Beware the Ides of March!

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on March 31, 2008

Beware the Ides of March! That was the warning given to Julius Caesar by the blind man. It was good advice, too. If Caesar had stayed home that day, he might well have foiled the plot to assassinate him. Each year, as I say good-bye to the third month of the year, I remember those fateful words, with a certain sense of awe and amusement. Whew; made it through once again.  

How often do we avoid good advice, to our own detriment? How often do we simply not want to hear hard truths? I can think of several occasions, when, if I had just listened to the truth, I might have saved myself a ton of grief.

The truth is: global warming is an established scientific fact, regardless of whether or not you wish to acknowledge it. And, if you smoke cigarettes long enough, your health will be damaged. Not to mention, the “E” word: exercise. Everything I read tells me how important it is to good health and yet, most Americans fight it like the plague.

Have you noticed that more and more medical experts are advising us to cut down on the consumption of meat?  If they were really honest, they would tell us to avoid it altogether, along with dairy. The consumption of animals is just not very good for human health. Not good for the animals’ health either. So, why is it that when the subject comes up, it is so loaded with emotion? When I am asked if I eat meat and I respond that I am a vegan, you would think that I had just stripped off all of my clothing and was running around the room naked. Whoa; let’s not go there! 

I enjoy meeting with people who tell me that they love animals and want to change the world, so that the animals are protected from harm. They often tell me that they support what we are doing in our programs, and I appreciate their support. Without it, we couldn’t do what we do. But, if the subject happens to turn to meat eating, these same, kind and compassionate people often swear that they will never give it up. They like the taste of meat too much and it’s too hard to change.

The sad truth is that factory farming constitutes the greatest abuse to the largest number of animals in the U.S. For the sows imprisoned in gestation and farrowing crates, the dairy calves in intensive confinement and the chickens in battery cages, life is hell. There are many ways in which we can commit ourselves to protecting these animals, but on a personal level, we need to get off their backs, literally.

Here’s a piece of advice: If you want to change the world; change yourself. For the animals, for your own health, and for the good of this overworked planet, start by choosing one day each week and on that one day, don’t eat meat and dairy. Try it. Let me know how it goes. Oh, and if you see any Romans wearing togas, cross over to the other side of the street.