You probably visited this website for the ‘80s music, but please take the time to explore the pages about the animals and veganism. My primary intention in creating this website is to speak up for animals who are exploited and killed for human food. My goal is to do what I can to raise awareness about what these animals endure, in order to end their suffering, exploitation, and slaughter.
Vegans care about all animals, but this website primarily focuses on exposing the truth about the harm and violence that humans inflict on so-called “food” animals because these animals suffer the most, for the longest duration, for their entire lives, and in the greatest numbers. The animal agriculture industry considers these farmed animals nothing more than resources and commodities to exploit and slaughter for profit.
ANIMALS WHO ARE EXPLOITED AND KILLED FOR HUMAN FOOD
Revealing the atrocities that farmed animals experience will have the greatest impact in decreasing animal suffering and violence overall. Please do not confuse facts with judgment or condemnation, and please investigate the claims on this website for yourself. Sometimes facts can be difficult to process and to accept, especially when they cause us to feel emotional and upset when we realize what we have been unknowingly supporting.
Being vegan is not just about food choices, but food is the main aspect of living vegan. The chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks, fish, sheep, and other animals who are exploited and slaughtered to create and become human food suffer more, longer, and in the greatest numbers, compared to animals who are abused and killed for clothing, cosmetics, lab experimentation, circuses, theme parks, etc.
Hidden away from the public, these animals are suffering victims who endure more pain and misery than most humans could even imagine. These animals need allies to speak on their behalf. I created this website for them.
CHICKENS, COWS, PIGS, TURKEYS, DUCKS, SHEEP, AND FISH
Humans use and kill animals for many reasons and in many industries, but the “food” animals represent over 99% of these abused, suffering, emotional beings. Animal Charity Evaluators, a United States non-profit organization, estimates that of all land animals who are used and killed by humans in the U.S., over 99.6% are farmed animals, bred to produce and become human food. The remaining 0.4% represents all other categories, such as clothing, laboratories, circuses, theme parks, shelters, etc. All of the animals in these other industries don’t even add up to HALF A PERCENT of the total of animals who are confined and killed by humans every year. For example, for every single dog or cat who is euthanized in a shelter, about 3,400 farmed land animals are slaughtered.
Over 9.76 billion land animals are raised and killed for food every year in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Slaughter 2020 Summary and Poultry Slaughter 2020 Summary.
In other countries, dogs and cats are considered “food” animals, as are many other species, but in the United States, the land animals who are primarily slaughtered for food are chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, ducks, and sheep. Because of their small size, chickens account for 95.5% of land animals slaughtered for food in the U.S., followed by turkeys (2.5%), pigs (1.3%), cows (0.4%), ducks (.3%), and sheep (.07%), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Note that birds represent over 98% of land animals who are killed for human food in the U.S.
Animal Charity Evaluators also estimates that of all U.S. donations to animal charities, only 0.8% goes specifically to farmed animal organizations. The farmed animals are suffering and being slaughtered in astronomical numbers, but they receive a very, very low and disproportionate percentage of charitable funding for animals.
Over 6.3 million land and aquatic animals are slaughtered for human food every HOUR, just in the U.S. That’s 1,758 every single second, mostly fish and birds. To see how many animals are slaughtered for human food worldwide every second, visit Animal Slaughter Counter.
The meat, dairy, and egg sectors of the animal agricultural industry are really just one behemoth industry because they work together supporting each other. The dairy and egg industries sell their “nonprofitable waste” to the meat industry. The male babies who are born to egg-laying hens and dairy cows are considered “nonprofitable waste” because males cannot produce milk or eggs, which makes them worthless to these industries. The egg-laying hens and dairy cows themselves also become “nonprofitable waste” when their decline in milk or egg production renders them worthless too. They are ultimately slaughtered after enduring misery and exploitation for their entire lives.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), 920,00 shelter animals (mostly dogs and cats) are euthanized every year in the U.S. According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), 9,759,470,500 farmed land animals are slaughtered for food every year in the U.S. That means that in the U.S., for every dog or cat killed in a shelter, 10,608 “food” animals are killed. And that number doesn’t even include animals who are killed for clothing, cosmetics, experiments, or entertainment, nor does it include fish or other aquatic animals.
The number of aquatic animals is difficult to calculate because they are measured by weight, but an estimation is that nearly four trillion fishes and over 43 trillion shellfishes are killed annually for human food—just in the United States alone. Entire species of fishes are on the verge of extinction to satisfy the demands for “seafood,” and for “fishmeal” that is used to feed other animals who are bred and raised to become human food.
As fish are hauled into boats from five-mile-wide nets that drag up everything and anything from the ocean floor, they are dumped into tanks in the hull where they slowly die, suffocating and crushing the thousands of fish underneath them.
There is an abundance of evidence that fish feel pain and suffer just as much as other animals. Fish have central nervous systems, and they are sentient. Visit Fish Feel for more information. The FISH AND SEA LIFE section below has more information about aquatic animals.
After aquatic animals, the most abused animals on earth by number are chickens. Each year over 50 billion chickens are slaughtered worldwide. In the U.S., over 9.3 billion chickens are slaughtered every year. That’s 25.6 million chickens slaughtered every single day in the U.S. alone.
For more information on animal slaughter totals, visit Animal Clock.
BILLIONS OF ANIMALS HIDDEN AWAY
The animals who are exploited and killed for human food endure extreme, prolonged suffering and violence that is totally ignored by the mainstream media. Why? Because the animal agriculture industry funds the media! As living beings, these animals are rarely mentioned or seen (unless in animated media for children or deceptive marketing advertisements). Keeping the animals hidden away is the goal of the meat/dairy/egg industry. You may not even think about chickens, cows, pigs, ducks, sheep, and turkeys as suffering individuals because you don’t see them—out of sight, out of mind.
Worldwide, nearly 83 billion land animals are killed for human consumption every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In the United States alone, over 9.76 billion land animals are slaughtered for food annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But how often do you see any of these billions of farmed animals? A comparatively low 48 million dogs are in the U.S., and we see them often. The U.S. human population is 334 million. The world’s human population is 8 billion. We see humans and dogs everywhere we go, but we don’t see these tens of BILLIONS of suffering farmed animals?
Because we are prevented from seeing these animals, the animal agriculture industry is allowed to abuse and torture them without regulation or public outcry. When investigators, whistleblowers, and undercover activists expose the unimaginable abuse and violence on these farms of all sizes, and in slaughterhouses via eyewitness testimony and video footage, the animal agriculture industry dismisses these claims as “isolated instances.”
Most people have no idea how farmed animals are treated, and they don’t want to know. They are obviously conflicted because they look for “feel-good” labels such as “humanely-raised,” “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and “cage-free.” These misleading labels can soothe a guilty conscience, but they are actually just marketing scams that fool people into participating in horrendous violence for taste pleasure and convenience. The animal agriculture industry wants us to stay focused on the end product in the package or on the plate, disconnected from the actual living beings who suffered.
ONE MONSTROUS EVIL INDUSTRY
The meat, dairy, and egg sectors of the animal agricultural industry are actually just one behemoth industry because they work together and profit from one another. The dairy and egg industries sell their “nonprofitable waste” to the meat industry. That “nonprofitable waste” includes male chicks who are born to egg-laying hens, male calves who are born to dairy cows, and the egg-laying hens and dairy cows themselves when their decline in milk or egg production renders them worthless to the industry. This is why claiming to be an “ethical vegetarian” makes no sense, because the meat, dairy, and egg industries are inextricably connected: Vegetarians actually support the meat industry.
To prevent the public from becoming aware of the horrendous abuse and violence, the meat/dairy/egg industry lobbies and pays off government officials to pass legislation that keep it all hidden (via “ag gag” laws)—because if most people become aware of what happens to these animals, much of which is legal and standard, they will be outraged. The multi-billion-dollar meat/dairy/egg industry has been very successful in hiding the horrifying reality of what these animals experience, but the truth is finally being exposed.
STANDARD PROCEDURES ON FACTORY FARMS AND SMALL FARMS
Contrary to what many people might believe, over 99% of animals who are exploited and slaughtered for food in the United States come from factory farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, which is released every five years. Factory farms, also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are industrial monstrosities that imprison thousands and even hundreds of thousands of animals.
Many people want to believe that the meat, milk, and eggs that they purchase come from small family-owned farms where the animals are treated well, but based on the USDA data, only a minuscule fraction of animals used for food come from small farms. By species, approximately 70.4% of cows, 98.3% of pigs, 99.8% of turkeys, and over 99.9% of chickens in the U.S. come from factory farms.
Even on small farms, the animals endure immense pain and suffering from the well-documented standard practices that the neither the animal agriculture industry nor the government even bother to deny: castration, de-beaking, de-horning, tail docking, tail clipping, teeth clipping, burning marks in skin, hole punching in ears for tags, udder singeing, spiked nose ringing, and other mutilations (explained in detail below)—all carried out without any painkillers. Yes, on small family-owned farms, the animals endure most of these same cruel and abusive (but legal) standard practices.
The meat/dairy/egg industry uses all kinds of clever euphemisms and lies to obfuscate how they treat these animals. They call what they do “animal husbandry,” “intensive animal farming,” or “industrial livestock production.” Sometimes they insist that the animals are treated “like royalty.” Others claim that animals aren’t even capable of experiencing pain and suffering, or that they aren’t aware of what is happening.
