Vegan in the Region

Bob Kasarda with a resident of the Uplands PEAK Sanctuary in Salem, Ind. 

Valentine's Day is Tuesday.

I sat down intending to write about all the many vegan options to satisfy any sweet tooth. But then I came across a horrifying photo on Facebook of a panicked cow, caked in mud and feces, searching desperately for his/her companion, who had already been pulled ahead into the slaughter room.

When I saw the wide-eyed look of terror on this animal's face, my heart seemed to skip a beat and my mood just tanked. I also felt rage that this could be acceptable under any circumstances.

This photo came on the heels of a video on Facebook of a beautiful young calf catching snowflakes on his tongue. It would have been an uplifting video had the calf not been confined to a veal crate where he will live a very short life after having been taken shortly after birth from a dairy cow.

I shared both of these on Facebook, if anyone is interested in taking a look, but I don't imagine many people paid much attention. This type of thing can only continue in a climate of denial — often hostile denial judging by the comments I regularly see on Facebook.

The denial and secrecy surrounding how animals make it to our dinner plates is not accidental and it comes at a high price to our society, which is enabled to turn its back on other wrongdoings as a result, according to Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet.

The World Peace Diet is the one book I would recommend to anyone considering going vegan — and even those who are not.

Melanie Joy also has some great insight into this society-wide denial and how the choice to eat meat is really no choice at all. The only real choice is in deciding to take an honest look at what eating meat, dairy and eggs is doing to the animals, planet and human health.

Knowledge alone is not enough, however. It takes heart to look at this truth, which ties in nicely after all with Valentine's Day.

The opinions are the author's.

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Bob is a 22-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.