Emerging from your Old Skin

 take a chance

Sometimes, nature teaches you life lessons. Today, I found a cicada’s empty shell in my back yard. Since the outer skeleton does not grow with the insect, from time to time, it crawls out of its old skin and grows a new, stronger, and bigger one. The cicada emerges weak and vulnerable. But without looking back, it leaves its old shell behind and aspires to become something more. I started thinking about the empty skin and realized that it serves as a great metaphor for life.

Right now, I am on the precipice of adulthood. In a couple of weeks, I will be starting my sophomore year of college and moving into my first apartment. Finding a job and saving up for a car are at the front of my mind, as well as declaring my major and pursuing a career after graduation. Choosing your path in life is scary. It means letting go of the past and venturing into the dangerous and unknown future, even though it may not turn out the way you want it to.

But at times like these, I think we all could channel the courage of a cicada. We can’t remain complacent and comfortable in our old  skin. We must aspire to grow and move forward, even if it means taking a risk and leaving familiarity behind. That moment when you first emerge from your old skin, unsure of whether you will ever find your new beautiful armor, must be tough. But like the cicada, we need to have faith in who we are meant to be and keep flying.

Best,

Leila

Animals Suffer During Transport

While driving home from college earlier this week, I saw a truck transporting pigs, most likely to slaughter. Through the holes in the truck I could see the pigs’ pink bodies. One pig stuck with me: he was lying on his side with his back pressed against the wall of truck, as if the exhaustion and fear had overcome him. On that day, the sun was shining, the skies were clear, and it was seasonably warm. But knowing that for every pig in that truck, these were their last moments on earth–their first and last chance to see the sun and sky–I could not help but feel tears coming to my eyes.

inside transport truck after arriving at slaughterhouse

The inside of a transport truck after arriving at the slaughterhouse. Imagine spending the last moments of your life here.

The suffering animals experience during transport to slaughter is arguably even worse than the slaughter itself. The animals are crammed into trucks with barely any room to move. Birds are roughly shoved or thrown into crates, their heads and wings often painfully slammed in the doors or even torn off in workers’ haste to unload them. These journeys may last for 28 hours or more, despite suffocating heat and bitter cold. Animals are forced to defecate where they stand and are not given a single drop of food or water. Many animals arrive at the slaughterhouse frozen solid, stuck to the cold metal sides of the truck, or dead due to heat exhaustion.

Chickens crammed into transport crates.

The number of animals who die before even making it to slaughter are astounding, and further demonstrate how disposable the meat industry views these animals. It is estimated that 17-41 million chickens and over 250,000 pigs die during transport in the United States. Though death is less common in cows (I assume due to their higher body mass allowing them to survive longer amounts of time without food and water), transport is considered to be the most stressful experience a cow ever goes through. It is not uncommon for cows to become “downers,” unable to stand or walk due to their bodies giving out, during transport.

Cows being transported to slaughter. 

No taste, tradition, or moment of pleasure can make the incredible fear and suffering these animals endure worthwhile. And with a plethora of fresh, delicious, and nutritious vegan foods available at every local grocery store, eating animals is simply unnecessary. To spare animals cruel transport to slaughter, please choose a compassionate vegan diet.

Best,

Leila

Leave Meat Behind!

I recently read this wise quote and thought it was worth sharing. It makes perfect sense! We have taken a practice that began as an act of survival and grew it into a massive, cruel, and destructive killing machine. All because we can’t move past a taste and tradition. The price of producing meat, for both the animals and the planet, is ridiculously enormous compared to the momentary pleasure of eating it. We can no longer ignore this growing monster of destruction and cruelty occupying our world. The insanity of forcing billions of animals to endure lifetimes of pain and suffering only to produce meat we do not require for survival has become obvious. There is NOTHING natural about modern meat farming! In order to advance our species and our planet, we must leave meat behind!

natural

Best,

Leila