Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs

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, have their sensitive beaks cut off with a hot knife, and are ground up alive in macerators.
  • Piglets are castrated and have their tails cut off without anaesthetic, and are left to be sick and die on concrete floors in horrifying conditions, while runts are “culled” by having their heads smashed against concreate walls.
  • Chickens are bred to grow so quickly their legs collapse.
  • Mother pigs spend their whole lives in gestation crates too narrow to turn around or even move in, often causing them to crush their own babies to death.
  • Animals are kept in airless, lightless sheds, filled with their own excrement, where their lungs burn from the ammonia in the air.
  • At the end, they are herded into killing rooms, where they get a bolt to the brain, which might stun them before having their throats cut open – or, in the case of birds, who enjoy no protections under the Humane Slaughter Act, get shackled upside down by their feet and get a spinning blade to the throat, unless it misses and they drown in scalding 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.

It's not any better for dairy cows or egg-laying hens, who live lives of unimaginable suffering, and are slaughtered when they stop being productive, usually by the age of two. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated to keep them lactating, and the babies are taken away at birth – and most of the the males sent to the veal pens, or just shot in the head and disposed of as “waste products”. Male chicks are also useless to the egg industry, so 7 billion baby male chicks are killed every year on the same day they're born – ground up alive by spinning blades while fully conscious or suffocated in bags.

More than 80 billion land animals, and at least a trillion sea animals, are killed (and tortured, and enslaved, and also raped) every year 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.

2) The Animals We Kill and Eat End Up Killing Us

3) Eating Animals Is Definitely Killing the Planet

Animal agriculture is responsible for:

4) A Plant-Based Diet Is Awesome

There's virtually nothing you can't have on a plant-based diet. Nothing.

Octuple-chocolate cake!
Octuple-chocolate cake!
Pizzas & giant calzones!
Pizzas and giant calzones!
Brownies, cakes, cookies!
Brownies, cakes, cookies!
Caribbean roti wraps!
Caribbean roti wraps!
Spicy sausage casserole!
Spicy sausage casserole!
Beyond and Impossible Burgers!

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 history of 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 192 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. (Expert, free help going vegan.)

  the planet     animal rights     health     veganism  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

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ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple by Michael Stephen Fuchs
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