Regardless of the excuse, these animals are emotional, socially-complex beings with brains and pain receptors. Regardless of the size of the farm, the industry’s focus is on profit and efficiency rather than on the well-being of the animals, who are nothing more than machines that produce merchandise for the mercenaries who work in the animal agriculture industry.
STANDARD PROCEDURES IN SLAUGHTERHOUSES
After prolonged mistreatment and suffering on farms, animals are eventually sent to slaughterhouses. Transportation to the slaughterhouse is torturous and terrifying. Some animals die on the way because of dehydration, injuries or illnesses that they sustained at the farm, new injuries from being forcibly loaded onto the truck, and the overcrowding on the trucks, which can crush them. On their way to slaughter, animals may be suffocated or injured as other animals fall on them when trucks go around curves or move up and down steep grades.
The animals who survive the trip are increasingly scared and confused. Some animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead or dying from dehydration or heat exhaustion, or they may become frozen to the sides of trucks. Slaughterhouse workers hack off frozen body parts with chainsaws or hatchets, or the animals are wrenched loose with crowbars. The surviving animals are unloaded down ramps by slaughterhouse workers who violently beat them and force them to move with electric prods, grappling hooks, baseball bats, and even hammers. Animals who are too sick or injured to walk are beaten repeatedly with these weapons to force them to move. Animals who are unable to move are dumped on a “down pile” where they are left to die with other injured and sick animals, all written off as business losses.
Cows wait in kill lines in narrow corridors where they can hear the other terror-stricken animals being slaughtered. Before the slaughter, a slaughterhouse worker stuns the cow, most commonly with a captive bolt gun that drives a metal bolt through the skull into the brain, which is intended to render the cow unconscious. Then the cow is hung by the legs on a pulley that carries his body. His throat is slashed while he hangs upside down, and he dies slowly by loss of blood (a method of slaughter called exsanguination). Often the stunning method does not make the cow unconscious, or the time between the stunning and bleeding is too long, and the cow returns to consciousness. When that happens, the cow experiences extreme agony, fully conscious while hanging upside down and bleeding to death, which can take minutes. Sheep are also slaughtered this way.
Pigs are hosed down with water in pens before they are electrically stunned or electrocuted. A slaughterhouse worker holds an electric clamp or wand to each pig’s head, forcing the current into the brain. Another method of killing pigs is a gas chamber. Pigs are corralled into gas chambers, which are then filled with high concentrations of carbon dioxide to render them unconscious, but it can take time. Breathing carbon dioxide is very painful and causes acute respiratory distress. Veterinarians and animal welfare scientists consider gas chambers more “humane” than electrical stunning.
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other birds are slaughtered by an electrical water-bath stun system. The birds are hung upside down and dragged through electrified water, which weakens their neck muscles and constricts their wing muscles. Electrical currents shoot through the bodies of these terrified birds until they reach a neck-cutting blade. These suffering birds are fully conscious throughout this process. Sometimes birds are slaughtered in a gas chamber filled with high concentrations of carbon dioxide, causing a slow, agonizing death.
All of these procedures are considered “humane.”
WHO’S LYING TO YOU?
Your “personal choice” to consume flesh, organs, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) has suffering victims. Do you ever think about them while you are enjoying your meals? If you are against animal abuse and violence, and you make an effort to learn the truth about what happens to animals in the meat/dairy/egg industry, then becoming vegan is a rational, compassionate response based on your own personal values.
You probably already agree that unnecessarily harming and killing emotional beings is not an acceptable “personal choice.” A part of basic human decency is that causing unnecessary pain and misery to others is wrong. Once learning the facts about what these animals endure, you either hold yourself accountable for paying for the suffering and violence, or you don’t.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT THAT THE TRUTH HAS BEEN HIDDEN FROM YOU, quite deliberately by the animal agriculture industry, and governments that have trillions of dollars invested in animal agriculture. The U.S. government spends our tax dollars promoting and subsidizing these abusive and violent industries, and politicians are reimbursed with huge campaign contributions. The meat/dairy/egg industry also funds the media, so that what you see is only the propaganda that they want you to see. They also fund our healthcare and educational systems, all in an effort to deceive you and to prevent you from knowing what really happens to these animals, so that you will continue to support all of this unspeakable brutality.
Unlike all of these industries, vegans have no financial incentive to lie to you about the horrible treatment that these animals experience. We just want all of the pain and suffering to end. We are fighting very wealthy and powerful foes in the animal agricultural industry who will spare no expense to keep on duping the public about meat, dairy, and eggs. By exposing the truth about animal agriculture, vegans have nothing to gain (except for the peace of mind we feel because we are trying to help the suffering animals).
Who has the most incentive to lie to you? Rapacious corporations raking in trillions of dollars? People whose livelihoods depend on animal exploitation and slaughter? Or a small group of passionate vegans and animal rights activists? Think about it.
Please think about your food choices too, and ask yourself if causing pain and suffering and slaughter to emotional beings is who you really are. Acknowledge your responsibility for your past choices, and then simply make better choices that are consistent with your personal values. Once you realize what these animals experience, you can then decide to have empathy for them, and make kind, ethical choices. It really is that simple.
If you need help figuring out what to eat and how to live vegan, simply ask a vegan! We’ve all been through this process. We will help you! We want to help you, not just because we care about the animals—but also because we care about YOU. We know that you don’t want to be contributing to the torture and slaughter of lovable animals. That’s not who you are!! If you don’t personally know a vegan, you can easily find a support system of vegans on social media. All vegans will tell you that the one regret they have is not going vegan sooner.
On THE RESOURCES page, check out the 66-page TOTALLY AWESOME GUIDE TO THE VEGAN DIET AND PHILOSOPHY and the VEGAN MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG ALTERNATIVES section.
THERE IS NO ETHICAL WAY TO BE UNETHICAL
There is no “right” way to exploit and slaughter sentient beings for your taste pleasure, convenience, habit, or tradition. If you claim to be an ethical person, then apply your justifications for animal exploitation and slaughter to dogs, cats, and other humans.
The animals who suffer and die to create and become your food are no different from “traditional” companion animals or other humans. We all have central nervous systems, we seek attention and affection, we form bonds with our friends, we care about our babies, we experience emotions, we can endure pain and misery, and we want to live. Please think about it, and be the ethical person you claim to be.
Being vegan is simply about being compassionate. Please stop paying for all of that pain, misery, and slaughter. You know it's wrong and inconsistent with your values.
SO MUCH SUFFERING...
These animals experience excruciating pain from having their testicles, tails, horns, beaks, and teeth removed without any pain relief. They are confined in spaces so small that they cannot spread their wings, turn around, or lie down. The vast majority of U.S. factory farms use horrendously cruel confinement devices: battery cages for egg-laying hens, gestation crates for pigs, and dairy industry veal crates. Only 15 of 50 states have passed any laws that restrict or ban the use of these barbaric confinement devices, and some of these laws have not taken effect yet. For more information, go to the UNITED STATES FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS section on THE RESOURCES page.
It’s constant misery for these animals because of the extreme confinement and overcrowding, toxic conditions of extreme filth, debilitating infections and diseases, and food and water deprivation.
Furthermore, to maximize their growth and “meat output,” these animals have been genetic engineered and bred to gain much more weight than would gain naturally. They are also injected with hormones as an “artificial plumping process.” Sometimes, they gain so much weight that their legs cannot support their bodies. To maximize their productivity, the reproductive systems of dairy cows and egg-laying hens have been manipulated, forcing them to produce more eggs or milk than they ever would naturally, which destroys their bones and causes many of them to become lame or suffer from painful osteoporosis.
The suffering never ends for these animals. More examples include the forced insemination of the females, separation of mothers from babies, piglet thumping (sickly piglets are killed by slamming them headfirst on concrete, which is an accepted industry standard that is considered humane), and the gassing, suffocation, and maceration of male chicks on the day that they are born.
And, perhaps worst of all is the torturing of the animals for fun by the farm and slaughterhouse employees, which has been very well-documented on video in undercover investigations by animal charities.
All of this severe psychological, emotional, and physical trauma happens to these animals for their entire lives before their delivery to the slaughterhouses. And it’s all totally legal, hidden from the public, and funded by U.S. consumers and taxpayers through government subsidies.
THE HUMANE METHODS OF SLAUGHTER ACT
Many people assume that we have laws protecting farmed animals from harmful treatment, and that the people who work in the animal agriculture industry can be trusted to care for these animals. Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no federal laws that protect farmed animals while they are alive. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act was passed in 1958. It mentions only cows, pigs, sheep, and horses, and applies exclusively to the moment that those animals are slaughtered, saying nothing about how they should be treated from birth until the moment of slaughter.
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other animals are not mentioned at all in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and therefore have NO legislative protection at all from the extreme abuse and prolonged suffering that is standard in the animal agriculture industry, and these exempted birds make up over 98% of the land animals killed for food in the U.S. (There are very few state laws that address farmed animal treatment, which you may read about in the STATE LAWS section on THE RESOURCES page.)
