I'M about to voice a very unpopular opinion, so prepare for your blood pressure to rise and your defensiveness to crawl to the surface.
However, I ask that you (try) to keep calm, and hold an open mind to what I'm about to say.
The Northern Rivers community is currently in shock over a horrific attack at a Nimbin farm, where seven chickens were brutally murdered, and a pig beaten and raped with an object.
So many people are feeling sickened by this disturbing act, and rightly so - this is a tragic event, and I do not wish to tone down the viciousness of this massacre.
However, I've been feeling a bit conflicted when I've been hearing people talk about how sickened they feel about this attack, while they continue to chow down on meat and dairy.
Yep, I'm a vegan.
Possibly about to become the most hated vegan on the Northern Rivers, but hey - I feel like this needs to be said.
I'm usually not a "vocal, hateful, crazy vegan", but I have a feeling I'm about to cross over into that zone...
All of you who say you "love animals" and "hate animal cruelty": You do realise you are contributing to that by supporting the animal agriculture industry, right?
For example, to those shocked by Polly the pig's rape: You should know that to keep the dairy industry alive, cows are raped with a hand or machine to be inseminated multiple times through their life (before they then become cheap cuts of meat when they're "done" being milk-pumper-outters), so they can become pregnant, to produce the milk you heartily suck down your throat.
In addition, their babies are then ripped from them at just days old so this process can continue, without that baby "stealing" the milk that will then be sold to consumers. Most become veal.
Do you really feel ok with that?
To those shocked by the decapitation of some of the chickens who were slaughtered in the attack on Wednesday morning: You should know that in many Australian slaughterhouses, chickens are stunned using a water bath with an electric current, and then, once unconscious (although, in some cases, they are still conscious) their necks are severed so they can bleed out.
These are just two examples of the animal agriculture industry.
I know, it's not nice to read those details, is it? And those are normal "humane" practices in Australia - not even a hint of breaking industry standards there.
Now I understand that these are all things we've simply become blind to - they happen behind closed doors, and then the end result is presented to us all pretty and clean-like in the supermarket.
We've been constantly told that we "need" meat, dairy and eggs in our diet - despite the many studies that prove otherwise - and we've (mostly) all grown up eating this way.
It's normal, and (as we're told) "natural".
But no one really wants to watch slaughterhouse footage, or animal abuse videos which are circulated online - it makes us feel uncomfortable.
But if it makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe you should look at why that is.
If you have felt sickened and appalled by the story of Polly the pig and the horrible massacre of chickens at Nimbin, I would suggest that you do some research into the animal agriculture industry and the human, environmental and health aspects that go alongside this industry.
Maybe check out some vegetarian or vegan books, websites, or documentaries, if you don't wish to contribute to animal cruelty, or if you feel that you "love animals".
It's a big social change, I know, I've been there myself - we're used to all this, and anything different to what you're used to is scary.
But please: Take responsibility. If you feel horrified by this massacre, you should also be horrified by the yearly massacre of 520-620 million animals in Australia for our consumption.
You can't pick and choose.
If you feel the urge to explore this topic more, check out documentary Cowspiracy, read The China Study, check out the Bite Size Vegan YouTube channel, or head over to the websites of Animals Australia or PETA.