There’s a lot to be said about modern-day agribusiness and factory farming. . .and more than one reason to be concerned, especially if you choose to eat meat.  Consider this an introduction to a world that most consumers are sheltered from; an abyss to hell for the animals who must endure it and ultimately die in it.  The ramifications of our meat-eating society are many. . .significant harm to the environment, escalating costs of food prices, danger to public health, and extreme cruelty to animals.

If you consider yourself an environmentalist, you cannot do so and still eat meat.  Funneling crops and water through animals rather than using those resources directly is our country’s top way of wasting water and polluting.  More than half of all water used in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food.  A totally vegetarian diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.  Factory farms demand more water than all other users combined and produce 130 times as much waste as the entire human population of the United States.  Farming animals also requires more than one-third of all greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels used in the U.S. and has destroyed three-fourths of our topsoil, a permanent environmental catastrophe that can’t be corrected. It is predicted that we will begin to see the devastating fallout by 2050.  What are you planning to leave your children once we’ve ravaged the earth so badly that there is no solution, no turning around?  The future generation will have to deal with the aftermath of our actions and choices.

Meantime, let’s look at animal products from a health standpoint.  Animals (cows, pigs, veal, poultry) are injected with growth hormones.  Considering the fact that they would not ordinarily be able to continue to survive in their current filthy, feces-ridden, and unhealthy captive environment on the factory farms, dangerous chemicals are required, such as dioxins, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and even a toxic form of arsenic.  We eventually consume what the animals have ingested.  Germany currently has had issues with high levels of dioxin found in their meat products.  If you think the USDA is on your side, think again.  Random inspections have found feces in your meat, most likely from the kill floor of the slaughterhouses where your food has come from.
If the cancer-contributing chemicals alone aren’t reason enough to reconsider including animal products in your diet, how about the fact that there is no fiber in meat, but there’s certainly a boatload of fat which contributes to heart disease and obesity.  High protein diets only serve to make us fatter in the long run.  Only two percent of  vegetarians are obese, which is about one-ninth the figure for meat-eaters.

Keep reading, as the worst of this industry is about to be revealed to you. . .
The most compelling reason for eliminating living beings from our diets is the fact that factory farm animals (including fish) literally suffer to death.  They die piece by piece.  They are born and live in extreme confinement, overcrowding, filth and abuse.  They receive no veterinary care for their diseases or injuries.  They are tortured and eventually slaughtered in the most inhumane ways, due to the lack of sufficient laws or non-enforcement of existing laws.  The acts committed against them are so cruel, that if they were committed against dogs or cats, they would warrant felony cruelty charges in most states.  They are not afforded even the least bit of compassion that you’d think they deserve since they have been raised to sacrifice their lives for food.  How does one claim to love animals and to love their pet, yet turn around and eat a burger in the next moment?  Probably because most people don’t realize the ways in which factory farm animals are mistreated, and even fewer people witness the abuse or ultimate slaughter.  The general public would be appalled, as most people do agree that animals feel fear and pain.

In order to keep up with the demand for beef, pork and chicken, there is no way to maintain timely processing and still ensure that animals are stunned properly prior to their slaughter.  Consequently, pigs are submerged into scalding tanks while still alive and squealing; cows are dismembered and skinned while still breathing and feeling; chickens are dunked head-first into de-feathering tanks where they simultaneously drown and scald to death.  Not a pleasant thought or sight for us, but just imagine what they are going through.  In fact, my heart caught when I read about pigs who try to cuddle up to workers for protection before they are herded onto trucks headed for slaughter.  Those animals know what’s ahead and they are terrified and looking for a kind hand, even from those very workers who may have contributed to their suffering and are now forcing them to their brutal deaths.

If you think that “free-range” and “kosher” are any better, I suggest you go online and view Earthlings in addition to the other videos listed below with their links.

There are a number of excellent organizations that offer a vast amount of information about factory farm issues and are fighting on behalf of the animals’ welfare.  Among these groups are the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing.  These groups not only provide information and free literature, but actual investigative footage and reports that are hard to refute.  It’s easy to get guidance and helpful information from them, as well, about dietary choices that are so much better for us.

We can all  make a difference by cutting down or altogether avoiding flesh and animal byproducts.  Anyone can incorporate two days a week into their life to avoid all animal-related foods.  It’s good for our bodies, the planet, and animals.

Videos and links:

Earthlings:  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5403685606111090415#

Farm to Fridge:  http://www.chooseveg.com/animal-cruelty.asp

If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls (narrated by Sir Paul McCartney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTifP6idBPs

 – Annoula Wylderich

 
 

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