What’s the difference between a dog and a cow?

Last weekend was the first time in my life that I can honestly say I’m living my life in line with my values. I’ve dabbled in veganism for 4 years. I’ve struggled to become a full fledged vegan for various reasons. But I can finally call myself 100% vegan.

My interest in veganism began when my health was declining and I was desperate.I originally went vegan for myself.

Now, I call myself an “ethical vegan”, meaning I’m vegan for the animals and the health benefits are a bonus.

When you go vegan for the animals, it’s a lot harder to cheat and eat a piece of cheese or have fish for dinner because you are aware of the immense suffering that goes into creating these products.

Thank you to all of the people that posted graphic images of animal abuse on social media.

Although it would have been much easier to ignore it, I looked at the horrific images and decided I didn’t want to contribute to it any longer.

So why was last weekend so eye-opening for me? Well, I spent a Saturday afternoon at Pasados Safe Haven, an animal sanctuary in Sultan, Washington. Pasados is not usually open to the public other than special occasions such as the farm tour I attended. Pasados frequently rescues animals from abuse situations. They need to be rehabilitated and are often scared of humans because of the abuse they experienced.

Entrance to Pasados Safe Haven, Sultan, Washington. “Sweet creatures who pass this sanctuary once scared and alone, now you are safe, now you are home”


The first stop on the tour of the farm was to feed Gary and Chloe, two lovable goats. As a kid growing up in Southern California, we had two goats “Betty” and “Billy”. Neither of them were very friendly and would try to ram us in the butts when got near them. Gary and Chloe were very sociable and sweet as you can see in the picture below.

This was our first stop on our tour of Pasados Safe Haven. These two goats had the best personalities.



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Munching on some yummy romaine.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with pigs. The only pigs I have seen in person were at county fairs in Pennsylvania. Again, these pigs were very social and have personalities much like dogs. These guys were rescued from a backyard butcher. Their mother was unable to produce milk to feed them. The butcher decided he would just allow them to starve to death. Pasados stepped in and saved them. They were extremely underweight and malnourished but with some love and proper nutrition, they’re now 7 months old and thriving. Pigs are typically slaughtered at 6 months old, although their lifespan is 15 years.

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These guys were rescued from a backyard butcher as piglets.


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Pigs are so friendly and playful. My dream is that one day we live in a world where pigs can rest like this guy and not be abused and killed for their meat.

My childhood home was near a slaughterhouse. Anyone that has ever driven in the vicinity of Chino, California can tell you how horrible it smells.

The cow on the right started life in a veal crate. Cows raised for veal are kept in tiny enclosures so that they are unable to move or gain muscle. This cruelty is for human pleasure and produces a very soft meat. This cow weights 2500 lbs. which is unusually large. Usually baby calf are taken from their mothers immediately after birth so that the milk can be given to humans. The baby cows are allowed to reach a certain weight and then are slaughtered for meat.

This cow is so large because he was allowed to drink the milk of his mother which was filled with hormones and antibiotics. I’m guessing veal cows are allowed to drink their mother’s milk in order to gain weight rapidly in the veal crate.

The cow on the right started life as veal.  He weighs 2500 lbs. which is abnormally large.  The reason he is so large is because he drank his mother's milk and his mother was loaded up with antibiotics and hormones.
The cow on the right started life as veal. He weighs 2500 lbs. which is abnormally large. The reason he is so large is because he drank his mother’s milk and his mother was loaded up with antibiotics and hormones.

The final stop of the tour were the rescue dogs waiting for forever homes. Most of the dogs were pit bulls. Pit bulls are the most euthanized breed of dogs. I have had a couple of scary run ins with pit bulls but I’m trying to get over my fear of them.

Cute little basset hound looking for his forever home.
Cute little basset hound looking for his forever home.

The most profound realization that spending a day at an animal sanctuary had on me is that all of these animals have a deep desire to live. They’re all intelligent, they have unique personalities and they don’t want to die. The problem is that they’re defenseless and voiceless.

People tell me all the time “I’m a huge animal lover” and the next thing you know they’re eating a steak for dinner.

I’ve come to realize that the animals we consider household pets are no different than farm animals that we treat as commodities.

Below are a couple of pictures I recently posted to my social media accounts to illustrate this point:

dog cow 2


Dog cow 1

I’m not trying to preach. I’ll be the first to admit, it took me 35 years to come to this realization. I wish someone would have pointed this out to me sooner.

In many countries, dogs are considered food and cows are worshiped. If you are not aware of this, please Google “Yulin Dog Meat Festival.” Our beliefs about how we see pets and how we see farm animals are shaped by our culture.

All it takes is a simple mind shift to see a pig, cow, chicken as equivalent to a dog.

Once you make this switch, you will have no choice but to become vegan because you’ll no longer be able to eat a “friend”.

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For the animals.

Brooks Sig





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