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It’s easy enough to choose not to be part of the “chain of pain” when I’m choosing food. My take? If it’s sentient, don’t eat it. If I’m not sure (like, with lobsters), don’t eat it, just in case it is (was) sentient.

With dairy products, I’ve discovered (yes, I’m a later bloomer!) that my health food store sells eggs from uncaged, free-roaming, normal chickens. And milk, totally pasturized, but from cows that graze quietly, eating grass.  

Okay, that sounds like: Yeah? And?

But I recently saw photos of how the big farming corporations treat their animals, and how they kill them. It’s not something we‘re used to thinking of. The reality is that it’s not pastural, it’s not pretty, it’s mind-blowingly horrific, and I want to pass that info along to you so you can make real-life decisions without having to see the photos and videos that I stumbled across.

But that’s why I say I’m living the “almost” vegan life. I’m pretty sure I don’t mind if there is honey used as an ingredient in my cosmetics, and I like Burt’s Bees lipgloss. But emu oil, which is used in many cosmetics, comes from dead emus - so I like to read the ingredients labels and check that out. Needless to say, many of the emus are slaughtered in countries where there are no “watchdog” groups.

I’ve totally stopped buying shoes that have any leather in them at all. American slaughter houses are bad enough, but the very cheap leather comes from places where the slaughterhouses are not monitored at all, and the cruelty involved is too high a cost to pay for cheap shoes.

Same with handbags.

Yes, I’ll make a mistake now and then, buy a purse and find out when I get it home that it has a leather strap. If I can, I’ll return it and be more careful. If I’ve lost the receipt, I’ll live with the purse, but lately even that’s become difficult.

If you‘re an animal lover - or if you‘re not an animal lover but simply want to contribute to a world that’s increasingly filled with kindness, watch out for other details in the stores, such as fur trim on sweaters, swatches of fur on doll clothes, leather-bound journals and office supplies, and - for you meat eaters - inexpensive burgers. (The cheaper the meat, the more likely it is to come from a country where the animals are slaughtered more brutally.)

I pray for a kinder world. I pray for peace. I pray for love and compassion to enter the hearts of all people.

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