There are 3 main reasons why I decided to eliminate animal products from my diet. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it took place over 2 years (although at the beginning I didn’t know where it would end).
1: The ethical dimension
It started with beef. I stopped eating beef when I read about the link between red meat and heart disease (a false flag, by the way – all meat is linked to heart disease, but more on that later), and after finding out about the factory farms where cows are reared. I watched videos like this one:
This video shows a cannulated cow, a cow with a hole in its side. The hole allows direct access into the stomach so that the healthy bacteria from a grass fed cow’s stomach can be ‘harvested’ and given to grain fed cows to aid digestion. Standard operating procedure at factory farms.
I was in shock. From that day I could not bring myself to eat beef; I had zero desire for it. I continued to eat chicken, fish and other seafood. I especially loved prawns.
At some point I learned that nearly all the chicken we eat is imported, and I tried to find out what goes into rearing chicken, so I could determine whether the imported chicken was safe to eat. But then I found out how chickens are raised, and the level of trauma they are put through completely put me off chicken. Documentaries like this showed me what a conventional chicken ‘farm’ looks like:
At first I thought “Nigerian chicken can’t be raised like this, Nigerian chicken is free range. All I have to do is find Nigerian chicken.” Then I saw a video showing the conditions in one of the largest poultry farms in Nigeria:
These conditions were standard in Nigeria too! So where was the organic chicken? I tried researching organic livestock rearing practices, with a mind to start my own poultry, just so I could be sure of what I was eating. I saw a ray of hope in Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms:
Pigs roaming the fields, free range chickens, happy animals. And he was making profit! Demand was so high he could hardly keep up. I was ecstatic. Maybe I could start a free range chicken farm? I eagerly went through several Youtube videos about Polyface Farms. And then I watched this one:
Something didn’t sit right with me after that. You take animals that have been treated well and given a good life, animals with families, animals that have formed friendships with you, and suddenly have their necks slit and left to drain their blood out hanging upside down? Just so someone can eat chicken wings? It all seemed very barbaric when I was directly confronted with it. Somehow I hadn’t really thought about the killing part of eating meat before. I couldn’t see myself slaughtering these animals, or asking someone else to do it for me. End of poultry farm idea. I still ate chicken at this point, but sparingly. I was nearly pescatarian.
Next I explored the potential of fish and shrimp farming. I loved loved loved shrimp. And since most of the shrimp I saw in the shops was imported, it made sense that it would be profitable to get into the market. So I did some research and discovered that fish and other ‘seafood’ are some of the most abused animals on the planet.
Fish are routinely cramped into ponds so small and dirty that they are guaranteed to get sick. So they are routinely fed drugs to keep them alive and fatten them up. (A lot of our fresh fish comes from these ponds.)
Shrimp farms have a similarly miserable story. In shrimp farms illegal veterinary antibiotics are routinely fed to them to stave off disease. These drugs are known to cause various ailments, such as liver tumours. (This is the frozen shrimp we buy in the market.)
Seafood caught in open water are no better. They are caught using monstrous machines that suck in huge amounts of water and all marine life in it, including dolphins and turtles. These animals are killed and discarded like trash. For every pound of fish caught, 5 pounds of other marine life are wasted. In 2011 a group of some of the top ocean experts in the world declared that effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and oxygen depletion have already triggered a “phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”. (These monstrous ships which are causing mass extinction through overfishing is where the imported frozen fish in Nigerian markets comes from.)
Ah. Fish farming not an option then. I started questioning my pescatarian diet. But which protein would I now eat?
At this point I was exhausted. But I was hungry for truth and so continued my research.