Investigating Animal Agriculture
I have just finished watching documentaries on health and environmental issues and it seems to keep coming back to one major issue. Animal Agriculture. The issue is that we are creating a demand for animal products so large that the world simply cannot sustain it.
No if’s or but’s – The Earth cannot withstand our current demand from it
We are a society of animal lovers. The internet is filled with cute pictures, memes and videos of our favourite pets doing the funniest things. We love our pets as if they were our children, our fur babies. We care for them, give them a loving home and would hunt down anyone who would want to hurt them.
But on the other hand, we want our burgers, chicken wings, kebabs & pizza and suddenly all our morals, all the love we have for animals goes out the window.
Social Media Contradictions
I see countless videos posted on social media about deforestation, saving water and becoming more eco-friendly. However all these are posted mainly by meat eaters. Ironically, the main cause of all these problems comes from our innate desire to eat meat.
Another popular topic of discussion is our conflict with governments. We are convinced they do not have our best interests at heart. All I hear is complaints about pay cuts, benefit cuts, rise in tax, the list goes on and on. But then we wholeheartedly believe them when they tell us meat and dairy are good for us, they belong in a healthy balanced diet. After all, they told us smoking was good for us once upon a time.
You must stop and think whether there is an ulterior motive going on here. Could it be that animal agriculture makes so much money the government wouldn’t want to end it? Could the big pharmaceutical companies be making so much money from selling antibiotics to animal agriculture that they wouldn’t want to stop it either. Who actually has our best interests at heart?
A fellow vegan has nothing to gain from asking you to go vegan. However, the animal agriculture business has a lot (and I mean billions) to lose. Who out of the two has the most money and influence to create propaganda campaigns.
Okay, okay I sound like a bit of a conspiracy nut here. So, what are the reasons people choose to keep eating animal products.
What will happen to all the Animals?
If we all suddenly went vegan tomorrow what would happen to all the animals? Isn’t it our duty to eat them all so that they don’t overpopulate the earth? This sounds like a crazy comment, but I actually hear it a lot.
Many many years ago this earth was flourishing with free animals. However, humans came along and decided to imprison them and use them for our own benefit. Therefore, we have in time created more animals for food consumption than actual human beings on the planet. 70 billion animals reared for food to 7 billion humans. And this still isn’t enough to sustain our demand for animal products.
What is the answer then, let’s inseminate some more? But where would they go, we don’t have the land or resources? Demand will keep rising unless we cut it off. Now.
The demand we have for animal agriculture is the cause of 91% of Amazon deforestation to date. We just cannot keep going at this rate. We cannot keep creating more and more animals purely for our consumption.
If we stopped playing God, the animal population would drastically decrease, and we would give the planet and ecosystem a chance to recover.
Animals are bred for our consumption
People tell me ‘but that is what they are bred for, they are alive because of us’. So, I ponder that question. How would I feel if I was born into that world? How would my life be?
“I am born onto a dairy farm and I am taken away from my mother, just a baby. As I am a girl I will be staying on the farm otherwise I’d be getting shipped off to either a veal or beef farm. Myself and others are stuck indoors caged up all day every day with barely enough space. I eat and eat so I get bigger and bigger. Others around me are getting ill so we are all getting pumped with antibiotics.
Before I know it, I am forcibly impregnated and once my baby is born she too is taken away from me. I am then connected to a machine which will milk me relentlessly. My nipples are sore, and I have developed mastitis. To keep producing milk I need to be impregnated again and again and again. Eventually, after years, I am so tired I can barely stand, I am exhausted from this life. The farmer comes and takes me away as I am no good to him anymore. I am heading for the slaughter house.”
I know it’s not always like that. Treatment on smaller farms varies but this is the case for mass production industries. Regardless, every single animal we bring into this world is brought into a life of slavery. We decide 100% what happens to them, whether they live or die. They have no freedom at all.
I’m not sure that is the kind of life they would choose to be born into. Would you if you had the choice? A life of imprisonment or no life at all.
