The Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Exactly a month ago, I received an email from the friendly people from Elated, for whom I had given up eating pigs, lambs and fish for a week. (It wasn’t that hard, actually, the price of meat being what it is.)

It was called “Letter from a Vegan World” and had been written by the animal-loving owners of the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, who run “a safe haven for rescued farm animals who have been given a second chance at life”. If you too are contemplating changing your diet into a more animal-friendly one, this is definitely a letter worth reading.

Why this letter affected me is, quite simply, this uncomfortable realisation:

Even if we as conscientious and so-called ‘compassionate’ consumers go out of our way (and pay through the nose) to buy products that carry the label ‘organic’ (sadly much abused by unscrupulous profit-seekers), such as ‘organically farmed beef’, ‘free-range chicken’, ‘grain-fed chickens’, ‘free-range eggs’, ‘hormone-free dairy products’, etc., we are still supporting an industry that is based on killing animals for human consumption.

In some ways it’s easy for us city-folk, because it all happens ‘out there in the countryside’. But if we had to go out into the Karoo to catch and slaughter the lamb we wanted to braai on the spit, I’m sure we might think twice. Or if we had to go into a pigsty and take the little pink piglets away from their mother, so that we can have bacon sizzling in the pan on a Sunday morning, we would probably choose a different menu.

Regardless of the nice-sounding terms in which we couch this, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of sentient beings every day across the world is surely not an acceptable or compassionate thing to do.

My main problem with the vegan dishes described in so cookery books is their heavy reliance on soya. Personally, I dislike soya and tofu intensely. I don’t like their smell, taste or texture. I hate the fact that soya is genetically engineered, and that some money-grubbing multinational company is screwing with my genes. And above all, I detest the fact that it’s included in some form or other in almost every single item of food I buy. So soya and tofu are just not acceptable alternatives in my household.

The question for me is whether I feel strongly enough to give up animal products as much as possible. Being really strict and fundamentalist about this is just not practical, given that manufacturers sneak these into so many things we eat. So phasing out all forms of animal products is going to be a slow process.

But if I imagine that the beef patty, or the slice of bacon, or the soft-boiled egg come from a real, live animal with its own personality and its own life history (even if rather short and brutal), then perhaps it will become easier.

3 thoughts on “The Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

  1. I agree. Way back then when people lives in caves and lives completely different lives they had to eat meat and kill animals to survive. Even so, they used all parts of the animal and didnt kill in excess, only what they needed. Today, it’s totally different. We won’t die from starvation if we didn’t have meat. we simply like the smell of this or have become so used to crisp bacon for breakie and a hamburger on the run and what not…we don’t realise that it is not neccessary.

    I personally becaome ill if i eat meat most of the time. My body tells me when i specifically need animal protein and that’s like a small steaklet every few months really, I get my protein from milk, cheese, rice and all sorts of places we haven’t bothered to look for it. I’m healthy, I’m relatively fit and not suffering from any sort of dietary problems.

    This is certainly an argued issue and most would disagree with me, however, I’ll say it anyway…cows have specific enzymes that can properly digest grass and they get the most nutrients out of grass. If we humans tried to eat grass…well, firstly YUK and secondly it would sit in our poor stomachs and probably start rotting before our bodies could digest it and get just about no nutrients from it.

    I have a similar theory with regards to meat and humans. I don’t feel our bodies and digestive enzymes are fully cut out to digest meat. Sure, that’s what we’ve grown up with so many of us dont even question how our bodies handle the meat we feed it, but a big part of me feels like we’re just feeding the inequipped stomachs stuff that just doesn’t digest so well. We think ooooh raw carrots are full of this vitamin…oohhh red meat is full of this and so we eat it, not necessarily looking at if our bodies are equipped to breakdown this food efficiently and extract all those vitamins and good things we know are in them…

    So, I guess I just don’t see meat as a necessity or even something that really does our bodies much good. It’s really more a thing for our tastebuds in my opinion.

    I am a huge animal lover and this business of fishing, slaughtering and so on just does not sit right with me…not in our times.

  2. Please excuse the terrible spelling and grammar errors above. I was swept away by the issue and paid little attention to how I was writing 🙂

  3. Hey Cherona – You said that beautifully, with such passion and energy. This whole issue of what we as humans ‘should’ eat to cause the least lasting damage to our planet is such a big, complicated tangle. Sometimes it’s quite hard to know what to do. I think part of the problem is that most of us are really disconnected from the source of our food.

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