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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right spot. I just need to talk to someone who will understand and maybe forgive.

Yesterday started like a normal day. I came to this site to look for recipes and friendship. I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since 2003. I had started feeling uneasy about eating meat. At the time I couldn't exactly say why. It just started to feel wrong. Whenever anyone asked my why I became a vegetarian I would just say, "For ethical reasons." Even back then I suspected that I would eventually make the transition to Vegan.

So yesterday something inside me decided it was time to start making the final switch. I found this website. Found some promising recipes, then started to look around the rest of the site. Then I found the video.

When I started watching "Meet Your Meat" I didn't expect to find anything shocking. I grew up on a small family owned dairy farm. (300 acres, about 40 cows, a few dozen chickens.) Since I was familiar with the agriculture society I didn't expect to see anything that would upset me.

Well, I didn't actually SEE anything that surprised me. I had heard about factory farms before. What really devastated me were the things I started to remember about our own little farm. Horrible awful things that I had somehow forced myself to forget.

One of the worst memories took place about 30 years ago. I was about 6 at the time. There was a sick cow in the barn. My father called the "auction guy" to take her away. The cow was too sick to stand up so they tied a rope to her leg and dragged her screaming across the concrete floor and onto the truck. When I asked my father where they were taking her he said,"To sell for dog food." When I started crying Dad sent me into the house. When my mom found out why I was upset she just said "Thats just part of life, get use to it."

I started remember other things too. The "free range" chickens spent the winter in a unheated coop. When I asked why some of the chickens were missing toes I was told that they had frozen off in the winter.

The chickens were there for the eggs. Most of the roosters that hatched were killed as soon as they were big enough to eat.

Male calves were sent to the auction. Bull calves are useless on a dairy farm. I remember how their mothers would call out for them for days after they were sent away. A few years ago a local girl was kidnapped while out riding her bike. Her family went on TV begging for her return. The police found her clothes but they never found her body. Are the human mother and the cow mother really any different? They both just want their babies back home safe; but their babies are already dead.

I could go on and on. These memories just came flooding back to me. I spent most of the day yesterday crying and crying. I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours. I woke up with a headache and an upset stomach.

I don't know how I ever blocked these things from my mind in the first place.

Maybe I always knew these things were wrong and my brain just couldn't cope with being forced to grow up in the middle of it. It's like I had two minds. One that saw these things and understood what was happening. That mind got buried in my sub conscience. The second mind allowed me to cope with living there. It viewed without seeing, touched without feeling, heard without listening. It sounds crazy. It's like when they talked about "doublethink" in the book "1984"; allowing yourself to believe in two things that contradict each other. It's the only explanation I can think of for how I forgot about these things and why I remember them now.

Maybe it was these memories in my sub conscience that let me to veg*ism to begin with. Maybe I had to take the final decision to become vegan before I ready to deal with these memories. I still don't feel ready though. I still feel like crying.

One thought keeps coming back to me. I know I can't be the only one to experience this. Right now somewhere out there is another little girl standing in another barn watching another animal be mistreated.

She is out there crying, and her parents will tell her she's wrong.
 

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I'm sorry you had to go through things like that. I can only imagine how horrible it would have been to grow up on a farm that mistreated its animals. Just know that if you do go vegan now, you are doing everything you can to help the very animals that helped you to make this choice.
 

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I'm sorry you had to go through such things, but you've made a positive turn because of it, so that's great!

I think your experiences speak well to the idea that children inherently desire to be compassionate and kind but are taught to accept double standards and to block out uncomfortable truths. It's amazing how powerful this doublethink is, and I think we've all experienced it at some time in our lives. I too look back at things I used to do or things I witnessed in the past and cringe at how blinded I was to their reality. Exactly the "touch without feeling, hear without listening" that you describe.

Your knowledge, experience, eloquence, and deep awareness of the issues are to be commended. You might be able to do the world some good by publishing your experiences and feelings more broadly, whether that means writing a book about it or a letter to the editor of a newspaper or by making a webpage or whatever. The world needs more people like you!
 

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Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I think there is a misconception that animals are happy and live out peaceful lives on small farms, and that's just not the truth. Though I'm sure there are some exceptions out there, they are in the vast minority. The picture you paint about calves being taken from their mothers is exactly what caused me to give up dairy - it is just so heartbreaking.

