The Issues: THE ANIMALS
Why Eat Plant-Based? For The Animals...
What is your answer to the question on the left? If you love both and you have already made the choice to be vegetarian or vegan thank you for your compassion for all animals. If you love one and still eat the other, ask yourself why. What makes us allow unspeakable torture to be inflicted upon one species, but not on another. They all have the capacity to feel pain - the desire to avoid death. They all have a strong will to live. Yet, by and large, we ignore their suffering.
For most people, their contact with animals is at least three times a day—breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once feeling, living beings are reduced to sausage, chicken nuggets, veal parmesan or any other number of dishes whose main ingredients, no matter what the recipe, are suffering and death.
We are so far removed from the living animals who end up on our plate that it can be easy to ignore or diminish their suffering. We intellectualize and rationalize: “That's what they are raised for.” “I won't eat veal, because they are only babies.” “There are laws to protect them, so they must be treated well.” “They're already dead, so why not eat them.”
Just because it is what they are raised for doesn't make it right.
The Veal/Dairy Connection
Just like humans, cows only produce milk when they are pregnant. To insure a steady supply of milk, female cows are kept perpetually pregnant so that they will lactate. In the dairy industry, cows and bulls never see each other or mate. Instead, cows are brutally impregnated with a mechanical device called a “rape-rack” and so the cycle begins...
Upon birth, calves are immediately taken from their mother so that her milk is not "wasted" on her babies. Instead she is mechanically milked to satisfy our hunger for dairy products. The females calves are sent away and raised to become more dairy cows and as for the males, they are destined for veal production.
Some are slaughtered immediately, others live for four months chained in tiny stalls where they can't move, turn around or ever go outside. They are fed a diet devoid of iron so that their flesh becomes soft and pink. Purposely made anemic, these calves become very weak. Their muscles atrophy and they can't stand nor walk. Disabled and malnourished, these babies are dragged to slaughter at only four months of age.
Millions of male calves are born to die so their mothers can produce milk. To truly boycott veal, boycott dairy products because “there is one calf in every glass of milk.”
The Chick/Egg Connection
The hens who lay eggs or are raised for consumption do not have it any better: they are de-beaked and confined together in tiny cages with wire bottoms inside for their entire lives, never basking in the sun or smelling fresh air. The ammonia smell from their feces and the din of their hopeless voices—hundreds of thousands in one building—is repugnant and disturbing, even to the chickens themselves.
At 8-weeks-old, those raised for their flesh are slaughtered. Egg laying hens ultimately are slaughtered as well once they no longer produce enough eggs.
So-called “free-range,” “cage-free” or “certified humane” eggs are a clever marketing ploy. “Free-range” birds may be on dirt, not grass and are still tightly confined. “Cage-free” birds are housed inside on the floor crammed together with thousands of other birds.
Hundreds of millions of male chicks hatched daily are considered an unnecessary “by-product” of the egg industry. Because these baby roosters can not lay eggs nor grow into chickens “fit for consumption,” male chicks are considered useless. Instead of knowing the safety and love of their mothers’ wings, these tiny balls of yellow fluff are ground up alive, suffocated, crushed and tossed in the trash. And undercover video about current hatchery operations, filmed by the advocacy group Mercy for Animals, can be seen here: Hatchery Video (download "Hy-Line")
Consuming eggs (as well as chicken meat) contributes to the grizzly deaths of these chicks. It's simple: If you don't consume eggs (or chicken meat), these chicks will not be hatched only to die.
We would not tolerate this treatment of our family/companion animals, so why should we tolerate this for “farmed” animals? How do we justify eating some animals and not others?
Does one have to witness the realities of factory-farming to be inspired not to eat animal-based foods?
Experience points to either extremely positive or extremely negative motivation to create a change in personal habits. Stretching our moral fiber and watching a video (negative motivation) can possibly help our resolve to change “for the animals.” We can then follow up with some truly positive motivation, feeling better and the knowledge that with every meal of delicious plant-based food we eat, we literally save a life.
“Most farmed animals are raised on factory ‘farms,’ where they spend their entire lives in cages or crates so small that they can not even turn around. Farmed animals are not protected from cruelty under the law. In fact, the majority of state anti-cruelty laws specifically exempt farm animals from basic humane protection—so abandoning a sick animal on a pile of dead animals is considered ‘normal animal agricultural’ practice. Farm animals are living, feeling animals, not agribusiness commodities.” —Farm Sanctuary
These links explain and show what happens to animals raised and slaughtered for human consumption. We encourage you to view them and not turn away. It is the reality that these animals face every day, and eating a meat-based diet contributes to that suffering.
Unfortunately, many people choose to look away or not subject themselves to these images. Others will look and choose to change their eating habits so they can no longer be the cause of such suffering. We hope you will fall into the latter category.
For more information on this topic, contact Food for Life at 732-446-6808 x: 101 or via email. Food for Life is here for YOU—to encourage and support you in transitioning to a plant-based, healthy lifestyle. We offer assistance with nutritional guidelines, recipes, presentations, workshops, email tips and consultations. Be sure to ask for our free Veggie Starter Kit!
- Animal Protection League of New Jersey
- Send me my free VEGGIE
Food for Life is a program of Animal Protection League of NJ (APLNJ), a NJ registered charity since 1983. A community service organization, APLNJ endeavors to make the world a better place for animals and people. The Food for Life program strives to improve the public’s health by promoting plant-based vegetarian eating that is good for people, animals and the environment.