I Hate Wearing This Shirt

I used to eat loads of meat and dairy. I did this because I was told by traditional thinkers that as a young woman I needed these foods to grow up big, strong, and smart. I never questioned it because I assumed that this was just the proper way to eat, and all other options would leave my bones brittle and my head woozy.

When I thought about environmental issues like bad air and water quality, I never understood exactly why this deterioration was happening. I bought into a collective fog that there were good reasons and someone was working on it. I spent years hearing about the melting of the polar ice caps, feeling uncomfortable about animals in Zoo’s and Circuses, and stuffing my mouth with meat and dairy while feeling depressed and anxious and not understanding

Never once did I make the connection between animal agriculture and our changing natural environment. Animals cannot speak out like humans do when they’re abused and if they do the squeals of pain are shut behind giant metal doors both physical and metaphorical.

I’m wearing a shirt right now that says “I support Animal Rights.” On occasion I decide to wear it out in public to stir up some conversation. I never get negative responses, but rather just positive ones filled with a bit of ignorance. For Example: “Oh I love your shirt, I support Animal Rights too; I adopted a dog the other day instead of just buying a new pup.”

Then it begins: Oh, I’m sorry did my shirt read I support Dog Rights or does it say Animal Rights? I’m not surprised that you are unaware of the plight of all animals on our planet, especially those we think of as food and not pets (if they don’t turn and walk away I continue.) Think about it, as a society we sit our children down to watch “Chicken Run” (a whole movie based on the chickens fear of death) with a plate of cooked meat right in front of them; separating them from the reality of how our meat is brought to our plate VS having them cheer on the chickens that try to escape the clutches of the human beings.

This disconnect didn’t leave our social construct once we got older, it only grew. Clever marketing makes us think that animals are happy to live horrible lives and then be slaughtered for our convenience. Avoiding the reality of how animals are being treated by hiding behind our ignorant belief that we must get our protein from animals helps us avoid our responsibility to these animals. This is exactly what Wall Street tells you to do. Why deviate? Why feel the pain of what you’ve contributed to? Of course you see my T-Shirt and envision a happy dog or a happy cat because no one wants to dwell on the reality of animals.

This disconnect and willful ignorance makes me very angry and I experience it every time someone comments on my shirt. We have been brainwashed for corporate greed and it is killing our natural world and forcing animals to live in misery. If you can love a cat or a dog and protect it with all your might, welcome it in to your family! How can you sit at your table and eat another one?

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