That burger certainly rocked her world… or at the very least, sent her on a new path. 49-year-old Tammi Jonas from Eganstown, Victoria, Australia became a vegetarian at the age of 19 after reading Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. She maintained a strict vegetarian diet for ten years and through two pregnancies. When she was pregnant with her third child, then in her 30s, she suffered severe anemia, which she tried to treat using iron supplements, but had no success. While trying to fend off her deficiency, Tammi developed an intense craving for meat, so she caved and decided to eat a beef burger. That single burger undid ten years of strict vegetarianism for Tammi. She gradually began to incorporate meat into her diet again, and today, she owns her very own pasteurized pig farm .
“I had been pregnant twice before, but this the third time was different and I became dangerously anemic,” she told Daily Mail Australia .
She’d been at work that day and all she could think was, “a burger would fix this.” She helped herself to a plump beef burger and her life took a new turn. Speaking to 10 Daily, Tammi said it took her a while to get used to poultry and pork again and that she still abhors animal cruelty .
“I went back to red meat, so beef and lamb, once a week throughout the pregnancy, and it was some years longer before I had any pork or poultry,” Tammi said. “I never thought it was immoral to take an animal’s life for food – I’ve always been comfortable with my place in the food chain, but I thought it was immoral to treat [animals] cruelly, to not allow them to go outside and breathe fresh air and to be confined in crowds in sheds.”
Tammi’s views are shared by millions of other vegans and vegetarians who do not avoid meat because they believe that killing animals is bad, but because they refuse to eat animals that were cruelly handled mistreated.
She decided to become an ethical animal farmer
Tammi grew up on a ranch in Oregon in the U.S. before she moved to Australia in the 90s. As she slowly re-adjusted her diet to fit in her meaty needs, her interest in ranching flared again.
“I felt healthier because I was giving my body what it needed. But I was careful where I got my meat from,” she said. Tammi says she eats only animals that were not tortured or cruelly handled while they lived. She decided to set up a cruelty-free farm to give other people who were in her former shoes a healthier choice.
“The penny dropped and we realized that we were going to be farmers and, for me, I knew immediately pigs because they are some of the worst treated in industrial systems,” she said to 10 Daily.With help from her husband Stuart, Tammi set up the Jonai Farms after her family moved to Central Highlands in Victoria. She learned how to butcher animals and prepare them for storage and sale, a difficult task for someone who avoided animal products for 10 years.
“My journey from mindless industrial eater to vegetarian to ethical omnivore led me all the way to become a pig farmer to contribute to the growing movement to get pigs and poultry back out of sheds and onto paddocks,” her website reads . “We now grow, butcher and cure all of our meat, and serve 80 households from our thriving community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm.”
Tammi admits that slaughtering the animals who have lived a free and happy life on her farm is still upsetting to her. She takes them to a site off the farm to be butchered for the sake of the other animals.“I think they find all of that stressful and we’d like to take that part of the stress out of our system and be able to walk them to a death they didn’t know was coming,” Tammi said. “I feel the most justified in eating the meat when I know they had no fear, no pain, they were just alive and then they were dead.”
Tammi believes that some vegans are misinformed about the moral justifications of meat consumption, and this may affect the way they interact with meat lovers.
“Some people will draw an ethical line that killing is bad,” she explained. “But I don’t believe that – I don’t think killing an animal for consumption is unethical if it had a good life. Hats off to you if you don’t want to participate in any livestock production but try not to have too hard a go at those of us who are trying to restore landscapes with livestock and doing a much better job of it than your vegan impossible burger.”
- Rebecca Shepherd. Vegetarian Ate One Burger and Became A Butcher. Lad Bible. https://www.ladbible.com/news/food-vegetarian-ate-one-burger-and-became-a-butcher-20191029?c=1572348309820. Retrieved 29-10-19
- Charlotte Karp. ‘The penny dropped’: Meet the staunch vegetarian who became hooked on meat after eating a single burger – and then became a BUTCHER. Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7624757/Vegetarian-hooked-meat-eating-single-burger-BUTCHER.html. Retrieved 29-10-19
- Katie Hill. Meet The Vegetarian Who Became A Butcher. 10 Daily. https://10daily.com.au/news/a191029cstrv/meet-the-vegetarian-who-became-a-butcher-20191029. Retrieved 29-10-19
- Tammi Jonas. Official website. http://www.tammijonas.com/. Retrieved 29-10-19
- Animal Liberation (book). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Liberation_(book). Retrieved 29-10-19
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