In this article I hope to challenge the views and belief systems most of you may have in relation to healthy food consumption, our planet and most importantly, the ethical treatment of animals, the unforgotten victims.
My aim is not to become your enemy or to try and change your religion. My hope is that if only one person questions their habits, tastes and traditions, this piece will be worth writing.
I believe that animals qualify as “others” and as the well quoted saying goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, our animals have been enslaved. Can slavery be a word that is only used when referring to the human race? No. Slavery applies to any living creature that has been caged, trapped and made to do things against its will. Animal slavery is inhumane and wrong.
Is there such a thing as humane slaughter? Slaughter involves torture, dismemberment, suffering, fear, misery and pain. There is absolutely nothing humane about torture, rape, violence, molestation or slavery.
According to Cowspiracy trillions of land and marine animals are killed each year for human consumption at a cost to our environment and the welfare of these animals. People eat meat and dairy for four main reasons; habit, tradition, convenience and taste.
The Dairy Council of California, SFGATE and most Meat and Dairy promoters around the world,promote to us that, “Meat gives us protein and milk gives us calcium.” These are thought processes that have been engrained in us to protect the meat and dairy industries, often at the expense of our health.
The interesting thing is that most children have an innate ability to try and protect an animal from any kind of cruelty. As the video below clearly shows, children know instinctively what is right and wrong when it comes to the treatment of animals. However, this is before industry, government and profit taught us to ignore their pain, suffering, torture and misery. The same industries and governments who taught us to be so indifferent to animals, when we believed at a young age that they used to be our friends. These animals are innocent victims who have done nothing to us. Hatred in any form is a learned behaviour. A child does not make a decision to judge or hurt another by the colour of their skin, or whether or not they have four legs. This is learned behaviour.
The basis of all forms of discrimination happen when one group believes that they are more superior to another group. We are not more superior to the animal kingdom just because we happen to be more autonomous. In the same way that the Nazi’s were not more superior to the Jews, that whites were not more superior to blacks or that men were ever more superior to women. This form of thinking is naive and wrong in its foundation. We need to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. We need to defend the defenceless.
By ignoring any victim, it becomes very easy to ignore and justify cruelty and inequality. The easiest way to assess the suffering on our animal friends is to see it from their point of view. It only takes five minutes to try and understand how the victim feels.
On a daily basis we pass concentration camp trucks on our roads with terrified cows, pigs, chickens and sheep on the way to the slaughter house. Electric prods are used to make them enter their destiny, the slaughter house. Michael Pollen, a journalist who writes for the New York Times Magazine, gives a good account of what he witnessed upon entering a slaughter house. He says: “They enter against their will and they come out chopped up, murdered and dead. Do our animal friends really deserve this cruelty we are inflicting on them? It is time that we stopped feeling sad about this reality and actually do something to help stop the massacre of these innocent sentient beings. Individually we can make a difference.”
He continues: “If you want to leave your mark on this planet and prove your peacefulness, empathy and beliefs, then stop eating abused and murdered animals. We destroy their habitats, maximise their suffering and then we eat them.”
Humans produce no carnivorous or omnivorous instincts. We are all born vegan. The only reason we crave meat, cheese, milk and eggs is because we have been brainwashed to believe that they are good for us, thus acquiring a taste for them.
The Earth Shake Website is a good indicator of the essentials we can derive from fruit and vegetables. Protein, calcium and potassium can be found in the earth. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, beans and legumes cannot cause disease and they are good for you, but most importantly they do not harm anything else. The pesticide argument is irrelevant, because despite small vegetable and fruit concerns, the one and only source of e-coli is salmonella, found in animal and human waste. We do not need to eat what walks, flies or swims.
Bad cholesterol can only be acquired from milk, cheese, meat and eggs, no other source. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), believe that animal products are linked to heart disease. The body makes its own good cholesterol. Animal protein is too acidic for humans and one in three meat eaters is being diagnosed with cancer every year. When animal protein enters our systems, it makes our blood acidic instantly and our body has to work out how to neutralise this acidity to protect us. We use phosphate from the calcium in our bones to try and neutralise the acidity caused by animal protein.
Think of all your family members who are suffering from strokes, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers and osteoporosis. Apart from the air we breath and the water we drink, the one thing we in the west have in common is milk, cheese, meat and eggs. Though we can blame a little on environmental pollution, it makes sense to investigate our diets and work out why we in the west are suffering and dying from these illnesses and diseases, the west, where we have the highest intake of meat and dairy in the world.
We are hooked on cheese in the west. According to the Food Republic, one of the main reasons why vegetarians can’t go vegan is because they cannot eliminate cheese from their diet. We put cheese on everything, bread, pizza and even salads. We are attacked with TV commercials ramming cheese, milk, eggs and meat down our throats. We are also surrounded by health food shops offering us protein and calcium supplements. If we were getting all our essential vitamins from our animal friends, then why do we need all these supplements? A plant-based diet contains all the essentials we need.
One of the main reasons for world hunger is meat eating cultures. Most of the world’s grains are set aside to feed land animals that are killed to feed us. Please see the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, which claims that animal agriculture is the one industry that is destroying our planet and our ability to thrive on it. These crops could be used to feed the billions of starving people around the world, but instead they are used to feed land animals that become our dead food. The number one cause of environmental, water and air pollution, deforestation and green house gas emissions is animal agriculture.
Today, we are seeing so many more food options that taste like meat. Food options that have not caused anything else to suffer. We have soya, rice and tofu products. We have oat, soy, rice, hemp, hazelnut, almond and coconut milk. Meat is simply made up of blood, muscle, flesh, veins and tendons.
The dairy industry can be terribly cruel. According to PETA and many other animal welfare organisations, cows are tied down and inseminated with a steel metal prod, only to have their babies stolen so that we humans can steal their milk with machinery. The screams and bellows a cow makes when her newborns are taken from her are nothing short of horrific. Cows make milk for their babies and their babies alone, in the same way that we humans produce milk for our babies.
Did you know that an unfertilised egg is in fact a hen’s period? If you don’t believe me read this article. Meat eaters dine on severed legs, breasts, other mammals milk and other animal parts and you guys think that vegans are weird because they eat tofu, beans, lentils, rice, fruit and vegetables?
Whether it is the protein argument (ask the vegan elephant where he gets his protein from), the human incisors we were born with to chew meat argument (ask the vegan rhinoceros who has the largest incisors in the world) the “we have been eating meat since time began” argument (untrue, and anyway we don’t live in caves anymore, we have evolved. There is also a big difference between industry farming and a man running after his own prey with hand-made tools).
Just remember that if you take anything at all from reading this, know that these animals have never done anything to harm or violate us and the very least that we can do is return the favour. Together we can stop this unnecessary slaughter and suffering of these unforgotten victims. All we have to do is think, evolve, take off the blinkers and imagine life from their point of view.
For more information on Animal Welfare and Veganism, please see the following links.
Vegan Ireland, Vegan Green Planet, Vegan Outreach, or PETA. Read about Gary Yourofsky, a vegan and animal rights activist, journalist and lecturer who has achieved much success in raising awareness for animal welfare and the benefits of a plant-based diet worldwide.