It was never something I had considered in the prepubescent years of my life. Meat was never synonymous with murder to little Kalena. It was a meal. I never associated the McDonalds chicken nuggets with pain and torture. Mom and dad said it was okay. If mom, dad, my brother, my grandparents, my friends, and nearly everyone I was exposed to in media were all consuming meat, how could it be unethical or simpler put for ten year old Kalena: wrong?
Up until I was probably nine or ten, the word “abuse” wasn’t even in my vocabulary. The overly enthusiastic characachures on the fast food bags were designed to make kids feel a certain way about what they were eating. The hypocrisy of staring into the eyes of a happy cartoon fish on the “Rubios” kids-meal bag while eating a fish taco was hardly noticed and definitely not studied by me.
My first introduction to what I didn’t know then would kick start my road to activism was around March 2014. I was sitting on the couch, probably binge watching “Pretty Little Liars” or “Switched at Birth” when my mom walked by, mentioning something about a documentary she watched about SeaWorld. It immediately sparked my interest, seeing as I had visited that place countless times as a kid and I was familiar with its attractions. I decided to watch the documentary titled “Blackfish”, and what I saw disturbed me beyond measure. It finally clicked in my brain that these magnificent creatures were not at our disposal, nor for our entertainment. It was hard for me to process because it made me feel like I had unwillingly contributed to its profit and captivity of these animals. Suddenly I questioned all aspects of my life.
I don’t remember how anymore, but I somehow stumbled across PETA’s Instagram, discovering what I felt to be horrific and impossible to stomach. It began to be an everyday struggle to consume what I had considered my entire life to be harmless meals. I distinctly remember slamming down my one of my go-to meals: ribs, onto my plate and fighting to hold tears back. It was a daily routine that I would force myself to eat what I had now seen as corpses. It started to become a reality that I couldn’t ignore. My eyes had been exposed to the blatant truth and that terrified me, because I knew that nothing would ever be the same for me from there on.
It was a fairly quick decision to cut meat out of my life entirely. Luckily, I had supportive parents that (primarily my mom) were willing to let me live that lifestyle, so long as I didn’t judge them openly at the dinner table, which I admittedly can still be guilty of.
One of the greatest challenges for me which still continues to plague my thoughts every so often is :”if I see eating meat as so wrong, what does that say about those I surround myself with who eat meat?” It can be a difficult mental cross to bear because it can make me feel like I’m feeding the enemy, but at the end of the day everyone chooses to live differently and unfortunately I cannot force anyone to be vegan. All I can do is be sure to inform those who choose to be blind to a sad yet desperate reality.
I expected to be ridiculed by many people, and I was. It wasn’t until I made my commitment to veganism that I experienced true lash back and hatred from meat-eaters. Earlier this year I decided to stop being a hypocrite and made the jump to full veganism. I was an avid ice cream eater and milkshake lover. I never considered becoming vegan until early 2016. I never saw eating eggs or dairy to be harmful, until I chose to be informed, no matter how back-breaking the truth might be. I found that millions of chicks are ripped away from their mothers and ground alive everyday, simply because they are male. For the females, they are born into a life of cruelty, where they will continue the same torturous paths as their mothers. The phrase “cage free eggs” is redundant and propaganda. Read more here: http://hatchery.mercyforanimals.org/
As for dairy cows, their lives aren’t any easier. The milk humans drink does not belong to them. When you drink milk, you are drinking someone else’s milk, someone who needed it to grow. Cows are mammals, which means they produce milk for the same reasons as humans! In order for a cow to make milk, she needs to be nursing. Most female cows are Artificially Inseminated: “a medical process in which semen is used to make a woman or female animal pregnant without sexual intercourse”. This sexual violation is to ensure that they produce milk for us humans to enjoy. Calves on dairy farms are taken from their mothers and fed milk alternatives. Male calves are usually used for veal and the females live the same labor intensive, unfair lives as their mothers. Read more: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/animals-used-food-factsheets/cows-milk-cruel-unhealthy-product/
I am constantly being interrogated and judged for fighting for a cause that I believe in and that I am extremely passionate about. I try to ignore the background noise of teenage boys taunting me, because I know that I’m doing something to try to make a change, and that scares them.
These undeniable and daunting truths shocked me more than anything I had ever found out about the meat and dairy industry, because I made the connection that an animal does not need to be killed in order for it to be wrongfully treated.
AN END NOTE:
The empathy I posses for these living creatures that I see as no lesser than us human beings is too strong for me not to speak up. I am not trying to offend anyone nor have I ever, but I do want to make people uncomfortable with their carnivorous ways. It is unethical, damaging our environment:http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/how-does-eating-meat-harm-the-environment/ , hurting our bodies and murdering millions upon millions of animals all for the pleasure of our taste buds and the profit of large corporations and the meat and dairy industry.
💡AMAZING ARTICLES/ MAKEUP BRANDS/DOCUMENTARIES/PEOPLE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE CHANGE💡:
PHYSICIANS FORMULA: http://www.physiciansformula.com/en-us/default.html
“Forks over Knives” (2011)
THE VEGAN COUPLE: https://www.youtube.com/user/MoveMeYoga/videos