Meet my Gardening Friend Ashley. 

I call her that because she loves gardening. 

Gardening Friend Ashley first commented on my blog post ‘When Food has a Face’. The article is about how supermarkets enable people to disconnect themselves from the reality of animal slaughter. In her comment, Gardening Friend Ashley explained that she grew up in Wisconsin, US with her parents. They lived well below the poverty line, and to survive they grew vegetables in their garden (then preserved them for the winter), they kept chickens for eggs and kept farm animals to eventually slaughter and eat. This was the way they had learnt to survive. Gardening Friend Ashley was in no denial that animals had a face, she had seen their faces and said goodbye to those faces when they were slaughtered. In her words, ‘respect the life and give thanks to it’.  

You’d think that would be the end of any relationship for me and Gardening Friend Ashley 😉  

I’ve never been in Gardening Friend Ashley’s position and as much as I can’t understand how someone could respect a life at the same time as taking it, I’ve never had to. Therefore, being from two different backgrounds, it is of no surprise that we feel differently about animals: I favour animal rights (the ideology that animals should have the right to live) whereas Gardening Friend Ashley favours animal welfare (the ideology that an animal should have a good life before they are killed for food). 

However, the two opposing sides of animal rights and animal welfare meet beautifully in the middle against one common enemy: factory farming.

Growing up with farm animals running around in her garden, Gardening Friend Ashley feels strongly against the captivity and animal abuse that happens on a daily basis as a result of factory farming. Sourcing meat and eggs from local farms can become expensive and as a result, she and her family are mostly vegetarian. If it weren’t for her husband’s aversion to vegetables, they might even have a few vegan days every now and then (she even went vegan for World Vegan Day 2018 when she made a vegan paella!). 

No matter how much we may disagree about animals, I appreciate that Gardening Friend Ashley grew up eating meat to survive. She is the only person I know that will buy her food at a local farm if she can afford it, otherwise she and her family will happily go without. I wish there were more people like Gardening Friend Ashley out in the world because, vegan or not, places like factory farms wouldn’t exist. 

Are you on the side of animal rights or animal welfare? Make sure your food choices reflect the side you’re on. 

If you want to find out how you can be more like Gardening Friend Ashley, then I’d recommend you start by checking out her mega blog here

Thanks for reading 💚