In the 90s, I used to use John Robbins’ book, Diet for a New America, along with the PBS special that went along with it, in my classroom. I loved his heart centered presentation of the benefits of a plant-based diet, at a time when the word “vegetarian“ was still far from being accepted as a normal, not to mention better, alternative, for the animals, the environment, and us.
Last month, more than 25 years after his book came out, I had the pleasure of interviewing this man for Awaken.com. Here is an excerpt of the written transcription. Follow the link below, to watch the first part, on Skype:
In all the Baskin/Robbins stores, there used to be large photographs on the back wall. Brown and White of Guernsey and Holstein dairy cows grazing in beautiful Wisconsin pasture. They were gorgeous and they spoke of closeness to nature and you see these cows living a beautiful life. And as a kid, working in the stores, I thought those pictures were beautiful. I believed them. Surely, that is where the milk comes from, that makes the ice cream that we are selling and manufacturing… And then, one day I went to a farm with my dad where we bought a lot of our dairy products. It was nothing like the pictures. Nothing. First of all, there was no grass anywhere. Second of all, the cows are all in confinement. They are basically imprisoned and they have very little space. And they are standing knee deep in their own manure. And they are feeding out of a trough, and I go towards the trough.
I’m a kid now, probably 13 or 14 years old, and I walk towards the cow with love in my heart. I’m a boy. And I’m hoping, I suppose, to pet the cow. Or at least look into its eyes. I just want to make contact. And I approach slowly, and as I approach, the cow gets really frightened and agitated. And I’m thinking, cows are placid creatures. What has that cow endured, that it is frightened when a small boy approaches it? What has it endured? What’s been done to it? And I investigated that. And I found out how these animals were treated and it was so opposite to the images portrayed in those pictures. And that type of green-washing or humane washing continues to this day.