I posted a status update on Facebook a few days ago about my excitement in preparing an all-vegan meal for hubby and I and got slammed by some dedicated meat-eaters. It seems every time I allude to my beliefs with someone as equally passionate about being a carnivore, I am met with someone uber-defensive and at times, rude.
While I believe strongly in maintaining a predominantly plant-based diet, I have never condemned anyone else for their food choices. It seems only logical that I would expect the same respect in turn. My only guess is that the reason for such hostility is based out of ignorance and misunderstanding. So for those who may be curious, here is the first of my reasons for going veg...
1. Concern for animals.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to throw red paint in your face for wearing fur. I'm not a PETA-fanatic and I don't believe that insects or vermin have the same feelings as people. I believe that humans have dominion over the earth and it is our job to care for it accordingly. However, this does not give us permission to do as we please and completely disregard the welfare of God's creatures.
The state in which animals are raised for slaughter is quite simply, deplorable. Pigs are confined to so small a space that they cannot turn around. They lie in piles of their own waste and develop sores from rubbing against the walls of their pen which leads to infections. To combat these infections and other diseases from such sad conditions they are daily fed huge amounts of antibiotics which make their way into our systems upon consumption.
Cattle don't fair much better. Rather than being allowed to graze on grass and a plant-based diet (which is what cows are designed to do) their meals are made up of a combination of corn, antibiotics and ground up animals that couldn't make it to market. Cows are herbivorous...they should not be eating any kind of animal! I won't even get into slaughter methods, but know that it ain't pretty..
Poultry, by far, has it the worst, however. From a young age birds are clipped of their beaks so they cannot injure one another when unbearable living conditions make them hostile and stressed. Chicks that are meant to lay eggs are separated by sex. The boy chicks which are utterly unuseful are disposed of in garbage bags where they either die by asphyxiation or by being trampled to death if they are unlucky enough to be at the bottom of the bag.
Chickens meant for consumption are kept in wire cages stacked feet into the air. The wire cuts into the chicken's feet and those on the bottom levels are showered by feces falling from rows above. They have no access to fresh air or sunlight and the smell/air pollution is so strong that poultry workers have to wear gas masks. Once again, I'll barely touch slaughter methods but know that birds who aren't killed by the first slit of the mechanized throat-slitting are either electrocuted, drowned or simply bleed out.
My apologies to anyone whose breakfast I ruined. Know that I don't condemn eating meat by any means! I just believe in eating ethically and sustainably produced products. Unfortunately 99% of the meat produced and virtually everything found on supermarket shelves is produced under the conditions listed above.
If you want a much better intro to factory farm conditions, check out these authors who do these animals more justice than I have: