Monday, July 23, 2012

Introspection and my 1st question.

The endorphins are gone and I'm not just bored, I'm getting introspective. That's a worry as my rabbit hole can be rather cavernous. 

First, let me apologise if I've been leaving snarky snarkier than usual comments at your blog or even [gulp] sermonising. I tried to stay away from my google reader for a few days but finally got tired of talking to myself and to Georgia.

I've kept away from posting too because frankly, I have
I knew this sign, taken outside one of our local hardware stores, would come in handy one day. The old man has a message for us every day. These ones are from a long time ago since I haven't been out walking lately.


Here's a report for all the lovely people who've been checking up on me. [Even the ones who called me lazy. Really, some people can be so rude.]  :) 

I met up with my surgeon last Tuesday. He's happy with my progress, as am I! 
I was left to remove the plasters myself, a simple enough task. But these last bits were super sticky and I was too cowardly to peel them off. They finally fell off this morning.
Looking very good, if I say so myself.

The Person In Charge Of Stinky Knees has been incredibly kind to me. Thanks to a cancellation, I was able to meet up with the physiotherapist last Wednesday and am now doing more rehab exercises. The best news! I can now walk normally [though with caution] down the stairs!


It's Be [or is it Blog?] The Change for Animals week in the dogblog park. I was going to give it a pass. I'm not good awful at bloghops and doing group stuff. But for some reason, I can't get this one out of my head. Probably because I'm bored, feeling introspective, and have a lot of questions when it comes to animals and their welfare, and not too many answers.

So here's what I've decided to do. I'm going to pose a few questions over the week that have always bugged me. They won't be about any animal causes. They'll be more like a chart of my personal journey.

I'm going to include some interesting reading I've done. It won't be deep, well thought out research, just some googling. Of course, I hope you'll give me your wisdom on the subject. 

Here's my 1st question.

Can we really call ourselves animal lovers if we eat meat?

[I'm giving you some space here to think about it.]



The tulip magnolia tree outside the study window is looking lovely today.




Here's where I'm at.

I love animals but I'm not vegetarian. I don't think I ever could be. I crave my crispy double-smoked bacon and slow barbecued ribs too much. Meat constitutes about 1/4 to 1/3 of our current diet [mostly white and seafood], yet I feel guilty [and I know The Other Half does too. The Dog pshaws at such absurdity.]

What's my excuse for this double standard? I believe in the food chain. 

Can I at least lessen my karmic burden? I hope so.

Here are some simple things I believe I can and should do.

When shopping for food or eating out -

+  Choose free range. For the longest time, this was hard for me to do, as the cost of anything free range here can be prohibitive. But I've since learnt to buy and eat less, which is not a bad thing.

+  Don't just go for the canned tuna on offer. Jordan and Rufus ate tuna regularly and that's exactly what I used to do. Just as well it doesn't agree with Georgia's tummy. Here's a ranking for brands commonly found on Australian shelves. 

+  Stop eating pate foie gras and other food that is produced in dubious ways.

+ Do not eat caviar, yellow fin tuna, swordfish, orange roughy and other overfished or endangered fish. Want to know if your favourite eating fish falls in this category? Check out this helpful guide. 

+ Always read labels and try to make informed choices. Here are 2 useful guides for anyone reading this in Australia. I've learnt that my eggs are OK!
Animal Welfare Labels
Ethical Consumer Guide

I'm sure there are heaps more ideas you could add to that list. I'm learning as I go.
I'll never be a Jain, but I can do better than what I'm doing today.


Interesting titbit. 

The most fundamental value of Jainism is nonviolence, or ahimsa. This word is usually found on the Jain symbol of the open palm (which means "stop"). Ahimsa is the first of the vows taken by both Jain householders and monks. Ahimsa means harming no living being as well as protecting all living beings from harm. 

While several religions practice nonviolence and peace as a fundamental principle, Jainism is unique in extending this principle to all jivas (living beings). For Jains, living beings include not only humans and animals, but everything one finds on earth. Ahimsa must therefore be extended not only to humans and animals, but also soil, sand, oceans, fires, insects, microbes and plants.

For this reason, most Jains are not just vegetarians but "fruitarians" - they eat only fruit, nuts and milk. These foods are acceptable because they are only the by-products of the living beings and not the living beings themselves. To pull up a carrot or chop a potato would be to do violence to a living being (actually several living beings, as root vegetables are seen as multi-organic and therefore multi-souled).

