My blog is all about plant-based food, but as those of you who follow me on Instagram might have noticed I also like to share posts and information about animal welfare (or the lack of such) in the meat and dairy industry. I sometimes feel crushed by the brutality we inflict on billions of animals who are unlucky enough to be born as what we call livestock (the word alone makes my skin crawl).
As a mother of two young children, it’s very important to me to not only cook the right food for them, but to also teach them about it. They need to know and understand where their food comes from and why our diet choices have a huge impact on our own health as well as the health of the planet. I think this is crucial in our western world with its broken food system and an increasingly unhealthy population where chronic disease is sky rocketing. Most of us live a life where we never get to see where our food actually grows, how the animals we eat live (and die) and lots of children barely know that milk comes from a cow rather than a tetra pack. It’s in the food industry’s best interest to keep it this way as most of us wouldn’t eat half of what we eat if we knew how it got on our plate and at what cost.
Teaching my children compassion for animals is particularly close to my heart and while I’d love for them to be surrounded by all types of animals our small garden unfortunately can’t accommodate more than a dog – sometimes 3 or 4 of them since I work as a dog walker part time. With our current life in the city, I can’t be the sanctuary for all animals in need I’d love to be, but I’m hoping to help more people transition away from animal foods by learning how to cook delicious plant-based meals and reduce suffering this way.
I think the least we can do to help the next generation fix and undo as much as possible of all that’s gone wrong with the way we eat and how we treat our planet and the many other species we share it with is to give them the right tools and knowledge to live a healthy and sustainable life when they grow up.
Not everyone has the same deep connection with animals and there is nothing wrong with that, but when I get told that I’m a vegan because I love animals, I sometimes struggle not to get annoyed. It’s true, I absolutely adore almost all animals and have done since I was very young (I admit I don’t love spiders and I definitely can’t stand ticks), but saying that all vegans love animals kind of implies that everyone else hates them with such passion that they somehow think they deserve all the cruelty they have to endure in order to tickle our taste buds? I think animal welfare shouldn’t be a question of love, but much rather an ethical way of thinking. We lost the respect for most other sentient living beings – apart from the ones we somehow decided to upgrade to pets- and for me this goes hand in hand with losing respect for nature and our fragile eco system in general.
I think children should be able to choose if they want to eat meat, they should know what it is and how it ended up in their sandwich. Ham isn’t called ham for no reason, sliced dead pig wouldn’t sell very well after all. I believe that all children are born with compassion for animals, just look how much they love a bug hotel or to feed lettuce to snails. It’s us grown-ups who teach them to be scared of wasps and that we love cats, but eat cows. It doesn’t have to be this way.