Warning: The following post contains content that may not be appropriate for all ages. It deals with a subject that is disturbing, frightening and disgusting. It also contains images (click to enlarge) that are shocking and perturbing. We show them to you only to highlight the nature of our opponents. Parental guidance is strongly advised. Proceed at your own risk.
A terrible travesty of justice, an iniquity that pervades this great land from right to left coast, just came to FCN's attention. It’s something of grand magnitude, terrible significance and horrid shock value. No, I am not talking about my new plan to grow my toenails out, but it is something that hits us similarly close to the heart (the stomach, to be exact).
The depressing and, if you haven't read the appropriate literature, surprising fact is that the vast majority of American kitchens (restaurant and home) subsidize rampant cruelty. I know that's a lot of big words and the faithful FCN few who attend college are already reaching for their PDs (as pocket dictionaries are affectionately titled), but let me see if I can spell it out more plainly:
In the past half century, most U.S. vegetable production has moved away from small family farms to factory farms -- huge warehouses where plants are confined in raised beds or greenhouses or a hydroponics bucket. The competition to lower costs has led agri-business to treat vegetables as mere objects rather than as individuals who can suffer. Large farming operations, that focus more on the bottom line more than ethical plant treatment, are systematically destroying all respect for the members of Kingdom Vegetabilia and desensitizing us to the trauma in the process.
From the time a vegetable is first planted, cruelty is on the mind of the farmer. Seeds are spaced so closely together that overcrowding is rampant and many plants are unable to get enough light to survive. Smaller plants are yanked out by their roots and left to die of exposure. Paid agents of the farmer exercise the explicit mandates of their boss, often never thinking through the consequences of their actions.As the plants grow, the farmer applies stressing chemicals that, while inducing greater crop yields, often stunt the plant’s long term growth and give it a bleak future. Sometimes these chemicals are tested in labs on live plants (think Josef Mengele but scarier) and chemical companies show little or no regard to the life they regularly destroy.
Devastating poisons are sprayed on helpless plants via crop duster.
When a plant finally produces some fruit, it is brutally and violently “picked” and sent to be processed at a far away facility. Most plants never see their offspring.
Many plants are euthanized soon after “harvest.”
At the processing facility, vegetables undergo even more trauma. A sharp knife peals away a vegetables skin and it is often wrapped in airtight plastic wrapping for many weeks before being released. Those that survive this brutality must submit to freezing, storage and other associated indignities before being allowed to breathe.
Terrified veggies wait helplessly in a supermarket.
Even after being rescued by a shopper like you and I, many vegetables are further brutalized. A recent survey found that most veggies used in everyday snacks and meals are diced, chopped, cut, ground or pureed beforehand.
A veggie burial ground.
Kids learn destructive eating patterns that they keep with them their whole lives.
A well-supplied cook takes great pride in his or her weapons.
A chef boils veggies alive in cooking oil.
Hidden from public view, the cruelty that occurs on factory farms is easy to ignore. But more and more people are taking a look at how farmed vegetables are treated and deciding that it's too cruel to support.
Secret meeting of a sadist veggie-abusing cult.
What we choose to eat makes a powerful statement about our ethics and our view of the world – about our very humanity. By not buying legumes, fruit, and vegetable products, we withdraw our support from cruelty to plants, undertake an economic boycott of factory farms, and support the production of cruelty-free foods. From children and grandparents to celebrities and athletes, compassionate living is spreading – and easier than ever! Today, even small-town grocery stores can feature a variety of burgers, dogs, and deli slices, milks, and dairy desserts – a bounty unimaginable only a decade ago!
Even if you like vegetables (and who wouldn't mind giving up a few veggies?) you can help end this cruelty. If everyone just cut their veggie consumption in half, billions of vegetables would be spared from suffering every year.
When you first discover the reality of modern vegetable agriculture, avoiding all products from factory farms might seem too big a change. But don’t be overwhelmed – just take small steps. For example, you could eliminate veggies from certain meals or on certain days. As you get used to eating fewer vegetables and find alternatives you enjoy, it may become easier to eliminate vegetables altogether.
When you share your new discoveries and ideas, some people may not only show resistance, but might even react with mockery or anger. In order to prevent suffering, however, we must let the compassion we feel for vegetables shine through the pain and anger we feel about the atrocities of factory farming. Unless others can respect us—as opposed to finding us cold and judgmental— they will have little interest in taking steps to end cruelty to vegetables.
Instead of expecting others to change immediately, we need to be understanding, giving everyone time to consider the realities of factory farms at their own pace and within their unique situations. Burning bridges with anger only serves to create enemies and to feed the stereotype that carnivores are self-righteous.
Although it may be tempting to argue over related topics (such as what our prehistoric ancestors ate), the simplest statement can be the most powerful: “I know that I don’t want to suffer. Therefore, I don’t want to cause others to suffer.” As long as we remain respectful, our positive example and the information we provide will ultimately be the best voice for the vegetables.