This past Super Bowl, our country consumed 1.3 billion chicken wings. That’s 670 million animals slaughtered so people could mindlessly eat their appendages while watching 300 hundred pound men give each other brain damage and early Alzheimer’s disease.
Our voracious appetite for animal products has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. The consumption of meat is actually celebrated, with American holidays such as National Bacon Day and National Hamburger Day. With the recent announcement of processed meat as a carcinogen equally harmful as cigarettes, we are literally celebrating something that kills us, tortures animals, and is destroying the planet.
When will the madness stop? How long will it take to really sink in? All parents (I hope) would balk at the idea of giving their child a cigarette. But a piece of bacon, sure that’s cool. I mean, it’s sooooo good right?
It’s time to start thinking beyond our taste buds. I’m sure doing heroin feels really blissful, but we are all fully aware of the devastating consequences of drug addiction. Our society has done a pretty terrific job of hiding the grim reality of animal consumption, but those facts are finally coming to light. We need to pay attention.
Most people have no idea the depth of the horror that factory farmed animals face.
Last weekend I visited Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres and met a beautiful cow named Paulo. He was rescued after suffering a terrible injury. His side had been ripped open in an accident and his insides were, well, no longer inside. His guts literally spilled out of his body. The farmer who owned him decided surgery was too costly for his bottom line, so he stuffed Paulo’s guts back into his body and duck taped the wound shut.
Could you imagine someone doing that to a dog? They would be sent to prison for animal cruelty. Human beings shouldn’t get to decide which animals are pets and which animals are commodities.
Luckily, Farm Sanctuary heard about Paulo’s plight and they were able to rescue him and nurse him back to health. Today, he lives on a peaceful farm with other factory farm survivors, including goats, chickens, pigs, sheep, and even a llama.
For every happy ending like Paulo’s, there are hundreds of billions of animals that meet their end having only known a life of torture. Many are unable to see the sun, or even turn around for their entire lives, before being brutally slaughtered with no pain relief. It is a literal house of horrors for these sweet, gentle creatures.
The dairy industry is one of the cruelest of all. Did you know that female dairy cows are repeatedly raped by machines and forcibly impregnated, only to have their calves ripped away from them just after they are born? Over and over, calf after calf, taken because we like eating cheese and drinking milk.
Imagine the heartbreak. A baby calf gestates for nine months, just like a human baby. That’s nine months for a cow to bond with her unborn calf, knowing it will be born into a life of suffering. If you consider yourself a feminist, please consider this: no female deserves this treatment, regardless of her species.
Most of us are brought up to view certain animals as food, like cows, chickens, pigs, and fish. Their suffering on factory farms happens behind closed doors. We fool ourselves into thinking that meat can be raised and slaughtered “humanely.” The definition of humane is having or showing compassion or benevolence. Humane slaughter is an oxymoron. It just doesn’t exist.
In the US, we view China’s consumption of dogs and cats as cruel and barbaric. Meanwhile, our bacon obsessed culture completely ignores the fact that pigs are smarter than dogs, while in India, cows are viewed as sacred creatures, not food. It’s all relative. Animal cruelty is animal cruelty, whether it’s farm animals, beloved pets, or kidnapped orcas.
Think about it. We rise up in anger at the site of a beheaded lion (tragic indeed), yet turn a blind eye to the mass suffering that brings meat, cheese, and fish to our plates.
But wait, you might say. Leave fish out of this! Sushi is so good. I couldn’t possibly give up sushi. Well consider this: If our planet continues at our current rate of commercial fishing, we will deplete our oceans entirely by 2048. To everyone who eats more fish in an effort to cut down on meat, please don’t. It’s not helping.
The environmental impact of animal agriculture is more devastating than all air travel, public transportation and cars in the world. COMBINED. In addition to being more destructive to our ozone layer than fossil fuels, consuming animal products is a tremendous waste of resources. It takes 53 gallons of water to produce a single egg and a staggering 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
These are facts we can no longer ignore. The future of our planet depends on it. Even major news outlets are waking up to the truth, reporting that adopting a vegan diet could help slash carbon emissions by 70%. The World Health Organization and the United Nations both declared that a vegan diet could help end world hunger and reduce many preventable diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer.
Love animals? Go vegan.
Hate cancer? Go vegan.
Becoming a vegan can revolutionize personal health and save countless animals from slaughter. If that’s not enough of a reason to consider it, there’s also the simple fact that our planet cannot sustain global demand for animal products. We are killing the planet, one cheeseburger at a time.
Bottom line- being a vegan is no longer a radical or fringe idea. The radical idea is turning a blind eye to animal welfare, rising cancer rates, and the very future of our planet.
If you feel yourself reacting strongly against the idea of being a vegan, ask yourself why. What do you have to gain by holding on to your beliefs so tightly? If you’re not ready to make the switch all at once, challenge yourself to eat one vegan meal per day, then maybe one whole vegan day per week. There are many resources available to help the transition to a plant-based diet.
Eating plant-based food can be really easy and satisfying. I’m often amazed at what plants can become in the kitchen. Most of the recipes on this site are created with new vegans and transitioning people in mind. We want to help as many as people as possible become vegan or at least take steps in that direction.
When you cut out animal products, it’s like a whole new world of colorful, vibrant options come in to take their place. After a while, you’ll probably feel healthier and I guarantee you will feel better knowing you aren’t contributing to the suffering of animals and the destruction of our planet.
The future is vegan. At least it needs to be if we want to have one.