From Asheville Citizen Times, Opinion
Written by STEWART DAVID
A recent Asheville Citizen-Times article referred to vegetarians as “quirky”, hardly an appropriate adjective in this day and age. Asheville now has five vegetarian restaurants and dozens of other local dining establishments offering multiple meat-free options. It’s hard to open a newspaper or magazine or turn on your TV or computer without seeing articles and recipes about vegetarianism. Oprah Winfrey and her staff of 378 recently took a week long “Vegan Challenge”, Martha Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres (a vegan) have both repeatedly covered the topic, and the list goes on.
The Number One reason people are adopting plant-based diets is the growing awareness of the horrific cruelties inflicted upon animals raised for food.
The veil of secrecy surrounding modern agriculture has been lifted, mostly due to undercover investigations conducted by animal rights groups.
It’s no surprise that legislation has been introduced in multiple states to make it a crime to produce, distribute or possess photos and video taken without permission at an agricultural facility. The truth is ugly, and, as the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. As noted in a recent New York Times editorial, “The legislation has only one purpose: to hide factory-farming conditions from a public that is beginning to think seriously about animal rights and the way food is produced.”
The editorial concludes, “We need to know more about what goes on behind those closed doors, not less.” To take a peek at the systematic, institutionalized cruelty of food production that the industry wants to keep hidden, watch Glass Walls (narrated by Paul McCartney) at www.meat.org (or see directly below). Hurry, because if this powerful industry has its way, viewing this video may soon be illegal.
A whopping majority of Americans agree that cruelty to animals is just plain wrong. Yet most of these same people consume animals that were subjected to egregious abuse. There truly is bliss in ignorance, and the industry is determined to keep it that way. Once you know the facts, you are forced to consider aligning your actions with your beliefs. If you cringe at what you saw on the video, it’s probably not something you yourself would do to an animal. Why is it acceptable to pay others to do it for you? If dogs or cats were treated this way, the perpetrators would go to jail.
As vegetarianism moves from the margins to the mainstream, making the switch gets easier every day. It’s often as simple as walking down a different aisle at the supermarket or opening to a different section of the menu.
What are you waiting for?
Stewart David is a retired certified public accountant who spent most of his life eating animal products at every meal. In the late 1980s, his concerns about animal protection, the environment, global hunger and social justice led him to adopt a vegan diet. He has lived in Asheville since 1990.
Please Note: That’s a bit of orange slice on the clock, not a wedge of cheese!