This unique concept of nonviolence also explains why some Jain monks and nuns wear masks over their mouths and noses or carry whisks with which they brush chairs before sitting. To inhale or squash even a microbe would constitute violence to a living thing, resulting in unwanted karma.

As I said, the rabbit hole is cavernous.


Unknown said...

Olle says "yay, I can still have sardines!"

georgia little pea said...

A very good choice, Olle :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might feel better having say, 2 or 3 vegetarian meals a week. At least you will be cutting down. I see you have put a lot of research into it and it obviously bother's you.
Thanks for the update. Was planning on dropping a tiny lemon meringue off at your's today, then ran out of time :( Sorry
Kisses from Tara and Sammy.

georgia little pea said...

Hey Tara and Sammy,

A lemon meringue! That's vegetarian! If I could eat cake every day, I would. Kisses back X

3 doxies said...

My mum soooooo couldn;t be one of them Jain thingies cuz hers will kill a bug in a heartbeat...and well, I likes to hunt cuz I too believes in da food chain and survival of da fittest...hehehe...and I is fit obviously;)
Your knee looks really good, it don't looks swollen or nuttin' but dats just hows I is seein' it. Looks likes you has done well withs da surgery...except da whole boredom part.


Rose ~ from Oz said...

Aw g'day Typist - you're back! YAY! Impossible to believe I know, but, sometimes I have "nothing to say" either. Being a member of this Blogosphere sect doesn't allow one to be quiet for toooo long without demands for an explanation rolling in :) Demanding lot hey? But so loving too!
FANTASTIC Knee Report, um you won't be flailing those legs around for a while though - will you??? Neat knees too have to say....
Heck girl, did you have to make the first question soooo hard? It's hurting my brain, as I have super answers all jumbled in my poor old menopausal head but no means with which to put them on paper tonight.
(Perhaps after I've partaken of the simmering lamb shanks [in red wine] I'll be better able to think straight .....(chortle)
I know I will never reach that state of being - nirvana like so many aspire to in Jainism and Hinduism but, I, like you, work pretty hard at lessening my 'karmic burden', striving to strike a balance I can live in peace with, with my maker.
And on that awesome note Typist, I don't know which I like more - that tulip tree OR your divine claw-foot bathtub! ;)

georgia little pea said...

Ahhh Rose, you asked for it! Better get cracking on an answer after you've slurped down the marrow. Yum.

A balance. That's the thing, ain't it?

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Yep, a balance ....... many people never even achieve that.
Night-night Typist - sleep well.

verobirdie said...

What a beautiful knee! Glad it is improving...
I'm not a vegetarian, probably will never be, but I eat far less meat than I used to. About once a week. Or when I go out.
When I eat a steak, I don't visualize the cow behind... Maybe I'd change my mind if I did.

Patrice and Higgins said...

So glad that your knee is all healing up nicely!!

My mom tries every once in a while to go vegetarian, but it never last long. She loves ribeye steak to much.


Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

It sounds like you are on a really good and thoughtful track there. One of the groups I volunteer with (vegan outreach has a handout entitled "Even if you like meat," whose premise is that if you don't want to give up meat entirely, just cutting down is saving hundreds of lives a year!

Keep up the good work...there are certainly worse things than introspection, and overall I think our world could use a bit more of it!

Anonymous said...

I guess I subscribe to polytheism : God, Goddess, Life energy, is in EVERYTHING, and that includes tables (the quantum universe) and the air we breath. Who am I to say that one life form has more life or "sentience" then another? Buddhism is quite particular too and has a descending/ascending order of sentience, that's why vegetables are permisable food.

I guess if we humans did'nt come out with a spiritually rational or suitable belief - we'd have to learn to survive without air and be super healthy (so we dont have to kill the pesky flu bug)....

BUt of course, religion is  not the only reason why some people don't eat animals or sardined chickens.

Glad your knee is healing well. Loved your before and after pictures :)

From meat eating sister who also eats green smoothies for dinner. Hmmmm

Peggy Frezon said...

I'm so happy that your knee is improving. Keep it up.

My thinking pretty much aligns with yours on the vegetarian issue. I am also quite interested in the humane treatment of livestock, as Temple Grandin.

Susie-Belle Schnauzer said...

we love our meat, but don't ever ever eat cheapo mass farmed stuff. Our place in France is in foie gras country and I HATE the idea of it, never eat it and our French neighbours laugh at the silly sensitive English woman next door! Do I care, NON!

Love the chalk board messages by the way, very droll.


