Vegetarianism: The case for not eating eating animals

Posted on: 13 September 2010 by Diane Priestley

There is a mountain of shocking evidence exposing the horrors of intensive factory farming. The case for 'going veggie' has never been stronger, but do we older Brits care?


There are four key reasons for “going veggie”: saving animals, saving yourself, saving others and saving the planet!

The moral decision to stop eating meat is a refusal to cause suffering and death to animals.

The volume of animals slaughtered for food has escalated over the last 30 years along with the rampant proliferation of fast food outlets.

According to UN figures, 57 billion animals are killed for food every year. The human population is only 6.8 billion. This staggering volume of animals including cattle, pigs, sheep, chicken, ducks, turkeys, fish and seafood is unimaginable and incomprehensible.

In the US, 10,000 animals every minute are slaughtered for food. Americans eat as much chicken now in a single day as they did in an entire year during the 1930s. In 2010, 8.5 million birds are killed every week to keep up the demand from KFC, McDonalds and other fast food chains.

In the UK, 850 million animals and hundreds of millions of fish are killed every year to put meat on British tables; that’s more than three million animals a day.

More than 90 per cent of meat consumed in developed countries comes from factory farms. And China and other developing countries are following the trend.

The cruel conditions in these intensive operations, run by a cartel of corporations, cause misery and pain to millions of creatures before they are subjected to terrifying and agonising deaths.

Food animals are considered as objects and money-making commodities, rather than living creatures that feel acute emotions and physical pain. Animals are sentient vertebrates; they have senses and a nervous system, just as humans do.

Viva! (Vegetarian International Voice for Animals) has produced hard-hitting films and graphic reports on the torturous treatment of farmyard animals including pigs, ducks, turkeys and lambs.

Nor is the dairy industry the idyllic picture of contented cows grazing in lush fields we might think

Emaciated, over-worked cows live in concrete pens, permanently pregnant, their calves traumatically removed days after giving birth. They are forced to produce 120 pints of milk a day from grotesquely swollen udders infected with excruciating mastitis. Milk containing high levels of hormones, antibiotics and pus can be sold legally.

The same merciless approach and economies of scale are now applied to fishing. A single trawler, the size of a football field, has the ability to haul 50 tons of sea animals in a few minutes on long lines that stretch for 75 miles and nets of 30 miles in length. The oceans are being emptied of marine life at an alarming rate.

Save Animals

The average British meat eater chomps through four cattle, 18 pigs, 23 sheep and lambs, 1158 chickens, 39 turkeys, 28 ducks, one rabbit, one goose, 6182 fish and 3593 shellfish in their lifetime. This is a total of 11,046 animals.

Becoming a vegetarian (meat and fish free diet) or even better a vegan (meat, fish, egg and dairy-free, plant-based diet) is the most effective, radical action an individual can take to boycott factory farming and reduce the slaughter of animals.

We get to protest against the horrors of factory farming three times a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have the power to change our meat-eating culture.

Save Yourself

Meat-eating is not actually necessary for human survival or health. There is a vast range of plant-based sources of protein and calcium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. Nutritious alternatives include legumes such as soya, lentils and chickpeas; nuts such as almonds and cashews, grains such as rice, oats, rye and wheat and seeds such as sesame and sunflower.

These days an appetising variety of meat-free, ready-to-eat products offer an easy alternative to meat. The humble soya bean is packed with protein, even more concentrated in tofu and tempeh and soya milk.

Staunch carnivores will tell you defiantly they simply like the taste of meat.
To justify mass suffering and killing for the trivial reason of satisfying taste buds seems immoral in the extreme.

Maybe some startling facts will spoil your appetite. In the book Eating Animals, the author Jonathan Safran Foer describes how chickens are dunked in water tanks he calls “faecal soup” full of filth and bacteria. Millions of contaminated chickens are shipped for sale to consumers.

Factory farmed meat is dangerous to your health. A meat-free, dairy-free diet is the healthiest diet possible.

Save The Planet

Factory farming is at the very root cause of environmental destruction. Rainforests are cleared for grazing; methane from livestock causes global warming; soil is eroded by cattle; slurry poisons waterways and the seas are laid to waste by overfishing.

Author Safran Foer reveals that American pig farms produce 72 million pounds of manure annually – that’s 130 times as much waste as the human population. Most of it seeps into rivers, lakes and oceans killing wildlife and polluting the air, water and land.

Pig effluent contains ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, cyanide, phosphorous, nitrates and heavy metals and 100 microbial pathogens that cause virulent diseases such as Pfiesteria.

In the face of global warming, loss of habitat, species extinction, the pollution of land, water and air and threat of super bugs, it is empowering to know you can actually do something real on a daily basis to stop the destruction.

Save Others

Meat-eating is the root cause of world hunger. While 750 million people go the bed hungry every night, one third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals. In India where millions of people still starve, 37 per cent of arable land is being used to grow fodder for animals that are being raised and killed for export.

A typical Western meat-based diet can only feed 2.5 billion people; a plant-based diet could feed every human being on the planet.

As a new Vegan, every day I feel empowered and good about myself for not participating in cruelty against innocent animals. I feel physically better for not having dead flesh inside me. I feel a new level of strength and vitality. And I feel determined to spread the message to Go Veggie.

To find out more about vegetarianism and animal welfare vist:

Read Eating Animals

Visit Viva!’s website

See Earthlings online

Order Food, Inc

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