For years my dogs were veg. I figured that it was crazy to care about them by causing suffering to the animals used for dogfood.
Then came a dog who did not want to eat that veggie food. Combine that with my Jewish upbringing and things definitely went in a backward direction. I am happiest when everyone is full and "wanting for nothing" as my family says. The idea that my dog or anyone in my life would go hungry for even an hour makes me sad. When my various dogs have had surgery and they say "no food after midnight on the day before the surgery, my heart sinks. I set the alarm and give them their "last supper" at five minutes to midnight. I do the same with myself. I am a chow hound. If I weren't a vegan who loves healthy food, I would weigh about 200 pounds.
OK, back to the dogfood issue. I slipped into feeding not just one, but both dogs, meat based dog food. I went into that sleepy denial that lets us forget about decades of knowing about, seeing and teaching about the horrors and violence in the animal agriculture industries. I turned my back on what I know to be true: The animals used for human and non-human food suffer in ways that would shock most consumers. If slaughterhouses, factory farms, trucking companies who ship animals, and stockyards all had glass walls, the meat industry would go belly up. It is amazing what we can deny. I have seen all the images. Not just a few times. Hundreds of times. I have shown the films and slide images of the violence in factory farming to children and adults in education programs for years. And yet, somehow, I pushed this information aside and went back to feeding meat to the dogs.
Then, just last week, JC and Adena and I went to see Food Inc.
We leafleted with the Vegan Outreach Compassionate Choices booklet before and after the film and everyone took one on the way out. This is not a vegan film by any means. It is a film about how our food is becoming less and less food and more and more product. The film did include footage of animal agriculture. Mostly footage I had seen before, but for some reason it grabbed me this time. It may be because is came on the heels of a discussion about what I feed the dogs. The three of us had this discussion. This makes realize the power of not only a well made film, but of a well timed, unthreatening, open discussion with friends and family.
After the film I announced that I would no longer buy animal products for the dogs. JC is delighted. He has been wanting this for three years. Bean and Tikvah were not happy at first. But they did not have to go hungry for long. They scarf down the veggie food almost as fast as they did the meat food. As a little side benefit, it seems to be changing Beans preferences and she is taking part in Tikvah's nightly raw cabbage feed in (his favorite treat).
Having this consistency back in my life feels wonderful.
I was feeling very hypocritical when leading programs on compassionate living and feeding my dogs tortured beings.
(Downed cow being dragged onto truck by chain-What we no longer support)
I am breathing a sigh of relief. We all are. Me, JC, Tikvah (who has been prone to tumors and should not be eating any meat), Bean (who is young and will hopefully be healthier with this way of eating), and the thousands of animals who will not be raised, trucked and slaughtered for any of us.