I think this might have flipped the switch for me. A quesadilla sounds a hell of a lot less appealing to me now than it used to.
Saturday's daily challenge for the 22-Day Veg Challenge was to learn about farm animal sanctuaries. The bonus was an organized trip to visit Wildwood Farm Sanctuary, a small farm animal sanctuary just outside of Newberg (about 45 minutes SW of Portland). There were about 10 of us from the 22 day challenge that made the trip out there to see the animals and learn more about the sanctuary and its mission.
We met Shauna, the founder of the sanctuary. Her grandfather used to raise cattle on the land; the family now raises some crops, as well as making space for the rescued animals. She's also a vet tech, which is part of what led her to become vegetarian, then vegan, and to want to provide a safe haven for animals subjected to the meat industry. There are goats, sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys, alpacas. They are sometimes rescued from abusive backyard-type farms situations, or allowed to be taken just after being born if they're of no use to a farmer (e.g., male cows).
One of the things she told us that particularly made an impact on me is what "organic" really means to farm animals. It doesn't just mean they don't get unnecessary antibiotics - it means they can't get antibiotics when they're actually sick. So little baby cows that get sick can't be helped in any real way, simply because they're being raised to be organic. It's the obvious consequence, but that had never occurred to me before.
Wildwood is a newer sanctuary, and become a 501(c)(3) in 2014. In addition to Shauna and her family, there are volunteers that keep it running - I might wait until the weather is better (it was rainy and windy while we were out there - but worth it), but I definitely want to attend one of their work events to help out. The animals are all so sweet; some friendly and desiring petting more than others (The goats in particular loved attention! One of the roosters liked to follow people around, but was a bit more variable on touching.), but you can see all of them are loving creatures, with emotions just like our pets.