I was sent this link by a very good friend today who happens to be vegan. It’s an interview with Moby published yesterday about his journey to vegetarianism and onto veganism. It’s well worth a read. It’s not very long and his attitude towards eating meat echo mine in many ways.
I have been aware of Moby’s veganism for a long while and I remember seeing the notes on the inside cover of Everything Is Wrong when I bought it. One of the stats is actually quoted in the interview (the one about the amount of water needed to produce a kilo of beef).
In the interview Moby talks about his epiphany when has saved a cat left to die on a rubbish dump. Mine was totally different, but I do like to re-visit the time that it happened from time to time, so why not now?
Nick and I had the opportunity to go and work on a holistic retreat in 2007/8. It was on a chateau in the grounds of a nature reserve in a small village in the Limousin region of France. It was a bit of a leap of faith. I gave up my job, we bought a camper van, got pet passports for the cats and left, not really knowing what we were going to do.
We ended up setting up an organic vegetable plot and looking after the animals on the chateau (cats, dog, sheep, a horse and eventually an abandoned deer). This was such an amazing chance to learn new things and work outside on things that we were really passionate about.
I remember the day very clearly when things changed. We were looking after about 10 sheep. We fed the sheep every morning. I was very surprised by them. They all had characters, very distinct characters. For some reason, the owner of the chateau allowed the females to be fertilised by a male sheep from the neighbouring farmer. So the first lamb arrived. One of the local workers had to fight to get it out of the mother and it died. It was dead at birth. Apparently it was huge and the sheep was really too old to give birth. I understand that he did a great job to save the mother from dying. This was pretty distressing. I’ve never been in that situation before, but I guess that it’s something that happens all of the time. Farmers must just shrug their shoulders and move on.
So the next 2 lambs arrived. These were the 2 that were the final nail in my meat eating coffin. They were born on a very cold morning. We arrived in the field after they were born and they were laid out as if they were dead. The local worker said that we weren’t to bother with one of them as he was nearly dead and wouldn’t survive. We laid him out on the sunny side of one of the outbuildings to warm him up and make him a little more comfortable.
He showed a few signs of recovery so we took him inside, laid him out and put him in front of a halogen heater. The bizarre thing was that the room smelled of roast lamb, ironically.
The dog that we were looking after actually came in and started licking the lamb. She wanted to help and mother the lamb in the same way that we were.
Anyway, the lamb went from strength to strength (as did his sister). We hand reared him. Nick fed him 4 times a day and throughout the night.
He really bonded with me. When I crouched down near him he tried to get milk from under my armpit. He would follow me around the place like a dog. When I went to their field he would run over to me.
There’s a lot more that I could say. I guess that my point is that in the same way that our family cats and dogs have characters and love for us, so do the animals that we eat, but we have no quarms with killing them for food. There’s a word for it. It’s called speciesism.
I looked these sheep in the eye, helped one of them to survive and he showed me love back. This is why I removed myself from the meat supply chain. I would challenge any meat eater to look a lamb/cow/pig in the eye, kill it then eat it. I would imagine that we would see a rather rapid increase in non-meat eaters if everyone had to kill their own food.
As one famous Beatle once said……..
I have also stopped buying any clothes containing animal products. My shoes now come from Vegetarian Shoes. Next step is to get rid of the diary products from my diet.
Well I enjoyed going back to look at the photos and the videos of my time in France. It brought back great memories. I actually have a video of me saying goodbye to the sheep on the day we left France. I got pretty emotional looking at it again. It has been a while since I looked at it. Although that part of my life is definitely in the past, it has had a profound effect on my future.
Happy running folks.