Making kind choices in your everyday life.

The getting of wisdom to make kind choices

Posted by on Feb 15, 2015 in Dairy, Environment, Factory Farming | 6 comments

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight” – Albert Schweitzer

I sincerely hope that my voice through my blog never comes across as preachy or holier than thou-ish. If it ever does, I humbly apologise as I certainly have no right to be this way. I have spent the majority of my life doing the very things which I rant against on this blog. Over my 40 something years on this earth, I have, without a second thought, gnawed on pigs trotters, ridden elephants and posed for photos with baby gibbons in Thailand, thrown bread to bears in a barren bear pit, enjoyed nights out at the greyhound track, bet on racehorses at “Royal Randwick”, used make up, shampoo etc by companies who test on animals and eaten a mountain of cheese and a ton of sausages. 9 out of 10 shoes I’ve ever bought have been made of leather, “lambs fry” and “lambs brains” (eek) were sometimes breakfast growing up.  I’ve dined on dozens of Peking duck pancakes, caught fish, probably inadvertently eaten hundreds of caged eggs, snuggled under duck down quilts, gawked at animals in too small enclosures in zoos and aquariums and am probably responsible for the death of an orangutan or two by consuming / lathering myself in products containing palm oil and the list of shame goes on. I am grateful to have never worn fur or eaten foie gras but still, my track record is far from worthy. I even kind of, (cringe), made fun of  a vegan family we knew whilst I was a teenager and found their rice cake eating,  meat abstaining ways completely “extreme” and weird. I have done all of these things whilst always being someone who passionately “loves animals”. I don’t feel that I am a kinder or more empathetic person these days than I was growing up – I have, however, made a conscientious effort to educate myself about these issues and, as a direct result, my ways of living and eating have changed.

I have met a few people recently who revealed that they did not know (or had never thought about the fact) that cows have to have a calf each year to produce milk (and then this calf will be taken from its grieving mum at around 5 days of age and, if male,  slaughtered – after legally not having to be fed or watered for 36 hours and so on). These are intelligent people but they have never learnt and, hence, thought about this fact. Educating ones self to all the travesties which are going on around us in our everyday lives is difficult. It  usually comes from a reading or viewing which is upsetting, it is not taught to us in school nor is it is rarely shown on TV as it tends to make people switch channels. The Easter Show where city kids are meant to learn about the country have straw filled pens bustling with happy piglets on display rather than the concrete floored, windowless sheds which are the reality of how the vast majority of pigs raised for food exist in Australia. Kind of the agricultural equivalent of Santa Clause. Big business and government will do everything it can to keep the grim reality hidden and advertising will be intentionally deceptive. There are sinister steps in Australia heading towards US style Ag-Gag Legislation (which aims to “gag” covertly obtained footage of animal cruelty and punish whistle blowers) and the government has refused to install CCTV footage in abattoirs to keep things even further from our view.

The unfortunate irony is that there are many people who love animals but will refuse to educate themselves about what really goes on because, understandably, they cannot tolerate seeing animals in pain or being mistreated.  So the very people who the animals of this world are relying on to forge a kinder path are sadly absent. They end up unintentionally contributing to and funding horrendous animal cruelty because they do not know enough about what goes on to be shaken into action and change because of their catch 22 situation of not wanting to be witness to suffering. These animal loving people need to be brave and challenge their own discomfort to balance out the ambivalent, those who do not care less and those who actively, greedily and mercilessly encourage and protect cruel industries such as intensive “factory” farms (I’m speaking to you Barnaby Joyce and Katrina Hodkingson!).

The former filet mignon, lobster eating investment banker, Phillip Wollen is perhaps, the best example of what an about face turn someone can take after educating themselves. In his case, it started with a business trip visit to a slaughterhouse and went on from there. Please take a minute to have a read about this incredible philanthropist and his Melbourne based Kindness House (where staff get in trouble if they DON’T bring their dogs to work !) which helps animals and disadvantaged people worldwide. He is a remarkable person.

The changes in my life have not had the earth shattering momentum of Phillip Wollen but I am proud of the changes that I have made (despite some faltering and weaving along the way ! – and I still am a long way from living the kindest life I could) – I just wish I’d educated myself earlier. As with all things which involve substantial change, remember you don’t have to do it all at once – that can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Is there something you are “into” to start off with, which maybe you could learn a bit more about to help you make better informed and kinder choices ? Cheese ? Woolen yarn ? Ham sandwiches ? Chicken soup ? What goes on behind the scenes to produce these, at first glance, inoffensive products ?

