On the shelf in the meat market?
By Tabitha Dean
Vegan/Vegetarianism. This is a choice that only benefits our bodies, our minds, our souls and our planet. It is an offering to the values of peace, non-violence, compassion and environmental preservation.
Approximately 750,000,000 animals and 650,000 tons of fish are slaughtered each year for food in Britain. In the US 10 billion animals (not including fish) are killed each year for food consumption. It's higher than the total number of people on the planet, yet more than a third of the world goes to bed hungry each night.
Several reasons why vegetarianism can be a great life choice:
AHIMSA (non-violence). “The life of an animal in a factory farm is characterised by acute deprivation, stress and disease. Hundreds of millions of animals are forced to live in cages or crates barely larger than their own bodies. Unable to groom, stretch their legs, or even turn around, the victims of factory farms often exist in a relentless state of distress.” Humane Farming Association.
More than 300 million baby male chicks in factory farms are systematically, senselessly and needlessly killed every year by the egg industry, because – as males -- they are “useless” at laying eggs. And the chickens that stay alive are selectively bred and genetically altered to produce bigger thighs and breasts as these parts are most in demand. This breeding creates birds so heavy that their bones cannot support their weight and to prevent fighting or attempted escape their beaks and toes are cut off.
Many pigs live a life without ever seeing daylight, others are used as living breeding machines. Pigs are born and raised inside buildings that have automated water, feed and waste removal. Dust, dirt and toxic gases from the pigs' waste create an unsanitary environment that encourages the onset of a number of diseases and illnesses, including pneumonia, cholera, dysentery and trichinosis.
Piglets are often taken away from their mothers when they are less than 1 month old; their tails are cut off, some of their teeth are cut off, and the males have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castration), all without any pain relief. They spend their entire lives in overcrowded pens on a tiny slab of filthy concrete. more than 170,000 pigs die in transport each year, and more than 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse in the US alone.
Breeding sows spend their entire lives in tiny metal crates so they cannot turn around. Shortly after giving birth, they are once again forcibly impregnated. This cycle continues for years until their bodies finally gives up and they are sent to be killed.
Veal Calves : Calves are kept in small wooden crates which prevent movement and inhibit muscle growth so their flesh will be tender. They are fed a iron deficient diet to keep their flesh pale and appealing to the consumer. Veal calves spend whole his life confined, alone and deprived of light for a large portion of their four-month lives.
Beef : Most beef cattle spend the last few months of their lives at feedlots, crowded by the thousands into dusty, manure-laden holding pens. The air is thick with harmful bacteria and particulate matter, and the animals are at a constant risk for respiratory disease. Before they are hung up by their back legs and bleed to death, the cattle needs to be rendered unconscious. This 'stunning' is usually done by a mechanical blow to the head, but as the procedure is terribly imprecise, adequate stunning isn't always achieved. As a result, conscious animals are often hung upside down, kicking and struggling, while a slaughterhouse worker makes another attempt to render them unconscious. Eventually, the animals will be "stuck" in the throat with a knife, and blood will gush from their bodies whether or not they are unconscious.
"The pain a fish feels when she's hooked is like dentistry without Novocaine [anaesthesia]." Dr. Tom Hopkins, Professor of Marine Science, University of Alabama, USA.
Food is a major source of the body's chemistry, and what we ingest affects our consciousness, emotions and overall well-being.
HEALTH. When an animal is about to be killed, its body is flooded with stress hormones which remain in the animals’ tissues. So, when we eat those tissues, we are ingesting those hormones.
Animal foods are higher in fat than most plant foods, particularly saturated fats. Plants do not contain cholesterol. There is also the danger of consuming high quantities of agricultural chemicals and livestock drugs. Being higher on the food chain, animal foods contain far higher concentrations of agricultural chemicals than plant foods, including pesticides, herbicides, etc. And there are over 20,000 different drugs, including steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones and other veterinary drugs that are given to livestock animals. The dangers in secondary consumption of antibiotics are well documented .
“In regions where meat is scarce, heart disease is almost unknown.” Time Magazine
LIFE. Each day 40,000 children starve to death and the number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year is around 20 million.
Every day the US alone produces enough grain to provide every person on earth with more than enough food yet at least 80% is grown to feed livestock. It takes around16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh. If the US reduced its meat intake by just 10% 100 million people could be fed.
ENVIRONMENT. For each hamburger made from rainforest beef, 75 kg of carbon dioxide is released into the air. This is the equivalent of driving a car all day long for many days. It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein; 35 calories for 1 calorie of pork; 22 calories for 1 of poultry; but just 1 calorie of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of soybeans. It takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein so by eating plant foods instead of animal foods it helps conserve our non-renewable sources of energy as well as water.
A United Nations report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow concludes that eating meat is "one of the ... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. The report concludes that the meat industry "should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity."
Albert Schweitzer "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies."
Albert Einstein "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
Leo Tolstoy "If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because ...its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling - killing."
Charles Darwin "There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties...The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery."
Leonardo da Vinci “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
Thomas Edison “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
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This article was posted by Tabitha Dean