COMPANION ANIMALS AND “FOOD” ANIMALS
It may be difficult for some people to think of billions of farmed animals as individual beings, like a companion cat or dog whom we consider members of our family. But if you could look into their eyes, you would see that they are unique individuals who are suffering. Animals who are used and killed for human food are fundamentally no different from cats and dogs. Many people live with so-called “food” animals as companion animals. The animals who humans breed, raise, exploit, and kill for food are just as sensitive, communicative, and unique as the dogs and cats we adore in our homes. They all seek attention and affection, bond with other animals, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live.
Anyone who has spent time with chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, pigs, and other animals in their own homes or at a sanctuary knows that there is essentially nothing different about developing relationships with those animals than there is with bonding with traditional animal companions like cats and dogs. If you’ve developed a friendship with a dog or cat or a horse or a parrot, then you know that animals have the capacity to bond with you and to become loving, devoted friends.
In some countries, dogs and cats are tortured and slaughtered for humans to eat. If you find that repulsive and outrageous, how is that different from what happens to turkeys, cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals in your country? If you have moral consideration for dogs and cats, but not for other animals, please think about why that is.
Have you been propagandized and culturally conditioned to believe that some animals deserve to be abused, exploited, and killed so that you may consume their flesh and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs)? When and why did you make that distinction?
Animals who are bred and raised to create and become food for humans are no different from so-called companion animals, but humans needlessly subject these farmed animals to extreme misery and violence. If you spent time getting to know a chicken, a turkey, a cow, a pig, and other animals, you would realize that they are sensitive, gentle, social, and unique: They seek attention and affection, form bonds and friendships, care about their babies, experience emotions, and want to live.
If you treated a dog or cat the same way that a “farmed” animal is treated in the animal agriculture industry, it would be a crime. There is no moral justification for treating them any differently than you would treat a companion animal or even another human.
You may have never thought about why you support harming and killing animals for food because since you were a very young child, you have been indoctrinated into this violent ideology, and you learned at a very early age to totally ignore the suffering of certain devalued animals.
Animal exploitation and slaughter (of specific animals) is a societal norm, and it has been instilled in you that all of this abuse and violence is acceptable, healthy, necessary, humane, and guilt-free. The inculcation is so insidious and pervasive that you have never even questioned why harming and killing animals is a habitual part of your everyday life.
The hidden truth is that humans have no biological or nutritional requirement to consume flesh, organs, or bodily secretions (dairy and eggs). We can survive and thrive on plants alone! This truth has been hidden from you because it’s all about making money from animal abuse and slaughter. Aren’t you angry that you’ve been duped into harming and killing animals every single day? You are literally paying for animals to be tortured to death, and that doesn’t even bother you?
Please take some time to think about why your belief system approves of certain animals suffering and dying for your desires, but not other animals. Are you being fair, logical, and morally consistent? Seeing through the propaganda and lies, breaking free from cultural conditioning, and actually thinking for yourself will open your mind to allow you to logically extend your compassion to other species of animals.
Please engage in some critical thinking about your choices. You may not like the way it makes you feel, but if your choices cause misery and suffering and slaughter to emotional, docile beings, shouldn’t you at least take some time to think about what you are supporting?
“IT’S MY PERSONAL CHOICE!”
To make an informed choice, you need all of the available information. We all make countless decisions every day, and we don’t even think about many of our choices because they have become ingrained as part of our daily routines. But are your habitual choices aligned with your values?
If you are a paying customer of animal flesh, organs, and bodily secretions, have you compared that choice with other animal issues that you find morally reprehensible? For example, are you appalled by the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the 10-day annual celebration in China at which up to 100,000 dogs, cats, and other animals are brutalized and eaten? Are you against dog fighting or horse racing? Or animal experimentation? Or animals used in circuses and amusement parks? How can it be wrong to harm animals for pleasure and profit in some cases but not others?
Do you consider yourself an animal lover? Do you become upset when you find out that a cat or dog has suffered and died due to neglect or abuse? Could you kill an animal yourself? Is there an ethical or practical difference between committing an act of violence yourself and paying someone else to do it for you?
Have you ever actually watched any of the standard “humane” procedures that these animals endure, such as de-beaking, de-horning, castration, forced insemination, teeth clipping, tail clipping, burning marks in skin, hole punching in ears for tags, udder singeing, spiked nose ringing, and other mutilations, which are carried out without any painkillers? Have you witnessed piglet thumping (sickly piglets are killed by slamming them headfirst on concrete); the gassing, suffocation, and maceration of male chicks in the egg industry; or terrified cows in a kill line waiting to be slaughtered as they watch and hear other cows struggling and fighting for their lives? These are standard practices on farms of all sizes. If you don’t believe that animals who are used and killed for food endure these painful procedures, just do an internet search and find out for yourself.
When birds arrive at slaughterhouses, they are removed so forcibly from the crates that their wings and legs are often broken. Once inside the “live hang room,” workers grab them and slam their legs into metal shackles on a conveyor belt. Try to imagine how excruciating this process must be for them. Most of them flap their wings wildly after being shackled, and because the birds are usually only six weeks old with underdeveloped joints and tendons, wing-flapping can lead to dislocated joints, broken bones, and hemorrhaging in their wings.
The birds are then dragged through electrified water (called a “stun bath”) for several seconds. Every minute, 180 or more birds are dragged through the electrified water. The point of the stun bath is to weaken their neck muscles and to constrict their wing muscles in order to immobilize them for the next stage: the neck-cutting blade. This electrified water is also designed to decrease the struggling of the birds as the blood drains from their necks, in order to promote rapid bleeding, as well as to loosen the birds’ feathers so that they can be more easily removed after they are dead. Most birds are fully conscious throughout this process. Again, this procedure is standard animal agriculture industry practice, which is defined as “humane.”
If you find these procedures shocking and disturbing, understand that they are standard in the animal agriculture industry all over the world. The reason you haven’t heard about any of it is because it’s all hidden away by the animal agriculture industry. Again, if you don’t believe any of this, do some research yourself. There are thousands of videos available online that show exactly what happens to these animals. No one wants to watch videos that show what animals who are exploited and slaughtered for human food experience because they are more graphic and gruesome than any horror movie you’ve ever seen—and they are real! You will find links to graphic videos in the VIDEOS OF HOW “FOOD” ANIMALS ARE TREATED section on THE RESOURCES page.
The truth is that the animal agriculture industry causes hundreds of billions of sweet, gentle animals to suffer with no pain relief before being slaughtered, after lives of agony and torture.
So, if you really believe that people should respect your “personal choice” to consume animals and their bodily secretions, please remember that your choices have suffering victims who were never given a choice not to endure agony and violence. What about respecting them?
EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Once we understand that animal consumption is not a requirement for good health, and if we have access to nutritious 100% plant-based foods, then the choice to continue supporting the meat/dairy/egg industry is a conscious decision to harm and kill animals for pleasure and self-indulgence—simply because we like the way something tastes.
Please engage in some critical thinking about your choices. You may not like the way it makes you feel, but because animal agriculture detrimentally affects other living, sentient beings, supporting that industry should at least be questioned, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
If you don't believe something you see on this website, then please do your own research, but please don't ignore it. Becoming vegan is not about good people versus bad people, or about judging anyone. Veganism is simply about having empathy and compassion for others.
MOTHERS AND BABIES
Human mothers know how profound the bond is between them and their newborns. So how can human mothers support the heartless separation of non-human mothers from their babies? If you are a mother who consumes bacon, eggs, cheese, steak, chicken, ice cream, or any product that contains the flesh or bodily secretions of animals, then you should know what these babies and mothers experience in order to create and become your food. Please think about these mothers and babies who needlessly suffer and die for nothing more than taste pleasure, convenience, habit, and other trivial reasons.
Chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys and other animals who are exploited and slaughtered for human food are emotional beings with the capacity to love, and they have central nervous systems, which means that they have the capacity feel pain. These animals seek attention and affection, bond with other animals, have emotions, and want to live—just like you and your babies, and your mother! There is no biological or nutritional necessity for humans to consume flesh, organs, or bodily secretions in order to be healthy and happy. Please think about what these mothers and babies endure, and ask yourself if paying for what happens to them is compassionate, ethical...and consistent with who you really are.
WHAT HAPPENS TO CHICKS?
Baby chickens and turkeys are hatched in large incubators where they never even know their mothers. They spend their lives in filthy, crowded cages or warehouses filled with toxic ammonia fumes. They live in misery until they are slaughtered, never experiencing their mother’s love and protection.
Birds raised for meat live about six weeks, and because of genetic engineering designed to make them develop more flesh, they balloon to over six times their natural weight. Their underdeveloped bones often cannot handle this extra weight, which causes painful skeletal disorders. Some become lame and die because they cannot get to food or water.
Male chicks born to egg-laying hens are considered non-profitable waste by the egg industry. These babies can’t lay eggs, and the egg-laying breeds do not grow as large as the Cornish birds who are slaughtered for meat; therefore, the egg industry slaughters the male chicks born to egg-laying hens by grinding them up alive, gassing them, or just tossing them into trash bags where they slowly suffocate in agony.
Female chicks born to egg-laying hens will be kept alive from 18 months to two years, depending on their egg production. De-beaking these babies is standard procedure worldwide: The ends of their beaks are cut off with hot blades (without pain killers) when they are just a few days old so that they won’t frantically peck each other in the intense confinement of battery cages and “cage-free” and “free-range” warehouses. Some of these de-beaked chickens starve to death because eating is too painful.
