The Case Against Eating Animals
Here it is, in four bullet points and four minutes.
1) We Torture the Animals We Eat Before We Kill Them
Most people like animals, and don't want to hurt them. Yet more than 95% of the meat you eat is produced on factory farms. The meat industry shows us pictures of happy cows in fields, but the reality is:
- Baby chicks are crushed on assembly lines, and ground up alive in macerators.
- Piglets are castrated and have their tails cut off without anaesthetic.
- Chickens are bred to grow so quickly their legs collapse.
- Mother pigs live in gestation crates too narrow to turn around or even move in.
- Animals are kept in giant, airless, lightless sheds, filled with their own excrement.
- At the end, they are herded into killing rooms, where they get a bolt to the brain or, in the case of birds, who enjoy no protections under the Humane Slaughter Act, get shackedled upside down by their feet and get a spinning blade to the throat, unless it misses and they drown in boiling water.
Here's what all of that looks like:
If you saw any of these things being done to a dog or cat who are indistinguishable from pigs, cows, and chickens in intelligence, sociability, and cuteness (pigs play video games, cows have best friends, and literally nothing is cuter than baby chicks) you would body-tackle the person doing it, he or she would be arrested and imprisoned, and everyone would applaud. There can be no possible justification for loving and cuddling some of these animals, and torturing and killing others, other than declining to think about it too hard.
More than 150 billion animals a year are killed (and tortured, and enslaved, and also raped) for food, which is industrial violence on an unprecedented scale. The impossibility of ignoring this forever, or pretending it isn't happening, may be why veganism is the fastest growing social justice movement in the world.
It's not any better for dairy cows or egg-laying hens, who live lives of abject misery, and are slaughtered when they stop being productive, in adolescence. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated to keep them lactating, and the babies are taken away at birth causing massive distress to both mother and baby and most of the the males sent to the veal pens, some just shot. Male chicks are also useless to the egg industry, so 4-6 billion baby male chicks are killed every year ground up alive in macerators or suffocated in bags.
- Dairy cows, who are treated like milk machines, have to be kept pregnant to be kept lactating. (Here's what that looks like like rape.)
- Their babies are taken away from them at birth, which is traumatic for both of them, and the males sent to the veal pens.
- Most egg-laying hens live 10 to a tiny cage, the wire bottoms of which destroy their feet, in lifelong abject misery.
- Male baby chicks are useless for egg-laying, and are ground up alive in a macerator.
- Both hens and cows are slaughtered when they stop being productive about 1 year for hens (natural lifespan: 6 years) and 3 years for dairy cows (natural lifespan: 15 years). They die as abused adolescents.
2) The Animals We Eat End Up Killing Us
- The World Health Organization has ranked processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen (same category as cigarettes and asbestos).
- Meat contains high levels of antibiotics, hormones and steroids, faeces, pathogens such as E. coli and campylobacter, and antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
- The leading cause of death in the West is heart disease and a plant-based diet is the only one shown to reverse heart disease.
- Poor diet in particular one low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds causes 1 in 5 deaths worldwide, and is now the leading cause of death in America.
- Increasingly, the medical establishment agrees that a plant-based diet is the healthiest and research shows it reduces risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
- No, you don't need the protein.
3) Eating Animals Is Definitely Killing the Planet
Animal agriculture is responsible for:
- 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, greater than all transportation combined.
- 60% of all deforestation and biodiversity loss, including in the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and the Himalayas.
- A third of all fresh water use, while fresh water is running out and billions face water scarcity.
- Destruction of aquatic ecosystems, ocean dead zones, methane emissions, use of fossil fuels, environmental pollution due to animal waste, and mass extinctions (according to Wikipedia).
- This is all because it takes nine times the land, water, fuel, and pesticides to produce a calorie of flesh as a calorie of plants.
- The effects are so acute, that cutting out meat and dairy is actually the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact.
4) A Plant-Based Diet Is Awesome
There's virtually nothing you can't have on a plant-based diet. Nothing.
||Pizzas & giant calzones!
||Brownies, cakes, cookies!
|Caribbean roti wraps!
||Spicy sausage casserole!
A whole world of food awesomeness will open up to you.
If we define evil as that which causes suffering, then raising and killing animals for food is, by a wide margin, the greatest evil in the world. It won't go on forever, and we'll be very ashamed looking back. But, right now, you have it in your power to personally save about 200 animals a year (from lives of unrelenting agony and violent death), while massively reducing your environmental impact, hugely benefitting your health, and eating like a king. The choice is yours.