Thursday, May 12, 2011

When I Know Better I Do Better

A few days ago, I came across a free online movie and after watching as much as I was emotionally capable of watching, I posted the link on my facebook page.

Earthlings Website to watch Movie for Free

From their site: 

"EARTHLINGS is a powerful and informative documentary about society’s treatment of animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. This multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place."

This is not a fun movie.  It's doubtful that many can watch this and leave feeling especially good or upbeatAlso, in the spirit of full disclosure and honesty, I want to clearly state that I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan nor does adhering to a vegan diet appear to be the healthiest choice for my own body type/biochemical individuality.  I am working on my thesis towards my certification as a holistic nutrition consultant and educator and am not suggesting that everyone on the planet adopt one particular way of eating or living.  My studies, along with my own personal journey around health, food, diet, and nutrition, have helped me to increase my awareness and form more educated opinions; however, I realize that we each have our own journeys to follow. 

For me, my mantra is simply:
When I know better, I do better.

 After posting the Earthlings movie link, comments followed ranging from making light of the movie and possibly suggesting the makers had an agenda to only "bash" the "bad" animal owners (or eaters or wearers) to simply being so sickened by the entire subject matter that they couldn't even make it through the movie trailer.  Regarding the one commenter who seemed to make light of the posting, suggesting, tongue-in-cheek I'm sure, a sequel to the movie showing graphic kindness to animals, my reply was that I felt he was missing the point and needed to acknowledge that these evils do exist here on planet Earth and rather than get defensive or flippant about the subject, perhaps gleaming some awareness and knowledge about the ugly truths that exist can lead to some positive changes. 

My response was as follows (names omitted to protect anonymity):
"Perhaps you need to ask yourself..what are YOU doing to support treating animals with respect? Do you eat out much? What criteria do you use before choosing where to eat...price, quality, sourcing of food? (Cakes and Ale, Miller Union, Sprig Restaurant..ALL places who serve as much local organic food as possible..their prices are pretty much in line with most steakhouses and the meats are generally grass fed. Farm Burger serves only grass fed animal products..a burger is $7 and up, approx...would you spend $10-$15 on a burger or would you sooner buy a cheaper burger regardless of the source to save $$??)

You ask about the "sequel" yet your comment fails to even acknowledge the problem. What is the percentage of meat that you eat that IS humanely raised? 0%? 5%? 50%? I would think that the cruelty is so prevalent that there is much more out there showing that aspect than of your "graphic kindness to animals" reference.

Yes, there IS kindness to animals too...unfortunately many people would rather remain ignorant to the truth and make jokes or stick their heads in the sand.

Again, I am not preaching veganism nor vegetarianism. I have been and am sure I still am part of the problem at times. I am simply urging people to BE AWARE and then act with knowledge and a conscious.

And by the way...many vegans are eating crap, processed, sugary, junk foods which ALSO add to the problem...Staying and getting sick is also a problem...creates the need for more drugs which in turn leads to animal testing and cruelty as well. All the soy that many vegans and vegetarians consume is horrible for our health too..genetically modified crops are doing unknown damage to our planet and its "earthlings"...

Knowledge is power. When we know better we (should) do better."

A good friend of mine made an excellent point:
"this film exists because people do not want to pay attention,the trailor is so profoundly heartbreaking that if everybody actually watched it, and allowed themselves to feel the horror, these practices could no longer is our c...omplacency that has created this shameful nightmare...I agree with you Lisa, and do my very best to buy humanely raised meat, but it is also very hard to know for sure. We stopped eating red-meat-mammals a few years ago because I couldn't be sure..."

The movie covered many more subjects than simply what we are eating.  It approached animals in general, including the human ones...all of us inhabitants of the Earth:  Earthlings...and how we treat one another..from the homeless animal situation to how we get leather...factory farming was just one of many parts the movie touched upon.

On my facebook page, I also included a link to an article about a "good slaughter":

I actually severed a friendship as a result of that posting from a friend who failed to see my point, which was to punctuate the difference in how a factory farm animal is so inhumanely raised and slaughtered, versus a more humane, in my opinion, way to end an animal's life...a way that minimizes the pain and suffering.  He not only vilified slaughtering any animal for consumption...which, to be honest, I certainly understand that point of view and do not personally embrace the idea that I eat, though minimally, some animal sources of food...but he also vilified people who were not vegetarians as well. However, he had no problem with consuming factory farmed dairy products, citing religious reasons, and he refused to acknowledge that most dairy cows live short, miserable, cramped lives hooked up to machines while the males end up becoming veal since they are not needed. 

One of my favorite comments was this one:
"Kudos for a "change in consciousness!" We all gotta start somewhere! And that link rocks. You can find a CSA, there, too. ☼"

Basically, we all have effects to others around us, humans and non-humans. And it's a fact that cruelty exists in the world and it probably is not going to cease to exist in this moment.  However, being open to possibilities, becoming educated, aware, and proactive, can all lead to positive change.  It may be tiny baby steps...just pick something..anything...that you are willing to do that can be an act of kindness, fairness, compassion.  I have one friend who volunteers at animal shelters.  I have many friends who are strictly vegetarian and/or vegan, some who only allow themselves to eat fish, and still others who not only hock family heirlooms to pay for surgeries for rescue dogs, but also avoid eating or wearing any animal products.

Me? I have three rescue animals and avoid factory farmed animal products.  I eat a predominantly plant based diet and I work at knowing where my food comes from...I do not eat fast food and eat out rarely.  I do what I am willing to do for now and as I learn more and become more mindful and aware, I'm sure what I am willing to do to make a difference, ever so small, will change.

What can you do NOW to be part of the SOULution?

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