Farmers will lose their livelihood
A lot of us have a guilt in the back of our minds about the farmers. The poor families who have owned farms for generation after generation. Whose blood, sweat and tears have contributed to their business and we are telling them to just give it all up.
However, there is no reason farmers need to lose their livelihood. We will not all go vegan overnight, there is time to transition as many have already. They could turn their fields into crops and grains. This would use substantially less water than what is needed to sustain livestock. This will also provide far more food for humans than animal agriculture ever will. Many have turned their farms into sanctuaries, many have retrained. There are incentives, help and information out there to help farmers transition. If we all opened our eyes a little there would be no reason anyone would have to suffer. Most of all the planet and ALL its inhabitants.
But Vegans eat Soy products. Soy plantations are destroying the rainforests.
I often hear that people don’t want to go vegan because we are contributing to mass deforestation.
“We are tearing down rainforests to plant Soybeans to feed all the vegans.”
But this is just not true. Of course we eat plants to sustain a healthy diet. However, the vast majority of plants and crops that are produced are solely to be fed to livestock. If we fed these crops directly to humans, we would have an abundance of food and would give the rainforests a chance to recover.
In some of the poorest countries where children are starving we have these massive crop plantations. These will go directly to feeding livestock. The meat produced will then be sold to wealthier countries. Imagine how the world would flourish if we fed this food to the starving.
Soy products have quite a questionable reputation. There are countless arguments as to whether it is healthy for you or not. In all my readings I haven’t found anything conclusive that has proven its impact on health. In any case, if you are trying to avoid soy in your diet – what do you think is being fed to that burger you just ate. You are not only getting second hand soy but also any extra hormones and chemicals the animal has been pumped with before it reaches your plate.
We need meat and dairy for a healthy balanced diet.
I’ve often wondered who came up with the ‘food charts’ detailing what we should all be consuming. I looked at the 2011 recommendations from ‘Chosemyplate.gov’. Lo and behold among their sponsors are meat, fish and dairy companies. They can hardly recommend we all go vegan with these kinds of sponsors supporting them! There are so many facts out there on how bad animal agriculture is on our health and on our planet, yet the big companies are drumming it into us that they belong in our diets.
The causes of cancer are well documented. We give lots of money understandably into charities and research looking for a ‘cure’ for cancer. This also gives Big Pharma the chance to test, produce and sell new miracle cures constantly. However not much resource is being given to research the effects of our lifestyles. Prevention rather than a cure. This is because no one will financially gain from it. Big Pharma also sell masses of antibiotics to animal agriculture. More than they do to the human population. Do you really think they want that income stream to be cut off? They have the power to influence governments, TV, ad campaigns etc.
Many protesters that went up against the big companies have been murdered. Over 1,000 activists have been killed in the last 20 years in Brazil alone.
So, going back to your health. Does meat really belong in a healthy diet?
- The number one product for saturated fat is dairy.
- Processed meat has been classed as a group 1 carcinogenic, the same group as smoking and asbestos.
- All cholesterol contained in food comes from animal products.
- 1 yolk is designed to feed a growing chick for 21 days.
- Cows milk is to grow a baby calf into a fully-grown cow as quickly as possible. Human milk contains nowhere near the amount of protein cows milk contains.
- Cheese (which is curdled breast milk from a cow) connects to the same receptors in the brain as heroin would connect to.
- Milk has been proven to have no effect on the strength of your bones. In fact, in countries where the most dairy is consumed the higher the osteoporosis rates are.
- Eating fish which includes PCB’s and mercury have a detrimental effect on your health.
- You are ingesting antibiotics from all the meat & dairy you consume, and your body is creating a resistance.
We are omnivores, we are supposed to eat meat, we have for thousands of years.
Yes, I agree there was a time we had no option but to look around us and survive on what we could. We did have to eat meat in situations of famine. But we are surrounded by endless amounts of foods, all year round. We have import/export systems in place with various countries, so we can consume a wild variety of foods from wherever we choose.
