Monday, 7 April 2008

Ready meals

Last night I watched a tv show about the success of ready meals. It was quite fascinating. I, like many others I imagine, had not given much thought to how a ready meal is put together. I do not eat ready meals now but in the UK I occasionally bought one of if I was in a hurry or couldn't be bothered to cook. You know the type of food I mean, you can find them in any supermarket, either refrigerated or frozen, perhaps rice on one side and a curry on the other. There are countless variations but the principles are the same.

The programme showed a successful factory which produced millions of these meals for big name supermarkets. Let me describe the scene. The staff in wellington boots, hair in a blue plastic net and blue plastic gloves. Huge tubes filled with ingredients, already cooked, the press of a button and a certain amount spits out the bottom into a tray. Next a bucket of hacked up chicken, a blue hand reaches in and pulls out the desired amount and it is thrown in another section of the tray. Next another tube full of a coloured sauce squirts down over the meat. Another hand squashes all the food down into the sections and the package is put on a conveyer belt to be vacuum packed. All very clinical and extremely unappetising!

What hit me most was the vats of meat. I cannot imagine how many carcasses made up those vats and buckets. Just lumps and lumps of flesh being thrown about by human hands with no regard for what that animal used to be, what it felt during it's probably short and uncomfortable life, what pain it experienced whilst being killed or whether the animals deserve to be slaughtered and hacked up just for a lazy human with no conscious thought about the processes involved to sit and shove a ready meal in his or her face. Am I angry. Yes, I'm angry. Each day I become more angry about meat eating.

I still get asked on a regular basis why I am a vegan and it is always the case people don't really want to know the answer. I started responding really politely saying it is a personal choice and that it feels the right thing to do for me but now I want to answer more strongly and tell people exactly why, down to the last detail, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them feel. I want to tell people exactly how much suffering animals go through just so they can eat a bacon sandwich, I want to tell them the pain of a cow suffering bout after bout of mastitis until she can no longer produce milk and is killed, I want to tell them how pigs are dropped into vats of boiling water, often still conscious so that their skin can be softened for them to eat, I want to tell them how chickens trapped in barns start to go insane and peck each other eyes out, I want to tell them that when fish are brought up from the depths their eyes often pop whilst they are still alive, I want to tell them that calves are slaughtered for an enzyme in their stomachs that makes cheese taste better, I want to tell them that when i watch them eat meat I feel sick thinking that they are eating the flesh of an animal which had no choices in life, was denied any pleasure of living, that was not allowed to form a bond with its parents, that was not allowed any emotional attachment, that was treated as a nothing, a thing lacking intellegance and therefore denied any basic rights. Am I emotional? Yes I am emotional and I am proud of that.

Til next time, please think about your choices.


Anonymous said...

wow, this is a really evocative post... the planet needs more people like you...

30 Minute Mommy said...

Thank you! I am vegan- but sadly mu family does not see things my way. I run in to a lot of people who are confused about my choices. They choose to turn their heads to this animal cruelty! I wish more people were like you.

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