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“Bring Home the Vegan Bacon” for National Pig Day

“Bring Home the Vegan Bacon” for National Pig Day
holly kalynBy Holly Kalyn, Editorial Intern for Compassionate Cuisine

Pigs are friends, not food, and each year on National Pig Day, we have an opportunity to  celebrate and honor these social, intelligent, playful, and sensitive individuals. If given the chance, pigs will reveal their unique personalities and dance right into your heart like the resident pigs at Catskill Animal Sanctuary did mine. They may also roll over for a belly-rub. I challenge you to spend an afternoon with a pig and walk away without feeling like you have a new best friend. It’s virtually impossible.

holly
Pig introductions on my first day!

If you’re like most people though, you haven’t had an opportunity to interact with pigs like Amelia, Mary Francis, Franklin, Jasmine, Nadine or Mario. If you had, you would have realized how friendly and intelligent these animals are. Perhaps, you would have called Amelia’s name to see her come trampling toward you, faster than you ever thought  a pig could run. If it were a hot day, you might have seen Franklin sleeping in a wallow where the mud cooled his skin and acted like natural sunscreen. Or, if it were lunchtime, you might have heard the loud racket and squeals of joy that go along with a pig’s favorite activity…eating!

Unfortunately, few pigs enjoy these natural pleasures as compared to the billions that are “grown” to feed humans. These amazing creatures, whose intelligence is thought to surpass that of dogs and even 3-year-old children, live cruel and tortured lives. Females spend their lives in gestation crates so small they can barely move, while laying in their own filth, so that they can be repeatedly impregnated and kept still for feeding her piglets. Given the choice, pigs will never defecate where they eat or sleep, making the use of gestation crates one of the cruelest and most mentally distressing forms of animal abuse in the factory farm industry. When piglets are processed shortly after birth, their tails are chopped off, the ends of their teeth are snipped off with pliers, and the males are castrated, all without painkillers to ease their suffering.

A pig’s life is a miserable, painful existence. In the name of pork chops, pork belly, pork tenderloin, and our biggest obsession…bacon, pigs endure a level of suffering from birth to death that no compassionate person would find acceptable. Do you really want your choices to support such a system when there are so many delicious cruelty-free alternatives?

amelia
Amelia eats her greens!

On National Pig Day, there is no better way to celebrate the extraordinariness of Amelia, Mary Francis, Jasmine, Franklin, Nadine, Mario, and all pigs, than to acknowledge them as distinct individuals who have every right to their lives.  To demonstrate that there are cruelty-free ways for getting your fix of the smoky spiciness of bacon, we’ve rounded up these tasty options to buy or make.

Store-bought:

Lightlife Smart Bacon Veggie Protein Strips

These are salty, cook up in under 5 minutes in your frying pan, are made with non-GMO soybeans, and make a great addition to a chickpea salad sandwich.

Lightlife Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips (Fakin Bacon)

According to reviews, this is product has the closest flavor to real bacon, has a real smoky barbecue taste, and makes an incredible BLT.

Uptons Naturals Bacon Seitan

This thin-cut, smoky and reportedly life-changing product is said to get crunchy when cooked properly and adds a nice flavor to veggie burgers and sandwiches.

Home-made:

Shiitake Bacon

Perhaps the easiest way to get your fix. Chef Linda uses only shiitake mushrooms, olive oil and salt for a healthy bacon alternative.

Tempeh Bacon

Vegetarian Time’s simple crispy recipe for tempeh bacon makes 24 slices. It can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a few days before cooking.

Coconut Bacon

Cookie and Kate’s coconut bacon recipe uses unsweetened coconut flakes and is perfect as “bacon bits” on salad or anywhere else you would use bacon.

Buckwheat and Bean Bacon

With a keen understanding of America’s obsession with bacon, No Meat Athlete worked to create a “Finally-Perfect Bacon” using healthful ingredients like adzuki beans and wholegrain buckwheat!

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