Pamela said...

Yay, great question to start off with. And it's very smart. Why do we call some animals pets and some animals meat?

I am a flexitarian who tries to eat low on the food chain. But I'm not perfect and don't always express my highest ideals.

But contemplation is a good start. I find so many meat eaters are in denial. And that's never good.

And the Jainists have me thinking too. We have a mouse problem. Neither my husband or I want to kill them. But we're struggling with keeping our food stores from getting contaminated. Any suggestions?

Glad to see your knee is looking so good. No swelling that I can tell. Good news!

georgia little pea said...

THANK YOU for all your thoughts. It's almost 1am so I'm off to bed and will reply tomorrow! Nighty night x

Jan said...

Welcome back, you were worth waiting for.

I know a lot of farmers on land and on blogs. They birth their animals, feed them, give them names, grow very fond of them and sometimes sell them or eat them. They don't think of their animals as Disney characters, just a necessary part of the food chain.

But with reluctance I will forgo eating caviar and foie gras.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear you're healing well, we all forgive you for any snappiness, can't say I've noticed any but you do get snapping rights when ill or recovering ;)

I really love this blog because there are so many little changes like those you've pointed out here, that people can do to significantly change the world of farming.

I adore animals and decided to go vegan a few years ago but now we do eat fish as I felt my body needed it and my man has a blood disorder so has to have red meat once a week. So we do our best to always choose pole and line caught sustainable fish and organic local beef.

There's definitely a lot you can do even if you do eat meat and dairy, like you say :D

Kristine said...

Love the signs. They would crack me up on a daily basis.

That is a very tough question. You don't do things half-ass, do you? It's something I have been thinking a lot about in the last year and sadly I still don't have an easy answer. I am not against eating meat but I am against a lot of the modern farming practices. It's pretty hard to justify my love of animals and my knowledge of their intelligence, while making purchases I know support said farms. It doesn't sit well with me but at the same time, I haven't been able to make any serious changes.

How's that for a wishy washy response?

Kristine said...

Oh, and glad you are doing better post-surgery! Thanks for those, uh, lovely photos.

georgia little pea said...

Good morning! I've learnt a bit from your comments. Thank you!

Kirsten - we have cut down our meat consumption a lot over the years so that's great to know.

Sister 1 - that's deeeeep. Tables too eh ;) I will have to email you on this. I believe that ALL beings are important as well, and I don't like prioritising sentience either though nature has (and Buddhism too? That's surprising but practical). BTW, that was going to be a question later on and still might be, though it's a tough concept to write about without sounding *hmmmm* mad.

Peggy - thank you for introducing me to Temple Grandin! I'm putting her link down here for anyone who'd like to read about her thoughts on humane slaughter

Pamela - eating low on the food chain is something I need to find out more about. Sardines over tuna. Sounds like sensible eating to me. Never knew it was called flexitarian!

Re: the mice. If they're getting into your food stores, what can you do? As you might remember, we have a summer rat problem. I'm more practical (hard hearted) about it. The Other Half is almost in tears every time we catch and dispose of one. We catch them in proper traps not those snap contraptions, so they remain whole and uninjured (though frightened obviously). At first, we tried relocating them (which I don't think is actually allowed here). But after doing some reading on the Internet, decided the most humane way would be to gas them which we do via the car exhaust. I'm sure some people who read this will laugh and think I'm as mad as my sister, but I always say a proper goodbye to each one. It isn't easy. Death occurs daily in the natural world, and I accept that sometimes I have to be the one wielding the hatchet. I just don't like inhumane or unnecessary killing. Good luck!

Jan - LOL no, animals are not Disney characters. Left to their own devices, they're nothing like Babe ;) I have to keep reminding The Other Half about that. He has dreams of owning an idyllic farm one day, where the animals are all his friends. I hope he reads your comment.

Lulu - another vegan! It sounds Iike most of the readers here are vegetarians/vegans or at least eating ethically which is fantastic! There are so many reasons why people become vegos... religious, moral, health, taste. The Other Half was actually vegetarian for about 8 months. He did it for moral reasons. He turned 100% overnight but after a few months, he started to get sick and couldn't get better. So eventually, for health reasons (like you and your hubby), he had to go back to eating some meat. In retrospect, turning vego is probably something one needs to do gradually so the body doesn't get into a frenzy!

Oh Kristine! I'm in a muddle over the issue myself and am incredibly wishy washy about it! I'm learning but very slowly. There are so many grey areas and everything is interconnected.

