Don't Forget the Bacon Gabriella Verdelotti Every Sunday morning, my father would be in the kitchen frying up thick-cut, hickory smoked bacon, scrambled eggs and golden pancakes. Sunday breakfast was a tradition in our household and the smell swept through the air almost lifting me out of bed. My mother typically cooked dinner twice a week, making dishes ranging from hamburgers and French fries to fried chicken and mashed potatoes. When we went out to dinner at restaurants, I would order a juicy, well-done burger, smothered in cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup and brown mustard. I remember going to places like Red Robin, where the burgers were absolutely ginormous, yet I never wondered about the cow that came before that burger, or the chicken that gave way to our eight-piece family meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Where the two breasts received in the box seemed to be almost larger than life, and the wings and legs, minuscule and barely noticeable next to the massive breast pieces. As a child, I ate the food with no complaints, elated at times that I was given a bigger portion, but I never asked myself why were the chicken breasts so big or how exactly did a chicken with such large breasts, small legs and wings, stand on its own. When I finally did become curious, my parents never quite had the correct information on the subject. My answers came in my twelfth-grade English class, in the form of a peer’s public service announcement on animal cruelty. I sat through innumerous presentations, some I found thought provoking and others I found quite monotonous and repetitive. It came down to the last day of project presentations, most of which had been informative, but unfortunately never eye opening. My teacher had given this group an extension to present the project at a later date, due to “technological conflict.” They stood up in front of class and stated the usual “some of the images we are about to show may be disturbing in nature, so feel free to look away or cover your eyes at any time,” the same message in videos played by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA. The same warnings that had been given by other groups presenting projects on animal cruelty, so I figured that would be the basis of their project as well. They dimmed the lights and soft music began playing in the background. Images of different fast food restaurants appeared on the screen and one of the group members began polling the class on their favorite fast food restaurant. I raised my hand for Chick-fil-a and looked around to see what my other classmates enjoyed eating, which varied from McDonald’s to Moe’s Southwestern Grill. Viewer Discretion is Advised.. https://news.yahoo.com/video/animal-cruelty-dairyfarm-214440064.html The next slide moved directly in to the disturbing part they had previously warned about. Each slide plastered with images produced an anxious feeling in my stomach and a rather disgusted look on my face. Listed on the screen were products I grew up using and food I grew up eating. I saw videos of chickens not being able to stand on their own due to severely enlarged breasts from hormonal injections and cows suffering from a multitude of diseases, not being able to receive treatment, but still being slaughtered for meat. Calves were dragged away from their mothers, and pigs were abused by the farm workers, being punched and kicked into their pins. Products like Cover Girl, Crest, Glade, and Dove are tested on animals, sometimes severely injuring or killing the animal in the process. I thought back to the commercial Dove had run during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They portrayed themselves to be a company that wanted to help animals that had been hurt in the man-made spill; hurting the animals with testing seemed quite contradictive. The most unsettling realization was that I had been a part of this industry and I gave money to these prosperous corporations to aid in the mistreatment of animals. My family bought the products that were tested on animals and seemed to use them almost every day. Coming home from school that day, I talked to my mom about the information I had learned during the presentation. I showed her videos and even a list of the products she used that were currently tested on animals with no shame from the corporations. She did not seem as alarmed as I was about the issue, which is sadly the reaction of most Americans today, but I personally decided that I would take my own stand as a young adult, and advocate for others to do the same. Since viewing the presentation I have convinced my immediate family and some friends to give up the consumption of beef as well as other dairy products. We have replaced dairy products with soy and decide to pay the extra money in buying organic eggs, chicken and pork. Organic foods lack the addition of chemical additives or hormonal injections. Personally, I no longer eat pork, and yes that means giving up the bacon that once filled my house every Sunday morning with its enticing smell. When buying other products I check the back of the packaging to make sure no animals were harmed or tested on in the manufacturing of the product. Being previously blinded by the ignorance of using these animal products, I am thankful today I was given a new perspective on the issue.