I read this cute story recently about a love affair between a turkey and a peacock! Apparently a turkey on a farm in Scotland caught the eye of a pet peacock, and when the farmer saw the attachment between them, he decided not to slaughter her, but to let her stay and live happily ever after with her peacock boyfriend. You can read the full story here. That is very touching, but I can't help feeling sorry for all the other turkeys on the farm, who were not so lucky, who are all going to end up on dinner plates at some point.
This story reminded me of my childhood and the values I was brought up with. I have been reflecting recently that the reason I am vegan is that I realised some time ago that a lot of what I was brought up to believe was wrong. I imagine that many people come to this realisation at some point in their lives, if they are intelligent and open-minded and question everything. I was raised in a traditional meat-eating family, just as I guess that most of you were, and naturally I did not see anything wrong with eating and using animals, I thought it was the natural way of things. It took me until I was well into adult life to make the connection with the food on my plate and the suffering caused to countless other creatures in the world by humans.
When I was a child for about the first 9 years of my life we lived in a big house in the country in the South of England with a very large garden, which my parents put to good use, by growing a lot of their own fruit and veg and also keeping a lot of chickens, geese and, at one point, a couple of lambs. We had the traditional domestic pets of a cat and dog as well, so I was always surrounded by animals right from the start, which was where my deep love of them began. Some of the geese and chickens we kept we became very attached to, if we had reared them ourselves, and they became pets, they were always protected.
Naturally we got a lot of eggs from the chickens and geese which we both ate and sold, and we often ate the birds too. I remember that when my mother was going to kill a chicken for dinner, she couldn't stomach doing it herself, so she used to take one round to the neighbour, who would wring its neck. That does seem rather hypocritical to me now actually (sorry Mum!) I didn't understand why we had to kill them.
“Why Mum? Why are we killing the hens? Why can't we let them live?”
“We are killing them to eat them, so it's perfectly all right. It's not cruel.”
Oh, OK. I was only about 6 or 7 years old at the time, so I just accepted it, it had to be. The animals were “giving” their lives to feed us, that is what I was brainwashed to believe, and obviously my Mum genuinely thought the same thing. When we got the lambs, I loved playing with them, they were so cute, but they were soon sent off for slaughter, they came back as lamb chops and we ate them, and it did bother me a bit, but my parents once again assured me that it was all perfectly OK and normal.
Going back to the turkey and peacock story, the farmer was moved by the obvious love between them, and so wanted to spare the turkey's life. If only everyone could see this, that all other creatures have feelings and can experience love like humans, then I am sure they couldn't bear to kill and eat them, and maybe then we would have a worldwide vegan revolution!
Hope you liked this blog. Your votes and comments are always appreciated.
PS The picture is of me with my new baby nephew George, taken earlier this year.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)