preferences, yet when I say I don’t eat meat, I’ve been challenged explain why; muted by manners. Well, no more. I’m reprising my post Eat S*** and Die and telling it like it is. Carnivores should prepare to be offended, and maybe even persuaded.
Like any polite Southern girl, I was taught to refrain from talking about sex, politics and religion, but what about meat?
Over dinners of ham, pimento cheese or BBQ, Mama didn’t mention that food choices could be emotionally charged and very personal. So these days, when people ask, “Why don’t you eat meat,” I’m torn between summing up (a lengthy list of powerful reasons), or shutting up (because really, no one wants to know). Unfortunately, I was never one to mind my Mama or my manners, so here’s my new summary: Eat Shit and Die. Not only is this a concise summary of billions of factory famed animals’ life cycles (they eat unnatural feed, they shit copious amounts of uncontainable toxic waste, they die horribly before we eat them), but also it’s a handy acronym: ESAD.
There’s simply not enough land on the planet to support continued consumption of animals. One third of the Earth’s ice-free land already is used to support animal food farming. This results in more greenhouse gas than all the world’s transportation – cars, planes, trains, etc. – combined. Now that’s an Inconvenient Truth. Is it responsible to raise another generation with a palate for animal flesh?
S – Shit
What do you think is the main by-product of raising millions of tightly confined animals? Where do you think this concentrated by-product goes? Perhaps back into your water supply? CAFOs don’t have sewage systems. The waste is piped into deep “lagoons,” but the lagoons can’t contain the unending flow of highly toxic and antibiotic laced excrement. So, the crap is sprayed into the air (think reeking airborne toxins) over crops (like corn that will become animal feed), but the land and crops can’t absorb all the waste. Runoff is common.
Whether you care about animal rights or not, the tortured, diseased, concentrated and highly unnatural existence and sloppy execution of billions of Frankenstein-like living creatures will not be ignored forever. It’s safe to assume that 99 percent our meat supply is contaminated with pathogens, tumors or more. More? The stress and fear these animals live and die with is in their tissue. The adrenaline flows and has nowhere to go, except into you, of course. You are what you eat. What are the consequences of eating such sick animals?
D – Disease
Eating cheap meat without asking where it came from, or how it lived, is like having sex with a skanky $20 prostitute and not even bothering with a condom. (Look away, Mama!) It’s slovenly, irresponsible, gross and potentially deadly. And please don’t use that tired, “but we need protein,” propaganda. Diets high in animal protein result in heart disease, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal disease and oh-so-impolite body odor. Yes, eating these animals can kill you, directly or indirectly. Fifty percent of the antibiotics in the U.S. go to cattle, creating more resistant bugs. Got Milk? Meanwhile terms like Mad Cow Disease and H1N1 become part of mainstream lexicon and the World Health Organization believes pandemic is probable. Did you know the primal source of all influenza is avian? Go ahead, Eat More filthy Chicken.
Now, when people ask me, “Why don’t you eat meat,” I can give them my Eat Shit and Die response, or ask, “Why DO you eat meat? Is that just how you were raised?”