I stopped eating meat way back when I was just a little 13-year-old who thought cows were cute and therefore should not be eaten. Since then, I have over-educated myself on all the additional reasons why I I should continue to choose a meatless diet (and reasons why I am trying to go vegan). For me, it really comes down to the raising and slaughtering process, not the ethics of eating flesh. If you want to grow me a cow on your bucolic family farm and show me that it has had a fantastic life and then slaughter on-site with some sort of instant-kill method, then maybe I will consider eating meat again. Or maybe one day I will have my own little farm and will feel comfortable with the whole raising meat to eat thing, but for now, I am good with keeping meat out of my diet. Then I got feed my dogs the same stuff I refuse to ingest myself. Immoral? Hypocritical? Probably, yes.
I struggle with my own lack of commitment to veganism, and then I fill my dogs’ tummies with various types of animals on a weekly basis. Smoked bones? Yep. Long lasting meaty chews that keep them out of my hair for over an hour? Yep. Non-humanely raised parts of various animals? Sure thing. They love it; however, I would never eat those animals, so why am I feeding them to my dogs?
For their daily meals, my dogs get their organic lamb and rice dog food from the local pet food store (or, more likely, when I am not lying to myself, I go to Costco and get them the less morally acceptable stuff). Regardless, I feel like a bad person. Every. Single. Time. “But it is organic and free-range, so it is okay, and dogs need meat” say all my supposedly educated friends. Well, friends, “organic” is just a hint of a lesser evil. Seriously, it means nothing these days. And no, dogs do not have to eat meat.
The lambs that my dogs eat are “free-range,” so yes, they have little higher quality of life than the factory farmed animals that never even see the light of day. However, their short lives are thrown into a torrent of terror when they are shipped via truck, train or barge to the nearest mass slaughter house where the horror continues until they are ultimately released of their suffering, when they are killed.
Dogs, like humans, are omnivores and CAN live a healthy vegan/vegetarian life (okay, okay, I know…this is like opening the debate on global warming, we have people yelling confidently on both sides). Personally, I do believe this to be true, which is why I beat myself up for feeding my dogs meat. Now, if I had cats, it would be a different story, because they do actually need meat in their diet (yeah, I know, quite the statement).
What is a veggie girl to do? For me, as I am sure it is for some other folks, it comes down to ease and finances. If you have read my other pieces, you know I am lazy. I am also quite the hypocrite when it comes to what I say is important to me versus what I actually spend my money on. I know it is possible. Lots of work, but possible (for both human and dog!). So yeah, I could switch my dogs to a veggie/vegan dog food. But I have not. And I have no valid excuse, other than I just have not made myself do it…yet.
What do you feed your dog and how do your morals come in to play?
Photos courtesy of Flickr.