With a bit of knowledge under your belt, you may find yourself asking “is it right for an intelligent animal to be virtually immobilised for weeks to months at a time (sows), is it OK to castrate an animal without anesthesia (steers, pigs), is there anything right about allowing an inquisitive bird to live on a sloped piece of A4 sized wire mesh so she cannot stretch her wings (egg layers), should water loving ducks be living without water in intensively raised sheds (ducks), can we justify 30 seconds of suffocating terror for some cost savings (gassing of pigs), is a pair of leather boots from the skin of an animal who has had his tail broken and chilli rubbed into his eyes to make his exhausted body walk to be slaughtered really worth it (leather), is it OK to take a sheep’s fleece in the middle of winter (wool) or have shearer’s beat them out of impatience, can we justify sending animals to a terrifying death overseas because it makes us money (live animal export), is farmed fish OK despite the fact that it will take a huge amount of wild fish to feed that fish, is it environmentally wise to continue to support the livestock industry when it is one of the biggest contributers to carbon emissions and global warming, is it OK to suffocate male chicks or mince them alive so we can have eggs (including free range) ?” And the list goes on. You will probably find yourself answering a resounding “no” to each of these questions. No, it is not right, nor kind, nor intelligent, nor logical.

These days we have the internet so everything you need to know is at your finger tips, for free. There are some great movies and books available too. Here are a few resources to get you started on your learning journey (or you may find what you are after in one of my previous posts ?).

I gain a lot of my knowledge from Voiceless and Animals Australia and love One Green Planet’s tips, recipes and wisdom which arrive in my in box a few times a week. There are also these great sources……which I’ve either read / watched or have been highly recommended.

Documentaries available on the internet

Lucent – set inside regular intensive piggeries around Australia

Earthlings –  narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby

Books

The Ethics Of What We Eat – Peter Singer

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows – Melanie Joy

Farmageddon – Philip Lymberry (I am currently reading this intriguing book which reveals the true cost of cheap meat)

The Pig Who Sang to the Moon – Jeffrey Mason

Movies

Black Fish

Project Nim

Cowspiracy

This week’s post is dedicated to little Scully who, last week, was rescued from a factory farm but died a 4 days later from an illness related to her time on the intensive piggery. Thanks to the wonderful photography of Tamara Keneally who took this touching photo and has educated thousands through her simple, quiet images of farm animals at sale yards, on trucks etc where no words are needed to convey their message.

10960364_817780831604168_2810193634385769528_o

My next quests are to learn more about how honey is produced and how to source medication which has not been tested on animals. There is so much I want to learn and, yes, my lifestyle habits will no doubt continually evolve as a result. I would love to hear what you have learnt about which has led to a change in your life or something you would like to learn about in order to live a kinder existence.

 

6 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. pia

    What a fantastic post Ing and thanks for sharing these resources. I’m off to check out a few. Thanks for sharing your journey and learnings on your blog – I’ve learnt so much by reading it. We can all do more x

  2. Tread Kindly

    Thanks so much Pia – yes, we can all do so much more. The fact that you have learnt a few things from my blog has made my day x

  3. One Small Life

    Wonderful as ever Ing, I really liked hearing about your personal journey. And while I’ve never found you preachy or judgmental (it’s one of the things I love about Tread Kindly) I have to admit it was somewhat of a relief to read about all your past transgressions. Phew! She’s not perfect after all! Lol. I am still a long way behind you on my journey to more ethical living, but you know what? For many years I let the feeling of overwhelm stop me doing the few small things I was capable of doing. So now, and in large part thanks to the great work you do here, I don’t focus on what I have done and am still doing wrong. I focus instead on the small things I am doing right and just gently trying to add to those where I can. Thanks for all your inspiration and information! xx

    • Tread Kindly

      You’re lovely Kate ! Me, perfect, ha !! Far from it – I love your words about gently trying to add where you can and focusing on what you’re doing right . That really sums up what I’m trying to do here so thank you xxx

  4. Naomi (dayscareen)

    This was so interesting. I’m a massive animal lover but sadly have fallen into the trap of convenience and ignorance and definitely dont do as much as I could to help. I’m inspired to find out some more about how things work in the Uk and what I can do. Thank you for a very informative and thought-provoking post x

    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks for your comments Naomi – I don’t think you are alone in the trap you mentioned you have fallen into. It is an easy thing to happen when sanctioned animal cruelty is deliberately hidden from the public eye. There are many wonderful organisations in the UK – Compassion In World Farming is a great place to start to learn about what goes on behind the scenes, particularly in relation to factory farming.

Leave a Reply to pia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *