In the last few years, I have become a strong animal rights advocate. I have protested against pet stores that sell puppies from puppy mills (which is most of them). I have joined forces against Ringling Brothers, (with their known cruel treatment toward their animals) when the “Not-So-Greatest-Show-On Earth” came to my city. And I have protested against fast-food giants and the cruel way farm animals are treated and killed.
I have significantly limited and/or omitted meat and dairy from my diet. Before I made the decision to cut out meat, I did some research about how to make the switch to a vegetarian diet safely. Surprisingly to me at the time, I found that eating less meat helps the environment. This made the decision a definite no-brainer for me. I’d be improving my health, living a more compassionate lifestyle, and decreasing my impact on the planet. Three slam-dunks!
The more I research and learn about the horrors of factory farming and climate change and the meat industry’s disastrous impact on Mother Earth, the more motivated I am in doing my part in ensuring our planet’s health.
I’m ashamed of the many years I’ve lived in oblivion. I used to think nothing of eating meat everyday, sometimes with every meal. Nor thinking twice about tossing an empty can or bottle into the trash, instead of a recycling bin. And I absolutely loathe the memory I have of my now ex-girlfriend and I, visiting a pet store and gawking at all the cute little puppies while promising that once we move in together, we’d come back to that very store (ironically, it’s the same store I was asked to leave recently when I insisted to the owner that I be able to visit the place their puppies come from) and buy a puppy. BUY A PUPPY??? NEVER would that thought EVER enter my mind now, but it had then.
So much has changed. Time does that. I don’t mind change when it’s for the better. Now, I think a lot about the animals and the environment because in many ways, the two go hand in hand. The best way to protect the environment is to stop, or drastically reduce, your consumption of meat, which in turn benefits the animals.
I wouldn’t feel right proclaiming my love for animals, and then eat them. And I couldn’t call myself an environmentalist if I ate the very food that is “responsible for 80 percent of the planet’s deforestation, 70 percent of freshwater use and 30 percent of human-generated greeenhouse gases.” (Nature World News)
It pains me when I see my mother drinking bottled water at home instead of filling a glass using the refrigerator water, or buying a Brita. According to utahrecylces.com, 35 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year, with only about 25% of the plastic made in the U.S being recycled. For me, bottled water is used only for when I am on the go. But when I am home, it’s a glass and my Brita.
I don’t drink much coffee, but when I do, I use a coffee pot, not those environment-killing Keuriq cups. According to TheAtlantic.com, “In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times.” Billions of K-cups end up in our landfill each year. That’s a lot of money spent to kill our planet.
The more I read, the more I learn, and some news is hard to take. I recently discovered that a popular animal-rights group I thought was a friend, may actually be a foe. PETA is not the “animal rights group” I was duped into believing they were. I’m in the process of learning more about their stances regarding pit bulls, Breed Specific Legislation, and No-Kill Shelters, so I can’t write anything definitive right now.
But I’ve read enough from reputable sources to know I am never giving another dime to this organization.If you are looking for a way to help animals, and are considering donating to PETA, please give to your local animal shelter instead. From the information I’ve gathered so far, your local shelters are probably doing a lot more than PETA to keep the animals alive….More on that later.