In fact, our bodies are not really designed to eat the amount of meat we consume. Regardless of popular arguments our teeth don’t have the same structure of a carnivore. Our canines would never be able to rip through the flesh of an animal. We need to kill, pluck and cook an animal first before we will even think of consuming it. Even then we complain when our meat is too ‘tough’ or too ‘pink’. We can make the grinding movement with our jaws whereas a pure carnivore only has the slicing motion.
Our intestines are long, like those of a gorilla, a fructivore. This is because it gives us plenty of time to digest our food consuming all its nutrients. A carnivore on the other hand has small intestines to quickly remove the rotting flesh they have consumed.
There are plenty of farmers and hunters out there that kill animals daily. However, have you ever participated? Could you kill a living animal? Honestly? Does that not tell you something?
We shield our children from the truth of how the cute piggy gets to our plate. Except for children who have grown up on farms, how do you think a child would react to seeing an animal get slaughtered and then fed to them? Most children see all animals as pets to be played with and loved. Most serial killers start by killing small animals, what does that say about us?
Without weapons we really couldn’t eat meat. We have no claws to rip, teeth to tear or stomachs to digest raw meat. It is after all dead rotting flesh.
But plants have feelings too
I won’t spend too much time on this argument as I believe it is just an automatic response from people. It’s said mostly in jest to deviate from the real issue. People really don’t want to know the hard truths because it makes them feel bad. Makes them feel like they are doing something wrong and have a responsibility to fix it. That means changing habits and no one likes that.
So as far as we know plants are not sentient beings. They do not have the brain function to make decisions independently or feel emotions like pain, happiness, fear and love. We also don’t kill all plants for food. Take an apple tree, the tree provides the fruit. By taking the fruit we are not destroying the tree. However, we could take the seeds from that fruit and plant more trees. What a great way to exist.
What if it gets proven that plants do feel pain?
If people really cared about how plants are treated, then they really need to take another look at animal agriculture. The majority of the plants, crops, grains & soy we produce are to feed the livestock we demand for meat. If we stopped this demand, the amount of plants we would need to consume would drastically decrease. Rainforests would no longer need to be chopped down to make space for grazing areas. Dead zones in seas would have chance to recover. We would have an abundance of food for the world at a fraction of what we are producing to feed our livestock.
There really is no argument with the ‘plants have feelings too’ discussion.
You can have everything in moderation
‘But I go meatless on Monday’
This is actually a great start but it cannot be your end goal. The only way we are going to survive this epidemic is if everyone’s goal is to go vegan. I know it is daunting, but the sad fact is that we are destroying the earth at such a rapid rate, there will soon be no earth left to save. What about your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren?
What if I told you that by switching to a plant-based diet you could:
- Drastically reduce climate change
- Drastically reduce your carbon footprint
- Give yourself a much healthier body
- Save more animals from a life of misery than you could know
- Give rainforests a chance to flourish again
- Help dead zones in our seas to regenerate
- Save more water than you ever could adopting current water saving choices
- Help to eliminate world hunger
Would you really say no because you like the taste of a burger too much? At what point are we going to get to before we realise we need a change. Will it be too late by then?
But what about my human rights?
This is an argument that I used to have trouble with. Who am I to tell someone else how to live their life. What business is it of mine.
At first I felt like I needed to speak up for the animals. They can’t speak up for themselves, someone needs to make a stand. Slavery, racism and sexism were once commonplace. It was the done thing. Generations after generations had slaves and they passed down these beliefs to their children and their children’s children.
When we look back at slavery and racism now, how barbaric does it sound. We are all equal right? Does it not seem plausible that we could look at speciesism in exactly the same way?
Going back to human rights. As I started to look at the detrimental effect animal agriculture was having on the planet I started to see that meat eaters are affecting my human rights. My right to live in a world free of climate change, toxic chemicals in the air, deforestation and water pollution.
This is not a human rights issue but a world rights issue. We need to look after the planet. It is the only home we have.
What are your reasons for not becoming Vegan. I would love to know so I can investigate the reasons further.