4 Thought-Provoking Reasons I Went Cruelty-Free
Dear animal lover,
Stick around for the freebie at the end!
In the post When Can Healthy Eating and Exercise Be Dangerous?, I mentioned that a few years ago I went vegetarian/vegan, this post will give a bit more insight into why I made this choice.
A quick statement, I want to tread lightly in this post.
I know that this can be a sensitive subject and that everyone has different opinions. You have yours, and I have mine, I am writing this post to give my opinions. I respect that others do not think the way I do and I ask for the same respect.
Okay, I wanted to address the title of this post; I used the words "cruelty-free" as opposed to "vegan" for a few reasons. One is that, to me, "cruelty-free" is an action, a way I am trying to live my life and "vegan" is another label, and do I really need another label?! And why must we label everything? Second, again, at least for me, I have found a lot of judgment in the label of "vegan." People try and gauge on how "pure" a vegan is and catch them in an instance of not being a "100% perfect" vegan. This same concept happens to Christians too, people try and find Christians living imperfect lives. Let me just say, that I am not perfect and do not claim to be, I am a sinner and am in need of my Savior Jesus Christ! Regarding living a vegetarian/vegan or cruelty-free life, I think Colleen Patrick-Goudreau puts it well
"Being vegan is about creating compassion and not creating harm whenever it's practical and possible to do so" (2013).
Okay, on to why I made the choice of living this lifestyle. I think cruelty-free is just another manifestation of living a life according to what I value and
I value life, all life because God created life. ~ Colossians 1:16
And yes, many times in the Bible God says that people can eat meat and even provides them with meat. However, these instances were all after the first sin. Originally, God gave Adam and Eve and all the animals "every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction” ~ Genesis 2:16. There is no condemnation in Christ. The Apostle Paul states that all things are lawful, but not all things are advantageous. To me, it is not advantageous to use animals for fashion, science and cosmetic testing, entertainment, or food. I will explain more of why momentarily. I want to add one important statement; I know that my choice to live cruelty-free is a result of my privilege. I am fortunate enough to live where I can access many commodities that do not contain animal products. For many people, however, there is a significant food access barrier. Living cruelty-free is not a realistic option for everyone. But for me it is.
So now I bet you are thinking, "get to the point!" I will; I just needed to provide some context first. Without getting graphic, I will briefly mention four thought-provoking reasons why I went cruelty-free. I will also provide some additional resources if you want to find out more.
Animal Have Sentience
What is sentience? Well according to Merriam-Webster,
"You may have guessed that sentient has something to do with the senses. The initial spelling sent- or sens- is often a giveaway for such a meaning. A sentient being is one who perceives and responds to sensations of whatever kind - sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell. Sentient ultimately comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means "to feel" and is related to the noun sensus, meaning "feeling" or "sense" (2017).
Scientists have found that at least for vertebrate species, animals are sentient beings, just as humans are (Proctor 2012). Science has also found through various studies and results that, "These results indicated that their [animals] attention levels were impacted by their experience of pain" (2012). It is undebatable that animals can feel pain and can experience emotions including fear, generosity, empathy, optimism and pessimism, and pleasure and happiness (2012).
Okay, so animals can feel pain. This comes to my next thought-provoking reason.
Laws and Regulations on Animal Welfare Don't Adequately Protect Animals from Pain and Suffering
One would think that, due to the overwhelming evidence that animals are sentient, that there would be strict humane animal treatment legislation. This is not the case, however, "Unfortunately, however, there are still many industries and practices that cause immense suffering to animals, and legislation safeguarding animal welfare is still not universal" (Proctor 2012).
Much of the legislation to protect animals is subject to major exemptions and calls that "animal pain and distress are minimized" unless the animals' suffering is "necessary" or "justified" (USDA 2013). I personally do not know when purposefully inflicting pain and distress on a sentient being would ever be justified. I am not going to go into more animal law because there is a lot of information to cover. I will link further information about the animal law and the history of animal law here.
Last, I just want to point out that there is little enforcement provisions or oversight regarding the animal welfare laws. This lack of monitoring and high worker turnover often lead to untrained workers, faulty equipment, ineffective processes, and brutality at many factory farms and fur farms. Also, after an undercover investigation into the Hallmark-Westland Meatpacking Company, "ag-gag" laws were introduced to criminalizes investigations into slaughterhouses. Learn more about "ag gag laws" here.
There Isn't a Nutritional Need for Animal Products
Let me sum this up quickly with a statement from the American Dietetic Association,
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes" (Craig, Mangels 2009).
My Christian Beliefs Can't Reconcile the Horrific and Cruel Treatment of Animals
After learning about animals in factory and fur farming, science, entertainment, and in the fashion industry, I can't justifiably continue to be a part of the cruelty.
All creatures were created by God and humans were given dominion. God also calls us to "clothe yourselves in tenderhearted mercy, kindness . . ." ~ Colossians 3:12. Does dominion over animals mean that we can abuse them? Think about the story of Israelite Balaam who beat his donkey.
“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” ~ Psalm 150:6.
I believe in the value of life, all life because we are all God's creatures.
Again, these are my own thoughts and opinions, and I am happy to share them. I know that some animals raised on small family farms are treated humanely, and some people choose only to eat or wear animals raised in such conditions, Will I? No, I have no need too, I have access to other options that are not animal based.
Also, if you are interested in living a more cruelty-free lifestyle, it isn't as hard as it may seem. "Don't do nothing because you can't do everything, Do something. Anything" (2013 Patrick-Goudreau). As a bonus to this post, if you sign up for my email list you can download my free "Easy and Cruelty-Free Recipies" PDF!
Some of these recipes contain specialty ingredients. I tried to keep these at a minimum. Below are links to purchase these specialty ingredients found in the recipes, and they are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. These are products that I have used first hand and that I fully believe in and support. If you choose to use the affiliate links, I will receive a small commission. My posts are not in any way sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.
Additionally, numerous different companies sell similar products to the ones I linked to. You do not have to use the exact brand or product I linked to make these recipes.
Yours Truly, LeNae
P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my exclusive monthly newsletter and gain access to the Members area which includes free resources! Also, let's be dear friends. Follow me on all my social media. Leave a comment below; I'd love to hear from you.
I was going to include many additional articles to read, but this post is considerably longer than I intended. And I am sure if you have made it to the end you probably don't want to read anything more for the rest of the day! So I am just going to include a list of some documentaries. You can always find plenty of reading material online and also look at my reference list.
Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). November 2013. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/Animal%20Care%20Blue%20Book%20-%202013%20-%20FINAL.pdf
Craig, Winston J., and Ann Reed Mangels. "Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109, no. 7 (2009): 1266-1282.
Favre, David. Overview of U.S. Animal Welfare Act. Michigan State University College of Law. 2002. https://www.animallaw.info/article/overview-us-animal-welfare-act.
Fitzgerald, Amy J. A Social History of the Slaughterhouse:
From Inception to Contemporary Implications. Human Ecology Review. 2010;17(1). http://www.humanecologyreview.org/pastissues/her171/Fitzgerald.pdf.
Merriam-Webster. Definition of sentient. 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sentient
National Anti-Vivisection Society. Failure of Laws and Regulations to Protect Animals. 2017. http://www.navs.org/the-issues/failure-of-laws-and-regulations-to-protect-animals/#.WMCeuRiZP-Z.
Patrick-Goudreau, Colleen. On Being Vegan. 2013. Montali Press.
Proctor H. Animal Sentience: Where are We and Where are We Heading? Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI. 2012;2(4):628-639. doi:10.3390/ani2040628.