I’m asked all the time, why are you vegan? Usually, I try to keep it simple with a concise answer, but here’s a little more detailed explanation in case you have ever asked anyone the same question:
It’s funny – when you finally wake up to the horrors of animal agriculture, and the dairy and egg industries, you wonder why it took you so long! You also wonder why no-one else around you seems to have woken up to it yet! This is how it was for me when I went vegan in November 2015.
I had been vegetarian (well, actually, pescatarian to my later chagrin) for 25 years up to that point and had been thinking about veganism for some time. Like many veggies, I was proud not to eat meat and thought that there was no animal death involved in consuming eggs and dairy, but in recent years was slowly waking up to the fact that that is simply incorrect. The dairy industry IS the meat industry and there is death and exploitation involved at every stage: for both the mothers and their babies.
If, like me (and many other vegans before making the transition), you are not aware of what goes on behind closed doors on farms or slaughterhouses, here are some simple facts that I believe everyone should know and then you can make an informed decision about what you consume:
- Most animals are just babies when they are killed for their meat and at just a tiny fraction of their natural life spans: chickens, for example, are bred to grow extraordinarily large in a short space of time and are slaughtered at just 5-7 weeks of age
- Every animal fights for his or her life until the bitter end when they are slaughtered. They are lined up, can see what is coming, yet have no means of escape. Some scream for mercy. Some cry. Humans take the one precious thing they have: their one and only life
- Cows are artificially inseminated via a metal rod in their vagina on what is known in the industry as a “rape rack”. Each cow has a 9 month pregnancy before giving birth to her calf. That calf is usually separated from his/her mother within a day or two so that humans can have her breast milk instead. What happens to the baby depends on their gender:
– If she is a girl, she will be forced into the same life as her mother: repeated pregnancies (one a year) until she is spent at about 5 years old at which point she will be slaughtered. A cow’s natural life span is 25 years
– If he is a boy, he will either be shot (the most cost effective option for a farmer) or chained to a small hutch (a bit like a dog kennel) and sent to slaughter after about 4 months for veal
- Hens are bred to lay an unnatural amount of eggs (they would usually only have 2 or 3 clutches of eggs a year naturally)
- Every male chick hatched (about half of all chicks) is seen as a waste product by the egg industry. They are generally either gassed or ground up alive at a day old
I know this isn’t easy reading, but I am not trying to shock or upset you. I am simply giving you the facts. Hideous facts that you would not want to tell a child, yet most of us happily feed our children the products of these horror stories.
More and more of us are turning away from this and refusing to support these terrible, immoral practices. The key is research: find out all you can about the exploitation of animals, not just in animal agriculture, but also in all other areas of life (such as fashion, cosmetics, home furnishings, cleaning products, scientific research) and you will know for yourself why I and many millions of people across the country and the world are vegan and are encouraging others to follow suit.
Let’s start doing your bit for the world. Donate a little.