Because their reproductive systems have been manipulated to produce up to 10 times more eggs than their frail little bodies are designed to bear, the constant egg production depletes their bodies of calcium, and most of them suffer from debilitating osteoporosis. They experience chronic physical and emotional pain until their egg productivity declines. When they are no longer “commercially viable” to the egg industry, these birds are sold to the meat industry, and slaughtered after lives of nothing but pain and misery. If you support the egg industry, then you are also supporting the meat industry.
WHAT HAPPENS TO PIGLETS?
Baby pigs are taken away from their mothers just a few weeks after being born. Piglets’ tails are chopped off, their ears are mutilated, and the males have their testicles pulled out of their scrotums with pliers. These babies scream in agony, and no pain killers are used.
Piglets are allowed to nurse through tiny slats in gestation crates in which their mother is restrained. Because they compete for udders, they sometimes fight, which can cause injuries to their snouts and faces, and to the mother’s teats. To minimize potential damage to the “meat,” their eight eye-teeth are snipped off with sharp tools, with no pain relief. All of these procedures are legal and standard animal agriculture industry practice worldwide.
Piglets spend their short lives crowded in filthy pens on slabs of concrete before they are sent to slaughter. They live packed so tightly that they have to sleep on top of each other. The only time they are exposed to fresh air is when they are inside trucks on their way to slaughter.
Sows are impregnated over and over again, and the cycle of forced breeding and restrained torture continues for years, as the mothers lose their babies over and over again, until the mothers themselves are sent to slaughter.
Male piglets are killed at birth if they are not needed for breeding—piglets are picked up by their back legs, their heads are slammed onto the cement floor (a standard practice called pig-thumping), and then they are discarded into a “dead box,” and later into a dumpster. There are also mother pigs inside the dumpsters, who are tossed inside because they are too sick or injured to “produce” more piglets.
WHAT HAPPENS TO CALVES?
Babies born to dairy cows are removed almost immediately from their mothers, which is devastating for them. The separation occurs quickly because bonding would make separation even more difficult later and could affect the mother’s milk production, which is the dairy industry’s only concern. When a calf is taken away from his or her mother, she will scream and cry for hours or even days.
The milk meant for their babies is used to produce dairy products for humans. Like all mammals, cows must have been pregnant to produce milk. The purpose of a cow’s milk is to help her baby, who weighs less than 100 pounds, grow to be an adult cow who can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
Male calves born to dairy cows are not profitable for the dairy industry because they can’t produce milk; therefore, the dairy industry kills them immediately, or confines them for six months in darkened crates all alone. These babies are barely able to move, so that their muscles will not develop, in order for them to be sold as “veal” by the meat industry.
Female calves are denied their mothers’ milk and are fed formula instead so that the milk “product” isn’t wasted. The impulse to suckle is so strong in baby calves that they will desperately try to suckle each other’s ears and faces when they are within reach, or even suckle on the fingers of dairy and slaughterhouse workers.
Female calves are destined to become tortured “milk machines” just like their mothers, which usually entails about four years of misery, during which they are forcibly impregnated, give birth, and lose their babies over and over again. These mothers are hooked up to machines that pump their udders, until eventually, their worn-out bodies collapse, and then they are sent to slaughter. These “spent” dairy cows are the source of almost all hamburgers.
WHY ARE YOU PAYING FOR SUFFERING AND VIOLENCE TO MOTHERS AND BABIES?
If you are appalled by the separation of babies from their mothers, the restriction of maternal bonding and nursing, and the painful mutilations and confinement that these babies and mothers experience for their entire lives until they are slaughtered...then why are you paying for it?
All of this horror is very well-documented, and is accessible via numerous videos available online. In fact, the meat/dairy/egg industry and our governments don’t even deny that these mothers and babies endure all of this misery and torture. It’s all about money, it’s all hidden from the public, and all it’s considered “humane.” But people don’t want to know, or simply don’t care because they like the way something tastes? How can that be? Is this really who we are? Can any mother imagine her baby being treated this horrifically?
These mothers and babies aren’t machines. They are sentient beings with central nervous systems. They endure severe psychological, emotional, and physical trauma for their entire lives. It’s absurd to claim that they are mere objects who aren’t capable of experiencing emotions, including grief, loneliness, terror, and fear.
Please think about these mothers and babies before you make your food choices. There is an abundance of delicious, nutritious, and affordable 100% plant-based food that doesn’t come from harming, exploiting, and killing mothers and babies. All sentient beings have the right to experience the nurturing love of their mothers, and to live free from exploitation, abuse, and slaughter by humans—because humans can behave morally, think rationally, and live happy and healthy lives without consuming flesh and bodily secretions. Please think about it and open your heart. Please treat all mothers and babies the way you want yourself and your babies—and your own mother—to be treated.
HAVE YOU EVER MET A CHICKEN?
Chickens are very loving and lovable. They are intelligent, inquisitive, sensitive, and social, and have unique personalities. Chickens form relationships, bond with others, and have social hierarchies. Because of their social nature, they look out for their families and for other chickens in their group. Mother hens care for and protect their children, and show a range of loving maternal traits. Their cognitive abilities can be more advanced than those of cats, dogs, and even some primates. Chickens can complete complex mental tasks and are able to add, subtract, and even discriminate between quantities. They have adept communication skills and at least 30 different vocal communication calls. Chickens like to hang out together, taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and lying in the sun.
Chickens raised for their eggs and meat are kept in cramped, filthy cages and warehouses, deprived of fresh air and sunshine, denied the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors, mutilated by painful procedures such as de-beaking, and treated as nothing more than mere production units.
The chickens who are eaten by humans are called “broiler” chickens. They are genetically engineered to reach a grotesque weight of more than six times their natural size in only six weeks. Their artificially-induced growth is equivalent to that of a two-year-old human child weighing 100 pounds. They are also injected with hormones, an “artificial plumping process.” They are only a few weeks old when they are slaughtered, but they are so large for their underdeveloped bones that many cannot even stand or walk. They develop painful skeletal disorders, lameness, and broken bones, and spend their short lives in misery. Some are so lame that they starve or die of dehydration because they cannot reach food or water.
INDUSTRY STANDARD FOR SLAUGHTERING CHICKENS
Approximately nine billion chickens are killed for food each year in the United States. People who eat chickens should know the industry standard for slaughtering them: an electrical water-bath stun system. The birds are hung upside down with their legs shackled into a metal conveyor, and they are moved through a vat of electrified water.
When birds arrive at slaughterhouses, they are removed so forcibly from the crates that their wings and legs are often broken. Once inside the “live hang room,” workers grab and slam their legs into metal shackles on a conveyor belt. Try to imagine how excruciating this process must be for them. Most of them flap their wings wildly after being shackled, and because the birds are usually only six weeks old, with underdeveloped joints and tendons, wing-flapping can lead to dislocated joints, broken bones, and hemorrhaging in their wings.
Because chickens do not have diaphragms, when they are hung upside down, their internal organs are painfully compressed as they dangle. Chickens have pain receptors in their legs, which means that the shackling process is of course excruciating. Flapping can also cause birds to receive painful shocks as their wings touch the electrified water before their heads are submerged.
The birds are dragged through the electrified water (called a “stun bath”) for several seconds. Every minute, 180 or more birds are dragged through the electrified water. The point of the stun bath is to weaken their neck muscles and to constrict their wing muscles in order to immobilize them for the next stage: the neck-cutting blade. This electrified water is also designed to decrease the struggling of the birds as the blood drains from their necks, in order to promote rapid bleeding, as well as to loosen the birds’ feathers so that they can be more easily removed after they are dead. During electrical water-bath stunning, electrical currents shoot through the birds’ skin, skeletal breast muscle, cardiac muscle, and leg muscles, which causes spasms and tremors, reduces their heartbeat and breathing, and increases their blood pressure.
Unfortunately, many animal-rights activists mistakenly believe that the purpose of this procedure is to stun the birds into paralysis. These birds are NOT stunned in order to render them unconscious, or even to alleviate pain, which is what the industry wants us to believe. These birds are fully conscious throughout this process. Again, this procedure is standard animal agriculture industry practice, which is defined as “humane.”
Another method of killing birds is a gas chamber. Crates confining as many 500 birds are placed in gas chambers, which are then filled with high concentrations of carbon dioxide, or inert gasses such as argon or nitrogen, or a combination of inert gases and carbon dioxide, which is alleged to render them unconscious, but it can take time. Breathing carbon dioxide is very painful and causes acute respiratory distress. Inert gasses are more expensive, which is why slaughterhouses tend to use carbon dioxide.
DE-BEAKING IS A PAINFUL, LEGAL, AND STANDARD PROCEDURE, AND U.S. FARMERS & THE GOVERNMENT ADMIT THAT CHICKENS SUFFER
De-beaking causes chronic pain, and the U.S. government openly acknowledges that de-beaking is standard procedure and extremely painful. This Laying Hen Welfare Fact Sheet (above) issued by the Livestock Behavior Research Unit of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clearly acknowledges the following:
DE-BEAKING IS EXTREMELY PAINFUL FOR CHICKENS, AND CAUSES CHRONIC SUFFERING
DE-BEAKING IS A LEGAL, STANDARD PROCEDURE ON U.S. FARMS OF ALL SIZES.
