Here it is, as promised, a post about my veganism.
I have been vegan for almost two years (two years in April to be exact) and know quite a few tricks on how to eat a healthy vegan diet. I have suffered through many not so vegan friendly situations such as band camp, Disney world, and the college dining hall, so I think I’m well qualified to create this post series.
First let’s start with why to go vegan in the first place:
The benefits are usually broken down into three main categories– ethics, environment, and health– though they are all interconnected. This post will focus on the ethics.
The number one reason most vegans state when asked, “Why are you vegan,” would definitely be ethics. Most people would agree that hurting animals is horrible– have you ever seen one of those abused puppy commercials and not shed a tear. The only difference is that vegans have taken off the metaphorical blinders that allow humans to feel sorry for dogs and not care about cows or chickens. Vegans no longer see farm animals as food, but as other sentient animals, like those dogs from the commercial.
First let’s talk about Chickens
Chickens are bred for two distinct tasks, one is the layer hens, the other is the one that you eat. Both jobs are very taxing on the hens. As a result, they tend to live very short and unhappy lives. When all the chickens are first hatched they are put on a conveyor belt and sorted out based on sex. The male chicks are thrown into a blender while fully awake because they’re not as useful to the meat and egg industry, although the female chicks do not fare much better. The female chicks then have their beaks seared off and their claws cut off.
The hens are either kept in battery cages or in dark, crowded sheds where they cannot even open their wings. The layer hens are drained from all the eggs they have to lay, and when their production begins to decrease they are killed. The other chickens are genetically engineered to grow at a much quicker rate than their hearts can support, so many of them die of heart failure. But, if they are not growing quickly enough, they are killed off in many cases.
When the remaining hens are shipped to the slaughterhouse, they are thrown off the truck and kicked inside. Then they are hung upside down by their feet and dunked into a boiling vat of water to defeather them. After, they have their throats cut and they struggle until they die of excessive blood loss.
The beef, dairy, and veal industries feed into one another. Firstly, dairy cows do not produce milk year round. They only produce milk when they are pregnant and after they give birth. This fact means that for humans to take the amount of milk that we do, the cows must be pregnant year round, so humans artificially inseminate the cows. After the cows give birth the calf is ripped away from it’s mother, so the calf does not drink the milk that was meant for it, and both the mother and the calf are left scared and crying for weeks on end.
If the calf is female she is sent to become a dairy cow, but if the cow is male, he is sent to become veal. This whole process is repeated until the mother can no longer produce milk. Then she is sent to the slaughterhouse. These cows tend to die prematurely, only living about five years when their natural lifespan is approximately twenty five years. Once the cow is in the slaughterhouse, she is shot with a shock gun and tied upside down. She has her throat cut while fully awake and bleeds to death.
Pigs are kept in small pens not able to move for their whole lives. The baby pigs are beaten and kicked in the head if they do not grow fast enough. When they are full sized, they are sent to the slaughterhouse and suffer about the same fate as the cows. They are shocked and strung up by their feet, and have their throats slit while fully awake.
You may be thinking, “I buy the humane meats,” but the animals still go to the same horrible slaughterhouses, and suffer the same pain (Bohanec). There is no humane way to kill. Killing is killing– it does not matter how the animal’s life was before the slaughterhouse. In addition, organic and free range farms are not truly free range. They stretch the meaning of the term because there is not much regulation on it. For example, chickens are kept in the sheds instead of in cages.
For more information on the ethical side of veganism click here
Make sure to stay tuned for the environmental reasons to go vegan.