Crikey! That was a very long response! X

Bicontinental Dachshund said...

I am entering the rabbit hole. Alas. I killed a mouse last night. (It's true.) I'm a mighty hunter. But as you know, I'm a dog. Mom will have a different take.

Keep on wagging,

Leslie said...

Hey Typist, happy to see you're muddling along and the knee is improving. Actually, I would have been happy to 'read' that and not really 'see' it. (I am such a wimp when it comes to other people's pain. ;)

You've asked a great question and one I've pondered oft myself. In fact, a little over 3 weeks ago now, I've changed over to a primarily vegetarian diet. I haven't worked out all the details myself yet of what I want to do but I do know that I want to reduce my involvement in the persistence of factory farming. I'm trying to eat no meat at all but I'll never get Jan to forego meat entirely. I could live with getting him down to one or two meat-based meals a week.

Keep up the good work with the knee and the thinking. :)

Anonymous said...

"... and I accept that sometimes I have to be the one wielding the hatchet" ... what a lie!! Your karma is intact, woman. As your assassin, I'm the one condemned to the roast pit in the fire of hell.

The cushion

georgia little pea said...

Tootsie - us dogs just do what we have to. Its called nature. I think. Your friend, Georgia x

Good luck with that Leslie!

Dear Cushion, I meant that figuratively of course, and not in fact. You know very well The Person In Charge sees everything and will know you were only the assassin. Ohm x

What Remains Now said...

Well...your knee looks great! Your question...I would love to be a vegan or a vegetarian, but am too lazy. That is wrong of me, but true. I do try to buy more responsibly and not waste as much, but I have a long way to go. The waste is probably what bothers me the most.

Jen said...

Great post! My fiance and I were talking the other day about the notion of being an animal lover but still a meat eater. We both feel that animals are essentially blameless, and as a result, humans do have a responsibility to giving them humane care. However, we do also believe in the food chain, and so I take Temple Grandin's (paraphrased) response: just because we're eating them doesn't mean they need to live in fear and pain, even in their last moments.

Jean said...

Glad to see all is well, Typist, but my goodness the introspection might be worse than the silence!
I have often pondered your question - many of my animal-loving friends are vegetarian, some vegan. I am not.

I do believe all living things are interdependent, that biodiversity is essential to the survival of all of us (if you search 'biodiversity' on my blog, you'll see I've written about it a few times). From my perspective, that doesn't mean we humans can't eat other species any more than it means dogs can't eat chickens or cats can't eat mice.
As I see it, the problem is that we humans have not respected biodiversity and our methods of farming, harvesting, killing, logging, fishing, polluting, genetic engineering, etc have upset the balance and threaten not only the lives of other living things but our own human existence.

As an animal lover, I am appalled by the treatment of commercial pigs, chickens, calves, etc. I try to buy meat from hormone free, free-range local farmers. I don't always succeed - as you say, it is much more expensive than the mass-produced, inhumanely-raised meats. But I do eat less meat and eat it less often than I once did.

As an angler, I enjoy fish as part of my diet, but never buy farmed fish. And I have never understood fishing just for sport - ie, catch and release (in which many fish die anyway, after a terrifying experience) - catch only what you are going to eat, and waste as little as possible.
I think globally we have to wake up to the way we treat all living things - plants, animals, each other. All living things are dependent on all others.

On the other hand, I could live without mosquitoes, slugs and fleas. Okay, mosquitoes provide food for bats. Slugs provide food for ducks. But what on earth is the good of fleas? The day fleas were given life, I think the Creator just had too much time on his/her hands. Maybe he/she was recovering from knee surgery.

georgia little pea said...

Lori - waste is The Other Half's big bugbear. He's been training me to reduce waste for over 20 years. I'm a slow learner but I do believe I'm much better now. Right Cushion?

Jen - Exactly! I don't have problems with eating meat per se, just with inhumane husbandry and slaughter.

JEAN! BWAH HAHA!!! you are so right. Introspection is much worse and unfortunately I have more questions. Its going to be a long week.

I agree with everything you said. The trouble for someone like me is that I don't know enough about anything and many issues are not black and white. Things are often so interconnected that while we think we're doing some good, it may not actually be so. Like years spent encouraging people to choose fish over (red) meat. Too much confusion for a little pig like me really.

BTW, re: the slugs and mozzies...did you somehow read my draft for a future post? Maybe we all just have the same questions :)

Amy said...