Some people think that these animals don’t suffer, but this document by itself proves that the vast majority of the land animals who are exploited and slaughtered for food in the U.S. do indeed experience long-lasting pain as a result of de-beaking. According to the USDA’s 2020 data, 9.76 billion land animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption, and 9.34 billion (95.7%) of them are chickens.
According to the USDA, approximately 70% of egg-laying hens in the United States live in battery cages in which the space each hen has to move for practically her entire life (usually about 18 months) is approximately the size of an iPad. That means that seven out of 10 eggs consumed in the U.S. come from suffering, sick chickens crammed together (as many as 10) in a cage so small that they cannot spread their wings. Broiler chickens (the ones raised and slaughtered for meat) are also de-beaked, as are turkeys and ducks, so the percentage of all land animals in the U.S. who suffer chronically from de-beaking is even higher.
Birds confined in the horrendous conditions of the animal agriculture industry often go insane and violently peck each other, sometimes even cannibalizing each other. What the industry calls “aggressive pecking” occurs when birds rip out the feathers of other birds, and even peck each other to death and engage in cannibalism, which is why they are de-beaked. Birds injuring and killing each other impacts egg production and meat quality, which are the animal agriculture industry’s only concerns. Of course, it’s all about money, regardless of all of the pain and suffering and violence inflicted on these animals.
De-beaking is a very painful mutilation. The beaks of these birds are literally cut off or seared off with a burning-hot blade within hours or days of being born. No painkillers are used. Chicks have difficulty eating and drinking after their beaks are mutilated, and therefore suffer from hunger and dehydration and weakened immune systems, for several weeks after the procedure. Many of them literally suffer to death.
As confirmed by the USDA, a chicken’s beak is a complex, functional organ with an extensive nerve supply, including sensory receptors that detect painful stimuli. Read the highlighted portion of the document for yourself:
“Issues Related to Beak Trimming: Beak trimming has elicited a great deal of debate and research concerning the relative advantages and disadvantages of the practice from an animal welfare perspective. The bestowed benefits of lowered aggression, feather pecking, and cannibalism may indeed favor improved welfare during the laying cycle. However, a chicken’s beak is a complex, functional organ with an extensive nerve supply. Following beak trimming, several anatomical, physiological, and biochemical changes occur in cut peripheral nerves and damaged tissues. There is a considerable body of morphological, neurophysiological, behavioral and production research demonstrating the emergence of several markers of acute and chronic pain (e.g., persistent lethargy and guarding behaviors, reduced feed intake, and development of neuromas) as a result of trimming. This is of more concern when the beak trimming is conducted in birds which are five weeks old or older using a hot-blade beak trimmer.”
You may access a PDF of this USDA document (with 14 cited sources) HERE.
Do you really want to be supporting this immense pain and violence? If you eat birds or eggs, then YOU are paying for this suffering.
BATTERY CAGES ARE STANDARD IN THE U.S.
According to the USDA, about 70% of egg-laying hens in the United States currently live in battery cages in which the space each hen has to move for practically her entire life (usually about 18 months) is approximately the size of an iPad. That means that seven out of 10 eggs consumed in the U.S. come from suffering, sick chickens crammed together (as many as 10) in a cage so small that they cannot spread their wings.
Chickens in these horrendous conditions often go insane and peck each other violently, and even cannibalize each other, which is why they are de-beaked, a very painful mutilation that is done without painkillers. These hens also suffer from diseases due to unsanitary and hazardous conditions. Feces and urine fall from the cages above them through the cage floors made of wire.
GENETIC MANIPULATION CAUSES LIFELONG PAIN
These hens are deliberately bred to produce many more eggs than they would in nature—more eggs than their bodies can handle, which takes a severe toll on them. Chickens naturally lay only 10 to 15 eggs per year, but we have genetically tampered with them through generations of selective breeding so that they lay many more eggs. Their reproductive systems have been obscenely manipulated to produce up to 300 eggs per year, more than their frail little bodies are designed to bear. Because the constant production of an abnormal quantity of eggs depletes their bodies of massive amounts of calcium, most of them suffer from debilitating, painful osteoporosis.
In fact, in nature hens eat the egg shells, which are made of calcium carbonate, to replace their lost calcium and other nutrients. Taking a hen’s eggs away prevents her from replenishing the nutrients that are constantly leached from her body in the process of incessant egg-laying. Once a hen’s egg production declines and she is no longer commercially viable, she is slaughtered, becoming one of the nine billion chickens killed for food each year in the United States.
THERE ARE NO U.S. FEDERAL LAWS FOR CHICKENS
There are no federal regulations for the treatment of chickens in the U.S. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act mentions how pigs, cows, sheep, and horses are to be treated when they are killed. Chickens, turkeys, and other birds have no protection at all from this extreme cruelty that is standard in the animal agriculture industry. (The majority of U.S. states specifically exclude farm animals from anti-cruelty laws. A few states do include farm animals in some anti-cruelty laws, but those laws are almost never enforced for animals hidden away in factory farms, where 99% of farm animals come from, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. See the DATA AND STATISTICS section on THE RESOURCES page.) Slaughterhouse and factory farm workers are legally permitted to do whatever they want to these birds. If a pet parrot or cockatiel were treated like a factory farm chicken, that would be considered animal cruelty and a crime.
Chickens are not machines or mere objects. They have central nervous systems. They are sentient beings with the ability to experience emotions. They can feel pleasure, pain, agony, and fear. Are those eggs really that important to you, when there are so many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from lifelong pain and torture? Please, think about your food choices and ask yourself if you are being ethical and compassionate, and try to imagine if you were forced to live like this.
MALE CHICK SLAUGHTER
Chick culling is the widely used egg-industry practice of killing newly-hatched male chicks shortly after they hatch. Male chicks born to egg-laying hens are considered non-profitable waste. They are considered to be a by-product of egg production because they cannot produce eggs and they haven’t been genetically engineered to reach an obscene weight for meat production. They are slaughtered by grinding or gassing, or just thrown into trash bags where they slowly die in agony, literally suffering to death. This inhumane practice is done in order to maximize profits, to reduce costs, and to make the egg industry more efficient.
WHAT ABOUT “CAGE-FREE” AND “FREE-RANGE” EGGS?
Please don’t be fooled by “cage-free” and “free-range” labels, which represent approximately 30% of egg-laying hens in the United States, according to the USDA. These labels are marketing scams. “Cage-free” chickens live in massive windowless warehouses that hold tens of thousands of suffering chickens, crowded together in their own filth. “Cage-free” means that although they are not squeezed into tiny wire cages, they never go outside, and they are confined in dark, crowded buildings filled with toxic gases.
“Free-range” (which constitutes less than 1% of the nine billion chickens slaughtered in the U.S. each year) means that the chickens had access to the outdoors at least ONCE in their lives. Moving them from the hatcheries to the factory farms counts as that one time they have access to the outdoors. They are crammed together so tightly in warehouses that they are forced to urinate and defecate on one another. They often have to walk on top of each other, and over the dead rotting bodies of the chickens who suffered to death, in order to get to food and water. The stench of ammonia and feces heavily permeates the air, and disease runs rampant in these filthy, cramped sheds. “Free-range” can mean that birds have outside access only via one tiny “pop hole” through which they can stick their heads, but they have no actual full-body access to the outdoors. The definition requires no specific number of holes, nor a minimum space requirement.
These chickens are de-beaked too. Don’t be fooled by the marketing tactics of the animal agriculture industry. These labels are unregulated and there is no on-site inspection. The farmers can say whatever they want and no farm is denied the labels. “Cage-free” and “free-range” chickens also experience lifelong suffering and misery.
WHAT ABOUT “BACKYARD EGGS”?
Some people assume that “backyard eggs” are “cruelty-free” because they can see that the hens are cared for, but if you think about it logically, those hens came from somewhere, and they definitely had brothers, who of course can’t lay eggs. Chickens give birth to males and females at the same rate as all animals, at a ratio of about 50/50. What happens to the brothers of these hens?
“Backyard egg” sellers can’t afford to hatch their own chicks in incubators, and they can’t profit from the male chicks anyway. Why would they take care of them if they can’t profit from them? They purchase hens from the same hatcheries as the factory farms, where the male chicks are slaughtered. These babies are hatched in incubators and never come close to their mothers. At these hatcheries, male chicks are sorted out and killed by being ground up alive, gassed, or left to suffocate in garbage bags and dumpsters. What a horrible, prolonged way to die. If you don’t believe that “backyard egg” sellers purchase these hens from these same hatcheries, then ask them where the male chickens are.
Remember that “backyard egg” sellers are motivated by money. A common practice for these sellers is to order the female chicks to be shipped to them in the mail from the hatcheries. These babies are shipped without food, water, or any protection, confined in cardboard boxes for days. In some cases, male chicks are used as packing material for the financially-valuable female chicks in the delivery boxes, and then the sellers toss them in the trash when the shipment arrives. The next time you purchase “backyard eggs,” ask the sellers how they obtain their egg-laying hens. If they claim to hatch the chicks themselves, then ask to see their hatchery, as well as the mother hens and the roosters. They won’t be able to show them to you because they have already been slaughtered, either at the hatcheries or by the sellers themselves.
