If you're thinking about going vegetarian, it's probably for a moral reason. And it's a great idea! Best thing I ever did.
Now I am not going to get all high and mighty and look down on those who eat meat. That's their choice. But here are some facts that might make you think twice before ordering that Big Mac.
Be advised, this is tough stuff! Some graphic discussion follows.
1. Factory farming is extremely cruel.
If anyone could walk into a factory farm and see the conditions within, I reckon most people would stop eating meat immediately. Or start crying. Or both.
According to many websites, including the ASPCA, animals in factory farms live in cramped, excrement filled environments that cause health issues galore. There is no such thing as "humane" conditions in factory farming. The whole point of factories is to produce a lot with less work... hence, lots of animals in a small space in order to get lots of meat product.
Here are some not-at-all-fun facts about factory farming:
- Chickens eat and sleep in their own poop. This creates an acidic environment where fumes burn their eyes, skin and throat.
- Pigs are trapped in extremely small spaces with no stimulation. Since they are naturally smart animals, the boredom and frustration leads them to bite at their tails. Farms will cut off the end of their tails and remove their teeth to prevent this behavior.... all without pain killers.
2. A lot of factory farmed animals will never make it to a year old.
That's right. Many, if not most, factory farmed animals will never have their first birthday before they head for slaughter. Cattle will be moved to a secondary location somewhere between six months to a year before slaughter. Young piglets are removed from their mothers after a few weeks.
As someone who likes to celebrate my bunny's birthday, this makes me incredibly sad. Every animal deserves the chance to have a long life - something the meat industry makes impossible for those in factory farms.
3. Factory animals are genetically altered for production purposes.
Did you know that most factory farmed animals have been genetically modified?
Chicken grow at an extremely abnormal rate, causing big health problems. Without going into gruesome detail about what happens (you can read it here), just think about the fact that you are eating unnatural animals when you eat your meat.
If that's okay with you, cool. It's definitely not okay with me.
4. The meat industry is seriously hurting the environment.
Anyone who has a pet has dealt with animal poop. That's just how it goes.
Now think about tons and tons of animals being fed a lot. Lots of poop, right? Well, where does it all go? Because I guarantee no one is in there with a doggy poop shovel, picking it all up for proper disposal. I don't have a solid answer for where exactly it goes, but I bet it's into nature. If you want to read more about that, these guys have some facts and answers.
5. By going veg, you stop contributing to the harming of animals in the meat industry.
Going vegetarian doesn't mean the cruelty stops. It isn't a magic fix. But it is a choice.
It is your choice to participate in the meat industry. It is your choice to buy the products (which used to be living, breathing animals!) from factory farms. It is your choice to ignore it all.
It's been over a year since I went vegetarian. I like to think I saved a number of animals along the way. I know I am not the solution. But I am not contributing to the problem. And that is my choice.