Like most people, I grew up eating meat. Typical Western diet: lots of fast food, burgers, barbeque and steaks etc. Of course I ate a lot of greens as well, but meat was definitely a large component of my diet.
Until I saw the videos.
Until I got educated.
What do you think of slavery? No doubt you are morally opposed to the enslavement of thinking, living, creatures. With their agency stripped from them, with no rights, forced to do hard labor for no reward at the threat of severe physical punishment up to and including death.
How would it feel to live like that? Have you no empathy?
The conditions that these animals endure before being led, mechanically, to their deaths, is nothing short of appalling. Line up, one by one, put on a conveyor belt, endless, until it’s their turn, and a metal bolt is blasted through their skull, piercing the skin, flesh, and bone; a death equivalent to a bullet to the head. A cold blooded execution.
I take it back. It’s not even slavery, it’s a holocaust. An animal holocaust, mechanized, ruthless, and cold.
The question is this: are humans inherently superior to other animals due to our greater intelligence? Do animals not feel pain and fear, just the same as we do? What are our rights over them?
I know what people will say: the food chain is part of nature and we are at the top of the food chain, baby!
Let me counter with this: the fact that we are more cognitively blessed actually justifies us being vegetarian. Our higher order of thinking comes from our prefrontal cortex, and that is where our morals and view of the world comes from. From there, we can generate a sense of empathy; empathy for other living beings and a desire to for us to stop inflicting suffering and pain on fellow animals.
Some Darwinian purists argue that as our advanced intelligence is our evolutionary advantage, we should exploit it to the highest level possible; something members of our population has unfortunately been doing. Physically, we are no match for most animals, so we invented tools and weapons. With wide scale agriculture and farming, we removed the need for hunting, and thus the early versions of modern factory farms were invented.
On a more globalized scale, meat eating and the associate agriculture is a main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental damage. Globally, the livestock sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution (through animal waste products), and loss in biodiversity. Intense livestock production requires large amounts of animal feed (It takes seven pounds of feed to produce a pound of beef (live weight), compared to more than three pounds for a pound of pork and less than two pounds for a pound of chicken; and even this amount varies by the quality of feed) as well as large amounts of water.
Is being a vegetarian inconvenient (I still eat eggs and dairy)? Certainly less convenient than being able to eat meat, but if you live in the USA, it is barely even an inconvenience! Particularly if you are in a major city.
But, but what about my protein, brah? Simple: Nuts, Milk, Quinoa, Eggs, Tofu, and there’s of course protein supplements as well.
Sorry for the above rant, but this is an issue I feel strongly about. Yes, I know this is the first blog post; I promise that future posts will be less preachy and more about sugar, spice, and everything nice!