Also ask the sellers what happens to the hens when they stop laying eggs at a profitable rate. When the hens stop producing eggs efficiently, of course they are sold to be slaughtered for meat, after about two years or when the hen can no longer lay enough eggs to be profitable. When you fund “backyard egg” operations, you are also funding the meat industry. Even if the hens are allowed to live after they no longer lay eggs, and they die of natural causes (which is rarely the case), the sellers will still need to purchase more hens from the hatcheries so that they will have more hens to exploit for profit. And the cycle continues. “Backyard eggs” come from suffering and violence.
A common misconception is that chickens are always just naturally “giving” eggs to humans. Today’s egg-laying hens have been intensively bred to lay 300 eggs per year. These hens who lay “backyard eggs” are the same hens whose bodies have been selectively bred and genetically tampered with so that they lay many more eggs than their bodies are designed to lay. In the wild, chickens, like all birds, lay only during breeding season (primarily in the spring) and they lay only enough eggs to ensure the natural survival of their species. When humans interfere with the natural process of a hen protecting and nesting with her eggs, by constantly taking them away from her, her body instinctively responds by producing more eggs!
Furthermore, in nature, a hen would eat the shells of her own unfertilized eggs (which are made of calcium carbonate) in order to replenish calcium and other nutrients that are leeched from her body as a result of constant, labor-intensive egg production. Every time a hen produces an egg shell, she must mobilize approximately 10% of the calcium stored in her bones. Because the incessant production of an abnormal quantity of eggs depletes their bodies of massive amounts of calcium, and because their eggs are taken from them so that they cannot restore their decreased calcium, most of these hens suffer from debilitating, painful osteoporosis.
Even if hens producing “backyard eggs” are treated with kindness and respect, humans are still taking something that doesn’t belong to them, and doing so perpetuates the mentality that animals are here for humans to treat as property and to exploit for their bodily secretions. In a world that already uses and enslaves animals and harvests their bodies for profit, supporting “backyard egg” operations continues this abusive and unethical status quo. It is pure egotism to think that we have the right to devalue and disregard other conscious, sentient beings just to fulfill our own desires, which in this case, all revolve around convenience, tradition, habit, and taste pleasure. “Backyard egg” sellers may not be harming those individual chickens directly, but they ARE harming all chickens everywhere, by normalizing the exploitation of chickens and the consumption of their eggs.
As consumers, our most significant act to help animals is to boycott all of these barbaric industries, thus ending our consumption of ALL animal products. This is the only way that we can ensure that animals will be treated fairly, with genuine kindness and respect, because there is no practical way to monitor each and every situation. When we stop contributing to these harmful industries, we are sending a very powerful message to everyone: HUMANS DO NOT NEED TO USE OR CONSUME ANIMALS OR THEIR BODILY SECRETIONS FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER.
HAVE YOU EVER MET A COW?
Cows are the gentle giants of the world. Cows are sweet and docile, and they and have no instinct to harm, which is why they are easily exploited. They are very intelligent and emotional. They like to cuddle, and they can form meaningful bonds with each other, humans, and other animals. Please visit cows at an animal sanctuary so that you can see for yourself how extremely affectionate and loving they are. Try to think of cows as living beings rather than packaged products served as food, or as machines that produce milk.
Cows raised for their meat are kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Most of them spend their lives in small cement stalls, and are never allowed to graze or socialize. The cows that you see in fields (called “pasture-raised”) represent less that 5% of cows slaughtered for beef in the U.S., according to the USDA. The remaining 95% experience extreme confinement, and all of them are subjected to painful mutilations such as de-horning, castration, and branding.
At slaughterhouses, cows are routinely poked with electric prods and beaten with baseball bats and other devices, as the slaughterhouse workers force them to move. Cows who are too sick or injured to walk are are dumped on a “down pile” where they are left to die. Cows are packed tightly into narrow corridors where they can hear the other terror-stricken animals being killed.
When a cow reaches the end of the kill line, he is stunned with a captive bolt gun that drives a metal bolt through the skull into his brain to make him unconscious. Then the cow is hung by the legs on a pulley that carries his body. His throat is slashed while he hangs upside down, and he dies slowly by loss of blood (a method of slaughter called exsanguination). Often the stunning method does not make the cow unconscious, or the time between the stunning and bleeding is too long, and the cow returns to consciousness. When that happens, the cow experiences extreme agony, fully conscious while hanging upside down and bleeding to death, which can take minutes.
Cows used for dairy production are kept in cramped, unsanitary environments and are genetically manipulated to produce unnaturally large amounts of milk. Dairy cows are also routinely subjected to painful procedures such as tail-docking, de-horning, and the injection of hormones to increase milk production. Female cows are artificially inseminated, and their calves are cruelly taken away from them shortly after birth to be slaughtered for veal or to be raised for dairy production. When a calf is taken away from his or her mother, she will scream and cry for hours or even days. Cows in the dairy industry are slaughtered for their flesh when their milk production declines.
DAIRY IS TORTURE AND DEATH
The dairy industry IS the veal industry. Like all mammals, cows must have been pregnant to produce milk. The babies who need that milk are taken away from their mothers. The female calves are destined to become tortured milking machines themselves, forcibly impregnated over and over again to keep the milk flowing. The male calves are either killed right away, or they are shackled inside crates all alone, and later slaughtered for veal.
When a calf is taken away from his or her mother, she will scream and cry for hours or even days. It’s astounding how many people can’t seem to make this connection, or just don’t care about this insane cruelty, all to consume the mammary secretions of another species.
There are many delicious and healthy alternatives to dairy products (go to the VEGAN MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG ALTERNATIVES section on THE RESOURCES page). Please think about what you support when you purchase anything with cow milk in it, and start making ethical and compassionate and rational choices!
THE SPIKED NOSE RING: THE CRUELEST OF THE CRUEL
The spiked nose ring (see images above) is a standard device used by dairy farmers (on small dairy farms too). The ring has sharp spikes protruding outward. Farmers insert the spiked nose ring into a calf’s nose so that the spikes will poke the mother cow when the calf tries to suckle on her udders. The mother rejects her own baby because of the painful spikes. Dairy farmers use these cruel devices so that they can (truthfully) say that they don’t separate babies from mothers. They aren’t separated, but they can’t nurse or bond.
Imagine the torture of babies trying to nurse from their mothers, and being unable to do so because of this device, all so that bovine mammary secretions (actual baby growth formula) can be stolen for humans to consume.
ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING THIS BABY?
Look at this cute baby! He was just taken away from his mother because he’s on his way to the slaughterhouse. His mother is a dairy cow, and since he can’t produce milk, the dairy farmers will sell him to the meat industry to be slaughtered for veal.
Cows are sweet and docile, and they and have no instinct to harm, which is why they are easily exploited for their flesh and bodily secretions. Cows (and all animals who are exploited and killed for human food) are emotional beings, capable of love, affection, and a wide range of emotions. They are sentient individuals with central nervous systems and full subjective awareness. They seek attention and affection, bond with family and friends, love their babies, can experience pain and suffering, and want to live—just like you and your companion animals.
Like all mammals, cows must have been pregnant to produce milk. Milk is lactating secretion produced by the mammary glands of mammals who have given birth. Cow milk is specifically designed as the primary source of nutrition and growth hormones for baby cows. The purpose of cow milk is to transform a baby cow who weighs less than 100 pounds (45 kg) into an adult cow who can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (907 kg), depending on breed.
The baby cows who need that milk are cruelly taken away from their mothers almost immediately. Following the separation, the mothers bellow and scream for days, desperately yearning to bond with their babies. The female calves are destined to become tortured milking machines themselves, forcibly impregnated over and over again to keep the milk flowing. The male calves are either killed right away, or they are shackled inside crates all alone, and later slaughtered for veal. When the mothers stop producing milk at a profitable rate, they too are slaughtered, after about four years of misery, during which they are forcibly impregnated, give birth, lose babies over and over again, and are hooked up to machines that pump their udders, until eventually, their worn-out bodies collapse, and then they are sent to slaughter. These are standard procedures worldwide in the dairy industry.
The dairy industry has successfully used propaganda, lies, and bogus industry-funded studies to convince you that stealing and consuming bovine mammary secretions is humane, healthy, necessary, natural, and completely normal behavior—because there is money to be made by exploiting cows. These cows suffer and die for profit.
How would you feel if this happened to you and your babies? A measure of human morality is how we treat the innocent and helpless. Don’t all sentient beings have the right to experience the nurturing love of their mothers, and to live free from exploitation, abuse, and slaughter by humans? Humans have the ability to behave morally, to think rationally, and to live happy and healthy lives without consuming animal flesh or bodily secretions. There is no nutritional or biological requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions.
If you can’t live without cheese, then try some of the many brands of vegan cheese! There are now delicious and healthy vegan alternatives to dairy products that are abundantly available. See them in the VEGAN MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG ALTERNATIVES section on THE RESOURCES page.
