It is the Year of the Pig. Saturday evening was Chinese New Year's Eve, which meant that I would go home to grandma's for a big family dinner. I had been dreading this evening for sometime because my grandmother had mentioned about a week ago that the highlight of the dinner would be roasted suckling pig, which she had already put her order in- the Chinese love their whole roasted piglet for the holidays. Thankfully, grandma knows that I do not partake in the flesh and modified some special dishes of her sticky rice with mushrooms & cashews instead of chinese sausage & dried shrimp. I also ordered some smoked seitan and also mango protein nuggets from Gobo's to complete my feast.
Well, see the picture of the poor little creature, flesh roasted to a crisp, sitting on a tray, waiting to be carved up amidst some glutinous chinese sweet cake shaped as ancient chinese gold ingots which represent the prosperity of the coming year. Sadly, there was nothing good for this little pig and thousands of other factory pigs in the new year.
The piglet image is a bit disturbing, especially since the charred skin and flesh seems like it could be human flesh. I wondered if people would still eat pork or meat for that matter if the animal was always served in it's entirety. If you wanted to have that piece of ham or pork medallion and you would have to carve up that fleshy roast with that crisp head staring at you the whole time, would you still gleefully dig in and relish every bite?
If people gave their food a bit more thought and actually recognize what they are eating and what that animal had to suffer through so one could have some roast pork, I think they would choose to go vegan, well- at least vegetarian. Most people compartmentalize their food so they don't have to have a conscience. That's why meat is called meat instead of cooked flesh. As a teenager, I recall having a moment where I began to think about where my hamburger came from, but I was enjoying it so much that I shut off that thinking and turned a blind eye, so I could kept eating. I was a meat- eater for most of my life, so I know what's it's like to have that craving for meat. However, after becoming more educated about factory farmed animals and their suffering, I no longer have cravings for meat. If anything, now I look upon meat with sadness & disgust. Everyone should try to wean themselves off meat and if you must eat meat, at least make sure that it's organic or free-range.
Meat production and the eating of meat should disturb our collective conscience with it's moral implications, but also it should sound an alarm with it's heavy consequences on the environment. Last year there was a UN Report about livestock production contributing to more greenhouse gas emissions then the transportation sector. That's a crazy fact.
Those who care about the environment and consider themselves environmentalists should stop eating meat or at least try with the same intensity they apply to using alternative fuel sources, hybrid cars, fluorescent bulbs, energy efficient appliances and recycling. Going vegan can make a positive difference for all- for your own health, for the animals and for the earth.
I welcome the New Year with the following mantra:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.