Why I’m Vegan

Until mid 2002, I was a meat eater. I have always instinctively been opposed to cruelty to animals, as all decent and sensible people are, but didn’t know much about how food animals were raised or processed. I assumed humans had always eaten meat because it was natural for us to, and that food animals were raised on farms where they were fairly oblivious to their surroundings and only moderately inconvenienced until their swift and humane execution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Over 95% of animals raised for food are born, live, and die in horribly painful conditions. Pigs and chickens are raised in what are euphemistically referred to as “factory farms,” but the only thing about these hell holes that even remotely resembles a farm is that they are out in the country. Where consumers can’t see them. Laws have been passed by the U.S. Congress recently to consider breaking into such facilities and taking photos or videos a “terrorist act.” What does this tell you about what is going on inside modern animal agriculture facilities?

Dairy, veal, egg and pig farms are the worst. The conditions the 9 billion (yes, BILLION) animals that are killed for food each year in the United States live and die under are so horrendous, I haven’t the space to explain them here. Many would not believe me if I did. I’ve researched this thoroughly and have seen them for myself, but don’t take my word for it. Go to these Web sites:

LINKS:
www.farmsanctuary.org
www.cok.net
www.upc-online.org
www.WoodstockFAS.org

Still not convinced? Watch some videos of routine practices in the production of the food you’re feeding your family. If it’s good enough for your stomach, shouldn’t it be good enough for your eyes?

LINKS:
Meat Your Meat (www.peta.org)
The Witness (www.tribeofheart.org)
Life Behind Bars – The Sad Truth About Factory Farming (www.farmsanctuary.org)
Inside the Egg Industry (www.cok.net)

Another misconception I had was about the relative intelligence and awareness of farm animals. Since becoming vegan, I’ve met rescued “food” animals now living natural lives outdoors, and have even fostered many rescued chickens and roosters before placing them in a sanctuary. Once again, I was surprised by how wrong I was.

Cows, pigs and chickens are as smart, friendly and loving, as dogs and cats, and create friendships with other animals and people in much the same ways. Each has its own personality and its own set of likes and dislikes. If you think you’re an animal advocate because you care about saving dogs and cats in city shelters but still eat meat, think again. Food animals are just as bright, personable, and feeling as your pet and are being mercilessly tortured and brutally murdered every second of every day, purely for the sake of a mega corporation’s profits and your taste buds.

Consider yourself an environmentalist? Care about your planet, its water and air? If you still eat meat, you’re undoing all your recycling efforts a million times over. The devastating effects of Factory farming are well documented and the 2006 United Nations report “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options,” stated that the meat industry is “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems” and that “urgent action is required.”

And the real kicker is that it isn’t even good for us. Meat and dairy are major culprits in the majority of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a number of other major killers. (See “Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat?” on this Web site.)

There are so many good reasons to stop eating meat — your health, not subsidizing cruelty, the environment — and only one reason not to. It tastes good. One thing I’ve learned since becoming vegan is that there is almost no food I used to enjoy that I haven’t found a delicious and much more nutritious vegan version of. There goes the last reason.