DAIRY COWS ENDURE NEVER-ENDING TORMENT
Try to imagine what your life would be like if you were a dairy cow being exploited for your bodily secretions, hooked up to machines, forcibly impregnated over and over again while your babies are taken away from you, imprisoned in misery until the day that you are sold to the meat industry to be slaughtered when you stop producing milk at a profitable rate.
Cows are not milk-making machines. They are sentient beings with central nervous systems and brains—just like you and your pets—which means that they have full self-awareness and can experience emotions, and pain and suffering. Please think about these cows and ask yourself if stealing and consuming mammary secretions from babies who are slaughtered along with their mothers...is who you really are.
And aren’t you irritated that you’ve been socially conditioned by decades of dairy industry propaganda to engage in a behavior as bizarre as consuming another species’ mammary secretions? What is milk anyway? Isn’t it species-specific food for babies? You know, like dog milk is for baby dogs, giraffe milk is for baby giraffes, orangutan milk is for baby orangutans, cow milk is for...YOU? Seriously? Think about that.
All mammals produce milk when they have babies. The milk is specifically designed for their babies. Drinking the mammary secretions of another species is not natural or normal. Would you drink a glass of human breast milk, or eat cheese or ice cream made from human breast milk? If you think that’s gross, stop and really think about that. You won’t consume the milk of your own species, but you think it’s totally normal to consume bovine bodily fluids?
Please purchase 100% plant-based products. They are everywhere, and they are healthy and delicious! It just takes a little extra time and effort to look for non-dairy ice cream, beverages, cheese, butter, etc. (Go to the VEGAN MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG ALTERNATIVES section on THE RESOURCES page.) Why would you want to fund an industry that harms and kills animals for mammary secretions that aren’t for you and that you don’t need, especially when there is an abundance of alternative products that taste the same and are healthier for you?!
WHY WAS JOAQUIN PHOENIX TALKING ABOUT COWS DURING HIS OSCAR SPEECH?
In his Oscar speech on February 9, 2020, Joaquin Phoenix made a reference to stealing a baby from a cow, and her “unmistakable cries of anguish.” What’s was he talking about? Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the dairy industry...
THE MISERABLE LIFE OF A DAIRY COW
The indisputable purpose of the dairy industry is stealing mammary secretions from babies and selling that milk (and the cows themselves) for profit. Yes, it’s all about MONEY. Like all mammals, cows must have been pregnant to produce milk. Milk isn’t created without a baby to drink it. But on dairy farms, baby cows are prevented from drinking their mothers’ milk, so that it can be sold to humans. Try to imagine what your life would be like if you were a dairy cow being exploited for your bodily secretions, hooked up to machines, forcibly impregnated over and over again while your babies are taken away from you, imprisoned in misery until the day that you are sold to the meat industry to be slaughtered when you stop producing milk at a profitable rate. Yes, that is the dairy industry in a nutshell.
MOTHER COWS DO CRY IN ANGUISH
When a calf is taken away from his or her mother, she will scream and cry for hours or even days because she wants to bond with her baby. Calves are removed almost immediately from their mothers, which is devastating for her and her baby. The separation occurs quickly because bonding would make separation even more difficult later and could affect the mother’s milk production, which is the dairy industry’s only concern—because it’s all about money. The calves are denied their mothers’ milk and fed formula instead so that the milk product isn’t “wasted.”
DAIRY FARMING IS A BABY-KILLING ENTERPRISE
The male calves obviously can’t produce milk, which is why the dairy farmers kill them right away, or they shackle these babies inside crates all alone, where they will spend a few months until they are slaughtered for veal. The impulse to suckle is so strong in baby calves that they will desperately try to suckle each other’s ears and faces when they are within reach, or even on the fingers of the workers on the farms and in the slaughterhouses.
The female calves are destined to become tortured milking machines themselves, which usually entails about four years of misery, during which they are forcibly impregnated over and over again to keep the milk flowing. They give birth, lose calves over and over again, and are hooked up to machines, until eventually, their worn-out bodies collapse, and then they are ultimately sent to slaughter. These are the simple facts of the dairy industry.
THE SPIKED NOSE RING: THE CRUELEST OF THE CRUEL
If a dairy farmer tells you that the mothers and babies are not separated, that’s because they use the spiked nose ring, a standard device used in the dairy industry (on small dairy farms too). The reason they insert these cruel devices into a calf’s nose is so that the spikes will poke the mother cow when a calf tries to suckle on her udders. The mother rejects the calf because of the spikes.
Why does the dairy industry inflict this cruelty on babies and mothers? So that they can (truthfully) say that they don’t separate babies from mothers! They aren’t separated, but they can’t nurse or bond! The mammary secretions intended for the babies are stolen for humans to consume, so that the dairy industry can profit from animal exploitation and abuse! Imagine the torture of babies trying to nurse from their mothers, and being unable to do so because of this device, all so that bovine mammary secretions (actual baby growth formula) can be stolen for humans to consume.
WHAT IS MILK?
Milk is maternal lactating secretion produced by the mammary glands of mammals who have given birth. Milk, quite simply, is a short-term nutrient for newborns. All mammals produce milk when they have babies. The milk is biologically designed for babies of specific species: For example, dog milk is for baby dogs, rat milk is for baby rats, elephant milk is for baby elephants, and human milk is for baby humans. Milk is baby growth formula, and contains hormones, proteins, fats, minerals, etc. for an infant of a particular species.
Cow milk is perfectly designed to turn a baby cow who weighs less than 100 pounds (45 kg) into an adult cow who can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (907 kg), depending on breed. Like all mothers’ milk, it is filled with hormones, proteins, growth factors, fat, and cholesterol. Additionally, cow milk contains millions of pus cells, blood, steroids, bacteria, pathogens, and acidic proteins (which leech minerals and calcium from human bones). Over 80% of the protein in cow milk is casein, which is also an ingredient in paint, glue, and cheese.
WHY DO HUMANS CONSUME COW MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS?
Because they’ve been told that they must! Dairy farmers, the animal agriculture industry, the mainstream media, the government, and even the healthcare industry have successfully used propaganda to convince most humans that stealing and consuming bovine mammary secretions is healthy, necessary, natural, and completely normal behavior—because there is MONEY to be made by exploiting and torturing cows.
Would you drink cat milk? Giraffe milk? Orangutan milk? Would you drink human breast milk if a pregnant woman squeezed you a glass? That's not normal, but consuming bovine mammary secretions is normal? Drinking the mammary secretions of another species is not natural or normal. Mammary secretions are intended for the babies of specific animals. Perhaps you believe that this behavior is normal because you’ve been told that it is normal since you were a child? Why would an intelligent, rational human adult consume bovine bodily fluids, paying the dairy industry to exploit, torture, and ultimately slaughter cows?
YOU’RE BREASTFEEDING FROM A COW BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN DUPED BY CORPORATE PROPAGANDA?
Yes! Think about it. Isn’t it fundamentally gross and crazy to consume the mammary secretions of another species, especially as an adult? And from a cow rather than another human? Most of us have been duped by corporate propaganda. It’s really all about exploiting defenseless animals for money. The dairy industry floods our schools with propaganda, saturates the media with deceptive ads, and pays off politicians with campaign contributions (which results in taxpayer subsidies and very little oversight of what happens to these animals). Aren’t you irritated that you’ve been duped all of these years by corporate propaganda to engage in a behavior as bizarre as consuming another species’ mammary secretions—bovine growth formula stolen from baby cows? You are literally consuming bodily secretions intended for a baby, and you think that is completely normal and natural?!
PLEASE MAKE COMPASSIONATE CHOICES
Yes, of course consuming dairy products is your choice. But why would you choose suffering and violence when you can choose peace and compassion? Is the taste sensation of bovine bodily secretions really that important to you, when there are so many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from the suffering and slaughter of emotional beings? (See some of these products in the VEGAN MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG ALTERNATIVES section on THE RESOURCES page.)
Please think about your food choices and ask yourself if you are being ethical and compassionate, and if causing pain and suffering and slaughter for nothing more than momentary, trivial taste pleasure...is who you really are. There is no biological or nutritional requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions. Plant-based alternatives are everywhere now, and they are healthy and delicious!
WHO YOU REALLY ARE
Please think about what you support when you purchase anything with cow milk in it, and start making ethical and compassionate and rational choices! Why would you want to fund an industry that harms and kills animals for mammary secretions that aren’t for you and that you don’t need, especially when there is an abundance of alternative products that taste the same and are healthier for you?!
The choice to continue supporting the dairy industry is a conscious decision to harm, exploit, and kill emotional beings simply because you like the way something tastes. A measure of human morality is how we treat the innocent and helpless. All sentient beings have the right to experience the nurturing love of their mothers, and to live free from exploitation, harm, and slaughter by humans—because humans can behave morally, think rationally, and live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions. Going vegan is simply about choosing peace and compassion, instead of suffering and violence.
NOW YOU KNOW
So...if you didn’t understand why Joaquin Phoenix mentioned cows in his Oscar speech...now you do. Now that you know, will you please make compassionate choices that are consistent with who you really are?
DE-HORNING IS PAINFUL, LEGAL, AND STANDARD
All cows are born with tissue that will develop into horns. A standard practice in the meat and dairy industries is to remove the sensitive horn tissue (or the horns themselves) from cows’ skulls by using searing-hot irons, blades, saws, caustic chemicals, or guillotine-like de-horners. Cows struggle violently and have to be restrained during the painful de-horning process, which is done without painkillers.
