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  • Laura Slitt

As Dr. Richard Oppenander, author of Comfortably Unaware would say, I was! At 47, my life would be catapulted into a different paradigm, another dimension that showed me the deeper underbelly of this machine we call society. At 47, after a half lifetime of experiencing abuse , ( not from home but elsewhere) sexual violence, substance addiction, and what it felt like to be the subject of domination by force by someone stronger, who took what was never given ( as we do to the victims of anthropocentrism )I figured out, after becoming an ethical vegan, why society is experiencing self inflicted wounds.
I was getting ready to open my small 24 seat cafe, on the first floor of The Grand Summit Hotel and Conference Center. I'd just gotten done running the breakfast line and it was time to change hats and open the cafe.
A routine I'd done since the hotel opened in 1996.
Chopping, dicing, and preparing the menu, I happened to have NHPR radio on. Something caught my ear. The word "slaughterhouse". A few sentences were mentioned about a slaughterhouse investigation. I'd not heard the word before, nor vegan for that matter. Pathetic in hindsight considering Judaism not only obligates us to never harm animals, but we must do everything in our power to protect them. Tsa'ar Be Alei Chayim. As an aside, if I ever end up in court, I have a good Jewish attorney and a Rabbi, all the help I need. So that word, slaughterhouse, stuck in my brain and when I went home, I looked up the story I'd heard about called, "They Die Piece by Piece", by Washington Post's Joby Warrick.
There was a photo. It was the head of a cow whose eyes were bloodshot, bulging. The headline was, " He's been skinned to his head, his legs cut off, and he's still conscious"

I read the article and got sick to my stomach. Panic ensued. That panic is a daily part of my life. A walking panic attack, fully functional because, damn, I have to be for them!
The article in the Washington Post moved me like nothing ever had, prompting me to contact the journalist at the Post. We spoke. He put me in touch with who would become the reason I became vegan, almost overnight. Gail Eisnitz was the investigator who did the investigation that prompted the article, one of many years she investigated slaughterhouses for HFA, Humane Farming Association. I called and spoke with her. She sent me a signed copy of a book that I would come to buy multiple copies of and send to politicians and give away. I actually sent one to the White House where GWB was presiding over this pretentious and failing empire.

It was twisting trying to read what actually happens in these places far removed from the public's eye. Very twisting indeed. So horrific, and surreal, I could hardly stop talking about it at work, with family, the launch of why I spend much time alone, and feeling more like I live in a Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock series that civilized society.

So what choice did I have? To NEVER EVER spend one penny supporting this sickness, this grotesque and vulgar system that does atrocities to nonhumans manifesting in exactly the warped and deformed society we have, what with all its SYMPTOMS. That was it for me, Vegan almost overnight. Lost my job at the hotel after several calls to HR because employees were upset that I was talking about this, and becoming estranged from the community, even family, as I tried to bring up the darkness I'd become aware of. Nope! Leave us alone, We are entitled to eat "our meat", ( ever notice when talking to others about this, they always say, "my" meat, or "my" cheese, like the addicts they are, both to the supremacy that they cling to that makes them feel a false sense of status, and their ill-fated addiction to eating what causes their disease?

So that's the story. Since then, I've made it a point to use every possible tool in the box, to raise awareness that the plight of violence to animals, is the plight of violence to humans. They are inextricably one and while society claims to abhor cruelty to animals, even has some laws against it, that same society is guilty of egregious violence to animals and has become a victim of its own ethical, legal, and moral, schizophrenia.

I cook vegan food almost daily to bring to work, write many letters to my paper, have organized film showings, just finished teaching an after-school cooking class at one of the elementary schools and only used vegan recipes. I joined PCRM, ( and always have their materials on hand to leave in hospitals, doctors' offices, wherever possible, and I have been the lone protestor at pig scrambles, kids fishing derbies, and more. Now I'd like to join Serina, buy a BUS, and travel nationwide doing exactly what is warranted, giving information that the current corporate media refuses to.

I grew up in the suburbs of West Hartford, CT. even though I was incredibly sensitive as a child, moving worms back to the soil, removing insects from the horse trough at camp, asking my daddy about fish because it must have bothered me to take them from their homes to his earnest reply, they don't feel pain. He just didn't know.