I'm sure that your childhood experiences are why you've chosen to be a vegetarian, whether you consciously remembered them or not. What matters now though, is that you've chosen a more compassionate lifestlye now. Don't be too hard on yourself, and know that you are doing the right thing!
 

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*big hugs* I know exactly where you're coming from. I also grew up on a small farm (cows, chickens, pigs, rabbits and two fully stocked catfish ponds). I can't tell you how often I would get attached to the animals only to have them killed soon after. The strange thing is that I never learned not to make friends with them, it was just natural for me.

I also find it strange that kids in these situations aren't sheltered from the violence. I saw animals brutally slaughtered right in front of me and when it upset me, I was told the same thing you were. It's a part of life, you're being way to sensitive, get used to it.

Thankfully now my family has given up animal farming and the land is used to grow crops (mostly cotton & soybeans) & take care of horses that have been mistreated. They buy horses from people who have overridden them, starved them, etc and nurse them back to health when possible, then find them good homes to sell them back to. Quite the turn around, huh?
 

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Jojob and Ravenfire: I would say the two of you have accomplished more than many. Quite a few people who grow up around animals and routinely see them killed for food DO get used to it, and come to believe that "that's life".

But neither of you did.
 

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I would use these experiences to teach others. Then these animals did not suffer and die in vain. One of the commplents I've heard about AR people is they don't have actual experiences with "farmed" animals so can't relate well enough.

I know it hurts to witness suffering...but try to think that the suffering would have happened if you were present or not and as a child you couldn't do much about it. I'm sure that is part of what makes the experience painful is that you feel like being witness to the suffering makes you partially responsible. I mean unconsciously.
 

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Wow. What a testimony!!!

I think you need some down time but when you are up to it I'd suggest you watch Peaceable Kingdom. There is a beautiful part of the documentary when a man explains how he felt forgiven when a steer put his head gently to the man's chest. There are online versions (but I don't know where) which you'll have to access because the makers of the documentary are reformatting it so it's not for sale anywhere.

Thank you for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for your kind words an compassion. The past couple of days have been tough. I can tell that being vegan is going to be tougher than being vegetarian was. There are so many hidden ingredients. I'm glad that I have found somewhere to come for advice and moral support.

Some of you suggested that I use my experience to educate others. One of you said something about writing a book. I don't think I could do that right now but it's something to think about for the future. Maybe it would be easier if I wrote a third person fictional story and put a disclaimer on it saying "these events are based on true personal experiences."

The past few days I've been thinking a lot about a story I wrote a few years ago. It was originally meant to be about taking responsibility for out actions, the impact our actions on the environment, and how everything that affects the environment affects all of humanity. I was still an omni when I wrote it. After I gave up meat the story took on an even greater meaning for me. Now when I read it again I realize that there were veg*n thoughts working in my subconscious even back then.

For those who are interested, I've posted the story in the arts and crafts section of this site. It's called "The Groundskeeper".

http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...ad.php?t=62183

Again, thank you so much for all your support.

Joanne
 

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I only recently found out that the farm i was brought up on for about the first seven years of my life was a beef production farm... and i was rather sickened, and yet it made me understand my father (who i had just been reunited with) was so unsensitive towards animals. I defiantly know what you are going through, but am not strong enough to watch that video. i know i should, because i still have doubts about becoming vegan, but i know it would be too sickening.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by auscheer View Post

I only recently found out that the farm i was brought up on for about the first seven years of my life was a beef production farm... and i was rather sickened, and yet it made me understand my father (who i had just been reunited with) was so unsensitive towards animals. I defiantly know what you are going through, but am not strong enough to watch that video. i know i should, because i still have doubts about becoming vegan, but i know it would be too sickening.
Hey ausheer, don't watch what you dont want to see... Look forward, not backward, that's all we All can do, forget that horrible past, it is OVER WITH..

go forward with what you know now, when we KNOW BETTER we DO BETTER.. hey, we all have crap in our past, believe you me, but now is the time to let it go and move forward by choosing our paths as vegetarians, guess what auscheer, YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH!! You've chosen your path to travel, now just do it!! You won't be disappointed, and you have this board to support you..take care!
 
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