I watched Blackfish a couple of weeks ago and to say it had an impact on me was an understatement. I actually chose to watch it after seeing a few bloggers had been visiting and promoting SeaWorld, something which I knew I wouldn’t do but wanted to find out a little bit more about it all.
I’ve never described myself as an animal person and don’t have any pets, nor did I have any growing up. I don’t really like being close to animals and my idea of hell would be working with them so because of that I’ve never really spent an awful lot of time thinking about them, the only time I tend to is after I’ve watched a television show or film about how a lot of them are treated. I can’t stand dogs (sorry to all the dog lovers out there, I know there are lots of you!) but watching a show about anything bad happening to them will make me cry in an instant, so to watch a documentary about whales being treated so badly really got me thinking about how our planet treats animals as a whole.
I’ve also started asking questions and looking into things that honestly hadn’t occurred to me before. For starters it’s made me question how I feel about zoos, I know they are different from SeaWorld in that they actually care about the animals and aren’t just trying to make them do tricks like they are in a circus but is a lion stuck in a small enclosure really any better than a whale stuck in a swimming pool?
Next it got me thinking about the dairy industry. I stopped eating dairy a couple of months ago for health reasons, I wasn’t even aware of the moral side when I cut it out. I think the reason it affects me so much is because I’m a mum and the thought of cows being artificially inseminated once a year then having their babies taken off them so they can be milked constantly just feels so wrong to me. I’ve always bought organic dairy products for the kids just assuming they were better but they aren’t really. I mean it sounds like the cows have a slightly better life but the fact remains they have to be made repeatedly pregnant in order to produce the milk everyone is so desperate for. I personally feel now that supporting the dairy industry is actually worse than killing animals for meat, or at least on an equal level with. Mainly because some of the cows probably have such awful lives that it would almost be more humane to just slaughter them. We are essentially stealing the breast milk from another species to feed our own, our own being one that thinks feeding babies the breast milk designed for us is disgusting and wrong?!!
Can you imagine if another species came to our planet and started doing to women what we do to cows?!
I’m not writing this blog post to be all preachy, I mean I have a leather jacket upstairs in my wardrobe and I’ve eaten dairy for most of my life without stopping to think about where it was coming from. I think it’s just about small changes and being aware, there are so many different milks out there these days that we really don’t need to be using cow’s milk as much as we do. We have a whole range in our house, almond, coconut and even the chocolate oat milk which tastes better than any cow’s milkshake.
If every family made a few small changes then that would have a massive impact on the agriculture and dairy industry. It’s our greed that has led to things being this way. I know not everyone can be completely vegan, it’s not even something we are going to do right now. I think we will still eat eggs but I want to make sure they are coming from organic farms where I know the chickens aren’t all crammed into a cage. I also think we will still eat meat occasionally but again it will come from organic farm shops where I feel the animals have been treated well, if that is even possible.
It’s so easy in life to feel passionately about things then slowly forget and part of me is worried that this is what will happen with this but I don’t want it too so I’ve joined lots of groups on Facebook to help remind me why I feel so strongly about it. I’ve explained it to Cherry and she couldn’t believe it worked like that, she said she didn’t want to buy cow’s milk anymore without any hesitation. In the same way she couldn’t understand why people couldn’t go and see the whales in the ocean instead of capturing them when I showed her photos of SeaWorld. Kids see things in such a simple way.
It’s so easy to switch off to animal rights, I know I used to, but as a nation of pet lovers (myself not included obviously 😉 ) it seems crazy to love and treat certain animals so well when others are being treated so badly. I think if you had your own cows and they had babies they were feeding then maybe milking them for a little bit of that milk occasionally wouldn’t be so bad but the demand is just too high.
I guess the main thing I’ve learnt from all of this is to look into things a bit more, so much is hidden from us when we go to supermarkets to buy our food, and likewise when we go to high street shops to buy cheap clothes. In fact I could now go on to talk about an entirely different issue regarding our planet and the way it’s beign destroyed but I will leave it there for today.
There is so much to care about that sometimes it feels easier to ignore it all, that’s what I used to do, but I guess it’s better to find something to feel passionately about and focus on than nothing at all. I love watching documentaries like the ones above because they make me feel like I can make a difference in some way. We all can.