Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eating Meat and Mental Illness

At least one in four people in the US is experiencing some kind of mental illness, i.e. depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the number were actually much higher.
We are what we eat. And what is the USA eating? Largely it's factory farm veggies with diminished nutritional value and meat. Lots and lots of meat. Hundreds of millions of chickens, pigs, and cattle fed the ground up bodies of other chickens, pigs, and cattle. That's how we got Mad Cow Disease. But I'm willing to bet we're getting even more.
These animals aren't living happy lives. And that is an understatement. Mother sows having their infants pulled away and left to gnaw on the bars of cages too narrow to turn around in. Have you ever smelled a hog farm? Imagine 20,000 hogs raised in an indoor facility of wall-to-wall hogs with a lagoon of hog waste right outside that drains into the local creek. It's Dante's inferno brought to the animal world.
Years ago I worked on a chicken factory. Tiny cages, big chickens. I also worked for a mid-western farmer who fattened cattle with corn and di-ethylstilbestrol, the female growth hormone (a known cancer-causing agent) outlawed but still in prominent use throughout the meat industry.  The animals have more of an idea of what's going on than most people realize. They know they're in a tortuous prison awaiting a death sentence. And their suffering is real.
Neuro-science has established that memories aren't just stored in the brain. In fact, our memories are stored in the tissues of our bodies. It would follow then that the nervous systems of animals are the same.
The implications here are obvious. Eating the slaughtered remains of animals that have known suffering their entire lives is nothing short of ingesting that suffering on a cellular level.
Now I'm sure there are numerous reasons for the suffering of the American people. It's a neurotic, materialistic, compassionless society we inhabit. But it's blatantly obvious that this kind of suffering is neither necessary for nutritional nor health reasons. We don't need to eat meat to survive. We can enjoy vegan and vegetarian cuisine. And in the process many of us will discover amazing capacities within ourselves. And that can only lead to a better world for ourselves and the animals we share it with.

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