Being Vegan – It’s A Horse of Course
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
You have no doubt heard by now of the horse meat scandal that began in the U.K. and has spread to other countries in Europe and now into Asia. It seems that they found in Burger King burgers and in other places, horse meat being passed off as beef. Other countries in Europe has found horse meat being passed off as beef as well. In Romania, it seems that they are also trying to pass donkey meat off as beef. The Nestle Company, headquartered in Switzerland and one of the largest food conglomerates in the world, pulled two frozen food lines out of stores in Italy and Spain because they were found to contain horse meat. The Bird’s Eye company has taken similar action. This is only the tip of a very nefarious iceberg.
There are a few different issues at play here. One is the outrage that people are feeling to being mislead to believe that they were eating beef, when in fact, it was horse meat. That angers others because they have an objection to eating horse meat, because it is regarded perhaps as a species that one would have as a companion or domesticated animal that so many would have an objection to eating. The irony to all of this, if you can call it that, is that a horse is truly no different than a cow, a pig, a lamb, a goat, a chicken, a dog, a cat or any other animal that you might consider. It is intelligent with thoughts, feelings, emotions and reasoning…just as other animals possess in varying degrees. They all experience fear, grief and pain. I can understand the outrage that someone would feel for being mislead to thinking you were eating one thing when you were, in fact, eating something else. But let’s get this point straight…it is all meat…meat that comes from a living, sentient being whose life was brutalized and sacrificed so that we could have a moment of pleasure. We should be so far beyond the notion that we need any sort of animal product to live or be healthy. None of it is necessary.
So what is happening as a result. French President Francois Hollande is calling upon the European Union to require mandatory labeling and tracing of meat products in Europe. Germany has done so as well. The European Union has responded by saying they are moving quickly to address the issue. The response in the U.K has been very interesting. In a country where less than 2% consume a plant-based diet, a recent ComPress Study indicated that 7% of the people interviewed said that they have stopped eating meat altogether as a result of the horse meat scandal and a much larger number are considering doing the same. Consumer Intelligence reported that over 4 million people have stopped eating meat as a result of the scandal. I know that this is going to have a far-reaching impact in a similar way in other countries as well. It will also cause the world to begin to look at it’s food and it’s sourcing more closely, and the end result will be that we will find even greater contempt for how corrupted the system has become and will lead many to take control of their food and their health for perhaps the first time. This scandal is only the beginning to the unraveling of the food corruption as we know it.
There is no indication that this horse meat scandal has spread to the U.S, but who can you really believe now?
They say there is no horse meat masquerading as beef, but they didn’t think it was happening in Europe either. President Obama, with no good reasoning, lifted the ban for horse slaughter in the U.S. in 2011, but none of those new processing plants are in operation as of yet. I hope this helps to shine a light on the entire meat and dairy industry in this country because people need to know what is really going on…make the connection…and when they do I believe we will see widespread change begin to take place. ThinkProgress reports that the average American eats roughly 270 lbs. of meat a year (a good bit of which stays in your body), and there is plenty of evidence that many Americans are also consuming a steady intake of deadly bacteria like salmonella or e.coli with their burgers. According to The Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food borne illnesses each year. Why would we not want to protect our own health and the health of our families when we realize where these diseases come from? The source is always contamination from some kind of animal products.
I read a quote from Jo Tyler this week where she says, “The hardest part about being vegan is coming face to face with the darker side of humanity and trying to remain hopeful. It’s trying to understand why otherwise good and caring people continue to participate in needless violence against animals just for the sake of their own pleasure of convenience.” It is the darker side of our humanity that allows for the raising, captivity, slaughter and consumption of animals. It is also behind the greed motives to bring cheaper meat products to the consumer and, in this case, passing a horse off as a cow. The good part of this whole situation is that it is beginning to shed light on this dark area and people are beginning to see it all, in fact, in a new light. We should want to do all that we can do, every day, wherever we are, to continue to shine the light on this disregard not only for animal life, but for human life as well. Things like this are all that it is going to take for so many of the growing legion of v-curious people around the world to cross the bridge and make a change in their lives. People are coming out of this darkness in unprecedented numbers and we will be here to help and welcome them. The Shift is on…
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s upcoming book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas” will be published by Sullivan Street Press and for more information please go to www.sullivanstpress.com.