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Let's Give Our Children Some Credit!

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

I was recently on my social media account, browsing around my feed, checking out all of the fun things my peeps were doing in their lives. As I was looking at all of the baby pictures, High School graduations, wedding celebrations, etc., I scrolled upon a former veterinary colleague who had posted a picture of her 12 year old daughter, very proudly holding a blue ribbon in her left hand. In her right hand she was holding the lead rope of a young steer standing next to her, who had just won best in something or other, at the county fair. She had named this beautiful bovine Bruce, and had been raising him as a pet for months, lovingly tending to his every need. My colleague’s daughter was so proud that her steer had been purchased by a meat company. She had succeeded in raising and showing a prized calf. My former associate went on to caption this picture with, “I’m glad she doesn’t know where he’s going! LOL.”

Wait a second… WHAT!! Laugh out loud? Really? Do we laugh out loud to where this sweet innocent pet is going? This young lady will soon be, most likely tearfully, handing over that same lead rope, and her beloved Bruce, to the hands of a “kill buyer”. Bruce, now a confused and betrayed baby steer, will be shoved into a trailer among other, now nameless, livestock. Award winning Bruce will then be trucked off to a facility to be shot through the forehead with a bolt gun, be hoisted up by straps around his back legs, and have his throat sliced open to bleed his very short life’s blood out on the kill room floor. Sweet, innocent Bruce will then be skinned, disemboweled, dismembered, and packaged into neat, deceptively clean looking cellophane packages by uncaring workers- callously performing these barbaric tasks, while their boots are treading all over the blood that Bruce, and others, had just bled out. Bruce just lost his exploited, award winning life. This scenario, considered in a play-by-play manner, does not make me “laugh out loud” at all!

I decided to leave the comment, “Why don’t you give your daughter the benefit of the whole picture, thereby letting her make an educated decision on whether or not she wants to participate in this practice?” After all, aren’t we supposed to educate our children and prepare them for the hard decisions that come with adulthood? Should we be sheltering our children (and ourselves) from the horrors of what we, and in turn they, are contributing to? Or should we allow our children to, either own the scar from the slaughter experience and choose to participate wholly in the livestock practice, or choose to turn away from it altogether? I can tell you that my comment whipped up the biggest manure storm of rude comments, personal attacks, and down right threats from my former colleague and others! She commented back, “We live in cattle country up here, and we are raising future cattle farmers!” After considering her words carefully, I commented back. “Okay, let me get this straight. You’re sheltering your daughter from the true reality of the situation in order to perpetuate your views onto her, so as to not change your, or her future livelihood? Does your daughter not have a say in her life choices or her future employment?” Again, the barrage of “Stupid vegan” comments and rude, ugly bullying. I had made a literary stomp into an intentionally blinded space, where nobody wants me or anybody else, to ever tread. I, and my revolutionary line of questioning were promptly blocked.

It is sadly interesting how we casually overlook the suffering of livestock animals. We keep the whole industry conveniently hidden, turning a quite decidedly blind eye, in order to continue indirectly contributing to it with our dollars. Instead of staring at the horrors dead on, and owning our individual, indirect role in the mass slaughter of sentient beings for our palate preferences, we sweep it all under the rug and “protect” our children from the everyday atrocities occurring billions of times a year.

I now ask some wildly unpopular questions!

Why are we so afraid that our children might want to leave slaughtered animals and their secretions (dairy and eggs) off of their plates? Why do we feel we need to perpetuate the cognitive dissonance of loving our house pets and slaughtering our livestock pets? There is clear, unequivocal, indisputable evidence that the human body can, not only survive but, thrive on a whole food plant based diet. Why are we so afraid that our children may want to think and choose differently than we do about where their protein comes from? Is it perhaps that we are uncomfortable with having to look at, and possibly change our own practices when we are confronted by our distraught child who has seen, and rebuked the horrors of the livestock industry? And seriously, if it was really about us being so concerned that little Jane and Johnny are getting enough nutrition, we would not be handing out the processed and junk foods to them so arbitrarily. Or is it perhaps more likely that we would rather hide the reality of our own food choices, keeping our children uninformed, instead of having to consider the idea that our smart little spawn may hold us accountable for said food choices? Isn’t it more likely that, instead of pulling our children down to where we are, that we may need to think about raising our bar, instead of raising and killing more innocent livestock pets? It has been said, “There is a reason why we take children to a strawberry patch instead of a slaughter house.” Let’s give our children some credit! They can think for themselves and they deserve the benefit of educated food choices! We owe it to them (and ourselves!) to know where their food comes from. The best perk is that we will educate ourselves in the process, and even improve our health!

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