My desire to see change began when I started researching the food I was eating through documentaries, such as Food Inc and Earthlings. I was living in a small Eastern Europe country at the time, away from the American food industry, but still deeply affected by what I saw. I knew that when I returned to the States, I would change the way I ate. I started my journey in Europe by (occasionally) buying fresh meat available in town, not making meat the focus of the meal, and eating seasonally and locally.
What these movies mentioned – almost as a side note – was that humans were also being mistreated. The focus was almost entirely on cruel living conditions for animals. The fact that sharecroppers were being mistreated and taken advantage of was included, but certainly not emphasized.
Of course, it caught my attention. As someone already supportive of groups like IJM and Love 146, I already pay attention to this cause. What I hadn’t realized though was that the American food industry wasn’t just abusing animals, but it was also mistreating HUMANS.
I know that many people are passionate about fighting animal cruelty and making sure animals have rights. But how can I begin to spend myself on behalf of animals when there are humans who are being treated just as badly? Will I just stand by while humans are suffering so that I can eat tomatoes in the middle of winter?
I am on this journey to learn more about what’s happening in my country and how I can be part of a movement to change. I’m not interested in politics, though I know significant change needs to happen in Washington for our food industry to change. What I am interested in is fighting this battle the best that I can, where I am. Right now, this means educating myself and others, and making changes in my life. In short: putting my beliefs into action.
And you? Will you join me?
Today’s practical tip is to watch the two movies I referenced in the beginning.
1. Earthlings is a free documentary available online about animal treatment. Some of it is a bit graphic.
2. Food Inc is based on a book by Michael Pollen. I would recommend the book as well, though the documentary has footage of workers, which is helpful to see, as it reminds us that workers’ rights is a real issue.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the two documentaries. Do you find anything unsettling? After watching them, is there anything you want to change about your eating habits? Think of how you can practically put this into effect this week. (Example: Instead of eating meat for dinner 5x this week, I will learn how to make one new vegetarian meal.)