Meatless Monday: there are a number of reasons why we do it, and we’ve discussed many already. We’ve got the obvious and innumerable health benefits of a plant-based diet. We get to reduce our heavy impact on the planet by choosing thoughtful foods. We’ve got a way to honor our rich U.S. heritage by participating in an initiative that began as a war-time effort.
But we haven’t touched on a pretty big, pretty controversial (and pretty darn important) reason for going veg: reducing the harm caused to animals. It’s hard to stay blissfully ignorant of the inhumanity of this issue if you: a.) live in the United States and b.) have access to a limitless variety of food (The Grocery Store). As consumers, we may think we don’t have a voice on this issue, and that there’s nothing to be done: cruelty, injustice wins. I tell you, if Martin Luther King Jr. felt this way, we wouldn’t be celebrating him today. If nothing else, his legacy is one of change, radical justice, and hope, or what my teacher and mentor said to his students in an email: “Always inspiring, always relevant, always deserving of its place in the American canon.” Dr. King’s accomplishments during the Civil Rights Movement in his era can be mirrored for the animals of ours. ( SL NOTE: animal activism has been called Generations X and Y’s civil rights movement). You can watch Dr. King’s famous speech here.
Today I leave you not with a recipe, but with a thought, from Jonathan Safran Foer’s compelling book Eating Animals: “However much we obfuscate or ignore it, we know that the factory farm is inhumane in the deepest sense of the word. And we know that there is something that matters in a deep way about the lives we create for the living beings most within our power. Our response to the factory farm is ultimately a test of how we respond to the powerless, to the most distant, to the voiceless — it is a test of how we act when no one is forcing us to act one way or another.”