The greatest danger to our future is apathy. ― Jane Goodall

I admit it. Apathy was clearly demonstrated in my complete lack of knowledge and understanding around farming practices. Looking back now, I realize I had my head in the sand.

While meat was never the first thing I put into my shopping cart, up until 2011, I did eat meat when I was dinning out or when I had guests for dinner. I made the decision to stop eating meat because, after all, I’m an animal lover and the thought of eating the flesh of an animal was distasteful.

About a year after this decision, after reading content from animal rights organizations on social media and doing a bit of my own online research, my eyes were opened to the horrors of factory farming. I quickly got my head out of the sand and I decided to cut out dairy and commercially produced eggs. Did I become a vegan? Not exactly. My claim is that I don’t want any animal to suffer in order to fill my belly. I still enjoy locally sourced raw unpasteurized honey; beekeepers know the value of bees and work hard to ensure thriving hives.

From Wikipedia:
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.

Vegans don’t wear leather, fur or pearls nor do they furnish their homes with leather furniture. That’s true for me, for the most part, although being a jewellery maker in my spare time, I’ve yet to surrender the pearls.

Recently, I heard of an extreme interpretation that extended to only eating windfall fruits. In other words, actually picking fruit from trees, according to this vegan, is not considered to be true veganism. I don’t agree with that, however, I have also chosen to eliminate some non-animal products because they fall under the ‘cruelty to animals’ umbrella, most specifically, palm oil. In Indonesia and Malaysia, where 85% of palm oil is from, palm oil cultivation is done in an unsustainable way, uses child labour, is destroying the rainforests and, as a consequence, has resulted in the loss of habitat for many species. I now read labels even more carefully than before because palm oil seems to be added to a lot of products including dishwashing liquid. They don’t call it Palmolive for nothing.

To read more about this threat, please click here. Also, the following resources will help you choose alternatives to palm oil as well as provide a list of palm oil free products:

Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent? Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated with so little respect and kindness just to make more meat. ― Jane Goodall

My decision to go cruelty-free was cemented in June of 2014 after a video was released by Mercy for Animals showing horrific abuse taking place at Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. here in Canada. The image of these abusive acts perpetrated by employees of this dairy farm will be forever seared into my mind. One can’t ‘un-see’ or forget about this type of horror and for that reason I chose not to watch the full-length feature, also exposed by Mercy for Animals, around the abuse in the Canadian pork transportation industry. (You can read about it here.) It’s mind-boggling to me that the people working in the farm industry in any capacity, whether directly on the farms or transporting the livestock, can have so little regard for the animals that are indeed providing them with a living.

The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. ― Jane Goodall

Cruelty-free living is one small way we can all speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.