I'm so glad to see you're healing well - and I'm glad the BtC blogging event got stuck in your head. A little introspection is good for us all!

I think you can love animals without being vegetarian, but it means making responsible choices - like you've suggested. Buying your meat from a local farmer is probably the best way to go, and if you can go to the farm and see how the animals are raised that's even better. I wouldn't want to purchase meat that was raised or slaughtered in an inhumane way.

I've also seriously cut back how much meat I eat - six days a week I try to eat a healthy, mostly vegetarian diet ... and then on Saturdays I eat as much of whatever it is I've been craving during the week. Half a dozen donuts, a whole package of cookies, as many french fries as I can stuff in my face ... you name it! The cool thing is, once of splurged on something I generally don't crave it again for months! I don't feel like I'm suffering because it's only ever a few days until Saturday.

georgia little pea said...

Amy! I don't believe you! I've seen pictures of you and you're a (very good looking) string bean. No one could eat 6 doughnuts a day and get away with it. Can they?

Apart from cake and cream, I do try to eat responsibly ;) I think after this, I'm going to try even harder. It'll take some effort but it does feel right.

booahboo said...

Can i just say that you do have very thin legs... hahahahhahahaa..

i know you are not expecting a comment like that after a very very long post even though you have nothing much to say...

booahboo said...

I can eat six donuts and get away with it too. *LOL* still get away with it for now. But i might just expand suddenly one fine day.

moderation and balance. that is most important.

georgia little pea said...

HAHAHAHAHA!!! THAT WAS PRECIOUS, Anny! Let this be a lesson to you not to send out reminders for me to post ;P

booahboo said...

Do you know i have not actually read this whole post yet... *LOL* and the next one... but i have read the most recent picture post :D

i am a very visual creature.

will come back to you when i have digested the whole bloody long 2 posts... bloody long. Remind me not to bug you next time.

Karen Friesecke said...

I quite enjoyed your snarky humour on my blog, yesterday.

I think that one can be an animal lover & a meat eater. The are animals that are "pets" and there are animals that are "meat". As long as ALL the meat animals are treated humanely, I don't have a problem with it.

It's interesting that you bring up the tuna issue. It's a very, very serious issue that is directly affecting the health of the oceans. Tuna & sharks are top-level predators that are having their population numbers threatened. Without a stable population of predator fish, the health of all fish populations are threatened. That's why I don't eat tuna.

If you can get your hands on this documentary, watch it.

georgia little pea said...

Karen - I've heard of that doco but have yet to see it. Thanks! I'm learning more about eating low on the seafood chain myself :)

H and Flo said...

Oh you made me think. Boo. And I had to click on those links. I am sad to see the tuna I buy is way down there close to the bottom... They're good sites though - I didn't know about them.

As for Pate do fois gras... I agree. I'm also not sure whether or not veal is raised the same way here as it was in Europe, but I won't buy it and am surprised to see so much of it sold here. I can't say it's anything I've looked into though and I suppose I ought to do my homework before I get up on that ever-so-high horse.

Glad to see the knee is doing what it's supposed to be doing! :)

georgia little pea said...

Hey Flo's mama - being a zoologist, I expect you know much more about all this animal stuff than I do. I'm just a googler. How cool are those links! I'm glad at least SOME of my brands are okay :)

chandra said...

Your knee looks fabulous!

I started eating vegetarian 11 years ago. Three and half years ago I cut out dairy and fish as well. I still wear and use the leather that I have purchased over the years because I feel the proper thing to do is to get the very most use out of it possible. (Those darn Louis Vuitton purses are probably going to last another 30 years!)

The choices were a progression that happened naturally for me. I didn't struggle to stay vegetarian and I don't struggle to eat vegan because when I made the decision it was what I wanted to do with my whole heart and mind.

I believe that guilt is very bad for the heart and mind and if you feel guilty, as you said, about eating meat then perhaps it's time for a change.

-c at ddy, who always has food in her purse so she won't go hungry in this bacon-on-everthing world and who served meat at her wedding to satisfy her bacon-on-everything loving guests.

georgia little pea said...

Chandra, I was so hoping you'd drop by since I know your vegan ways!

I do feel guilty but, as I said, I'm also practical and believe in the food chain. We eat much less meat than we used to and I believe we can reduce that even more. What this whole week has done is make me realise that I shouldn't be so lazy about making informed and humane choices about what [meat] I do eat. I have a long LONG way to go!

YOU, on the other hand, sound almost Jain-like :) I look forward to your thoughts on the other posts! X