Why, after 25 years, I have made the decision to no longer buy mass-produced meat

I have always been a big meat eater, and thankful that bacon is readily available, in a multitude of varieties on the shelves of almost every shop I can walk to from my front door.

I suppose I have always known in the back of my mind that slaughterhouses were...well...bad, but even my love for piglets (if I ever ventured into pet ownership, my first choice is a pig), would not deter me from buying mass-produced meat. I am not against eating meat as a whole, and don't think being a vegetarian would ever be an option for me- I'm certain anemia and cravings would get the better of me. I'm also fairly sure my coping method of randomly and frequently biting those around me would not go down well. Despite obviously always preferring organic and small farm meat, convenience, price and a lack of research on the subject means that I have munched on many a carcass from a high production abattoir.

I have always been around vegetarians, and have listened to people's claims of not eating meat in protest of the industry, but I suppose I always thought my personal meat consumption didn't really count in the grand scheme of things, and never comprehended that these big businesses would actually be unnecessarily cruel to their livestock. I suppose my claim about them being "bad" should really be changed to "evil incarnate". I would never be caught buying eggs from caged hens, but somehow meat didn't register as being the same to me. It's only since thinking everything I eat through meticulously and documenting it that I've really considered giving up mass-produced meat entirely. And the thing that has pushed me over the edge and made me resolute in my decision? This news article. It's been in every paper as well as on my TV, and naturally curiosity got the better of me and I watched the horrible accompanying video. (Please note that it does contain blatant, pointless animal cruelty and may be upsetting and make you despairing of the human race.) After seeing the complete disregard for the lives of these terrified, suffering animals from an abattoir not a million miles away, but in Essex, I can not with clear conscience give my money towards funding these places of torture ever again.

So, I will not be going vegetarian, just more awareitan. I am going to continue eating a lot less meat- not a morsel has passed my lips today, and most of my food this past month has been veggietastic and it hasn't really been difficult. Therefore, I pledge to, from now on, only eat meat that I can trace the origins of- unless, of course, it's wild game, then who knows where the scamps have been running around! If I couldn't feasibly drive past the farm and see my potential dinner frolicking and living a happy little life, I will not be chewing on it in death. This probably means that if I eat out, I will have to choose meat-free options- which is going to be a new and challenging experience- not least because I'm already severely limited in what I can consume whilst out and about due to a problematic digestive system, but I am determined!

As a reminder, here is what some happy little piggies look like:
Kent County Fair, 2008


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