Peace on Earth
Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhog, mice and fox by the million - in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative and fatal health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease and cancer.
So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year sends out cards praying for 'Peace on Earth'.
In 2001, 45 billion animals were slaughtered worldwide for human consumption. Latest figures indicate it has risen up to 55 billion. Each year, approximately 900 million (about 10%) of animals in the U.S. raised specifically to be eaten, never even make it to the slaughterhouse. These animals die prematurely because of stress, disease, handling, transportation and deprivation. Each year in the UK alone, more than 900 million animals are slaughtered for food. That's about 2.5 million animals killed every day; 100,000 an hour; 1700 per minute and 30 every second. This figure doesn't include fish, who are killed in such vast numbers that they are counted in tonnes.
Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service; Animal Aid
Farmed animals are sentient, complex, and unique. They are as capable of feeling pain and frustration, joy and excitement as those dogs and cats we welcome into our families, yet industrialised agriculture treats them merely as meat, egg, and milk-producing machines, instead of the living, sensitive beings they are. Just like those animals we consider to be our companions or those in the wild, these animals deserve our respect and compassion.
Young or baby animals are routinely slaughtered for human consumption.
- Pork - Piglets are taken away from their mothers at an early age (2-3 weeks). As a result, many die right then. When they are about 5 months old, they are slaughtered. For perspective, a pig's natural lifespan is about 15 years.
- Chicken - Chickens are sometimes slaughtered as young as three weeks of age. By 14 weeks of age, nearly all chickens (caged as well as "free-range") are slaughtered. Naturally, they'd live much longer, up to 10 years.
- Turkey - Turkeys are usually slaughtered at between 12-26 weeks of age.
Their natural lifespan is 10-12 years.
- Beef - Dairy cows are often slaughtered at about four years, sometimes while pregnant. Beef cattle are normally slaughtered between 9 and 14 months of age. The average lifespan for a cow or bull is about 15 years - some can live to 25.
- Lamb - Lamb comes from baby sheep under the age of one year. Baby Lamb or hothouse lamb is slaughtered at between 6 and 8 weeks of age and Spring lamb between 3 and 5 months of age. Sheep can naturally live up to the age of 15 years.
- Veal and Dairy - Veal comes from dead calves. The babies are a byproduct of the dairy industry. If people stopped drinking milk, veal production would likely end.
- Eggs - The male chicks in the egg industry are useless and so they are usually killed as babies. Often they are ground up alive, sometimes they are gassed, and other times they are smothered by each other when they're tossed into garbage bins.
Factory farming is the biggest cause of animal suffering in the world today. To find out what the life of a intensively farmed pig, dairy calf, battery hen, goose and wild caught ocean fish is like, read the following
What about honey?
Check out this comprehensive essay which explains why honey is not vegan: www.vegetus.org
Making The Connection
The Vegan Society and Environment Films have come together to produce a short contemporary film about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. With views on veganism from a wide variety of people, including chefs, an MP, atheletes, a dietician, environmentalists, stock free farmers and a poet, it's a recommended watch. Here in Chapter 7: The Animals, Benjamin Zephaniah explains how animals are exploited and caused to suffer to produce things that we don't need in the first place!
To find out more about the production and to view the whole film (all eight chapters), please go to: www.environmentfilms.org/EF/Making_the_Connection.html