WHY ARE COWS DE-HORNED? According to the animal agriculture industry, there are many reasons:
To decrease aggressiveness in the cows
To produce docile cows that are easier to handle
To enhance safety and to decrease risk of injury to farm employees
To reduce the risk of injury and bruising to other cows
To require less space for the cows
To prevent financial losses that could result from having to trim damaged carcasses caused by horned cows during transport to slaughter
To gain a price advantage because hornless cows are more desirable to buyers
Cows are usually de-horned when they are very young calves. Also called de-budding, this procedure is extremely traumatic to these babies, who are just a few weeks old when their horn buds are burned off or cut out of their heads. For older cows, amputation is required because the horns have already attached to the skull.
Of course, farmers know that this mutilation is excruciatingly painful. Cows struggle violently and have to be restrained during the painful de-horning process, which is done without anesthetics.
CAN YOU IMAGINE IF SOMEONE AMPUTATED A PART OF YOUR BODY, FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN WANTING TO EXPLOIT YOU FOR YOUR BODILY SECRETIONS AND YOUR FLESH?
If you don’t believe that de-horning is a legal and standard procedure, when was the last time you saw a cow with horns?
When you pay for cow meat or dairy products, you are paying for cows to be de-horned. Please think about it, and STOP PAYING FOR ANIMAL TORTURE!
“BUT COWS’ UDDERS WOULD EXPLODE IF WE DIDN’T MILK THEM!”
Dairy industry brainwashing is so pervasive and ingrained that some people actually believe one of the most absurd dairy industry lies—that humans are doing cows a favor by milking them because cows constantly produce milk, and their udders will explode if humans don’t milk them. WHAT??!! Why would this be the case for cows but for no other mammals? ALL MAMMALS MUST HAVE BEEN PREGNANT TO PRODUCE MILK. Mammals don’t produce milk if there is not a baby to drink it. Dairy farmers forcibly impregnate cows over and over again. That’s why they produce milk! To feed their babies!
But, of course, the babies don’t get their mothers’ milk. They are fed some kind of formula instead so that the milk “product” isn’t “wasted.” After all, bovine mammary secretions are created for humans! WHAT??!!
Milk is maternal lactating secretion produced by the mammary glands of mammals who have given birth. Milk, by definition, is a short-term nutrient for newborn—baby growth formula that is biologically designed for specific species. Cow milk is perfectly designed to transform a baby cow who weighs less than 100 pounds (45 kg) into an adult cow who can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (907 kg), depending on breed. All milk produced by mammals contains hormones, proteins, fats, growth factors, and cholesterol, for an infant of a particular species. Cow milk also contains millions of pus cells, blood, steroids, bacteria, pathogens, and acidic proteins (which leech minerals and calcium from human bones). Over 80% of the protein in cow milk is casein, which is so gooey and sticky that it is also used as an ingredient in paint and glue!
The good news is that the dairy industry wouldn’t be fighting back so hard if sales of dairy products were not rapidly declining, and dairy farm closures were not at record high numbers. Sales of 100% plant-based products continue to skyrocket, as consumers finally wake up to the suffering and violence that these emotional, lovable cows experience. Today there are many nutritious and delicious alternatives to dairy that don’t come from suffering and slaughter. (Yes, all of these cows are ultimately sent to a slaughterhouse after the dairy industry is done exploiting them.)
The choice to support the dairy industry is a conscious decision to harm, exploit, and kill animals. Going vegan is simply about choosing peace and compassion, instead of suffering and violence. Please say NO to dairy!
HAVE YOU EVER MET A PIG?
Pigs are emotional and have distinct personalities. They are gentle, lovable, loyal, and intelligent animals—as smart as a three-year-old child! Pigs are just as sociable as dogs and can develop strong bonds with humans. Pigs like to snuggle with each other and sleep nose to nose. They exhibit empathy for others and have excellent long-term memories. Pigs love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other. Pigs can live in complex social communities, in which they keep track of other individuals—pigs, humans, and other animals. Pigs communicate constantly with one another, with over 20 different vocalizations to communicate different things.
In the animal agriculture industry, pigs are kept in cramped, dirty, overcrowded conditions and are deprived of exercise and fresh air. They are subjected to mutilations, such as tail-docking, teeth-clipping, and castration, without any pain relief. Additionally, male piglets are killed at birth if they are not needed for breeding—piglets are picked up by their back legs, their heads are slammed onto the cement floor (a standard practice called pig-thumping), and then they are discarded into a “dead box,” and later into a dumpster. There are also mother pigs inside the dumpsters, who are tossed inside because they are too sick or injured to “produce” more piglets. Mother pigs are confined in metal gestation crates that are so small that they can barely move, while their babies nurse from their restrained mother.
Mother pigs (sows) live inside warehouses with thousands of other sows in caged cement stalls in which they must stand alone, with no room to turn or even to stretch, staring into the dark, year after year, as they are repeatedly forcibly impregnated to produce piglets. Piglets live packed so tightly that they have to literally sleep on top of each other. The only time they are exposed to fresh air is when they are inside trucks on their way to slaughter.
When it’s time for slaughter, pigs are hosed down with water in pens before they are electrically stunned or electrocuted. A slaughterhouse worker holds an electric clamp or wand to each pig’s head, forcing the current into the brain. Another method of killing pigs is a gas chamber. Pigs are corralled into gas chambers, which are then filled with high concentrations of carbon dioxide. Breathing carbon dioxide is very painful and causes acute respiratory distress, causing an agonizingly slow death.
PIGS AND DOGS ARE VERY SIMILAR
Both wag their tails when they are happy.
They are very smart, sociable, loyal, and emotional.
They love to cuddle and be petted.
Pigs and dogs can live indoors with humans as companion animals.
Both can learn tricks, such as how to sit on command, roll over, and jump through hoops.
They can remember specific past events, and can anticipate future events.
Pigs and dogs love to run around and play in wide open spaces.
They engage in play fighting with each other.
They love lying in the sun in piles with other dogs and pigs.
Pigs and dogs show empathy for other animals.
They call for help when their human companion needs medical attention.
But in the animal agriculture industry, pigs are born in metal gestation crates, allowed to nurse from their restrained mother through farrowing crates on concrete. They have their tails chopped off and their teeth snipped off. They are locked inside filthy crowded pens, and slaughtered at six months of age after lives of misery. In contrast, dogs are protected by laws, have rights, and are not eaten by most humans.
“PIG THUMPING” AND “DEAD BOXES”
Pig thumping is a standard procedure in the animal agriculture industry worldwide. In factory farms, sickly and injured piglets are picked up by their back legs, their heads are slammed onto the cement floor, and then they are discarded into a “dead box,” and later into a dumpster. There are also mother pigs inside the dumpsters, who are in there because they are too sick or injured to “produce” more piglets. Some of these pigs don’t die right away, and therefore lie in agony inside these dumpsters until they die. When you make the decision pay for bacon, porkchops, ham, sausage, or anything with pig flesh in it, you pay for this too.
Is a momentary taste sensation a legitimate, ethical justification for this suffering?
DO YOU HAVE COMPASSION?
Please look at this face. He is a terrified, emotional individual who doesn’t want to die. Could you slaughter him yourself? Of course not. That’s not who you are. That’s why you immediately felt compassion when you saw his face.
So then, how do you avoid accepting responsibility for his suffering and slaughter when you eat bacon? How do you shut off your compassion for a momentary taste sensation?
You know that pigs, cows, turkeys, and chickens are fundamentally no different from dogs, cats, parrots, and horses. All of these animals have intrinsic value, seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live.
People prefer to dismiss the fact that their “food” was actually a living being rather than face their complicity and responsibility in the abuse and slaughter. Acknowledging that your “food” came from someone who suffered and died means accepting that you indirectly caused the suffering, that you were misinformed by people you love and respect, that you have been duped by corporate propaganda and lies, and that you have fiercely defended your choices and denied anything contrary—until you wake up and face the reality.
Of course, you will have to face hardcore truths about what you have been supporting, which will make you feel guilty. Obviously, people don’t want to deal with the appalling realization that they have been responsible for pain, misery, suffering, and terror inflicted on gentle, harmless animals. But pretending it isn’t happening isn’t going to make it stop. You simply have to make the decision to stop being a part of it.
HAVE YOU EVER MET A TURKEY?
Turkeys are intelligent, friendly creatures with unique personalities. They are social animals who can form strong bonds with one another and with other animals, as well as humans. People have them as companion animals, and they can be quite affectionate. They enjoy being petted and scratched on their necks and backs. They communicate with a wide range of vocalizations and even have the ability to learn and to recognize human faces. Turkeys can also be very curious and playful, and they love dust bathing.
In the animal agriculture industry, turkeys are bred to grow so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, leading to immense suffering. They are bred to rapidly attain an obscenely abnormal weight, and given antibiotics and hormones to enhance their growth, which causes health issues, including heart failure.
Turkeys are confined in cramped, filthy conditions with hardly any space to move, and they are subjected to extreme stress and disease. They are mutilated without pain relief and endure horrific slaughtering practices.
TURKEYS ARE EMOTIONAL INDIVIDUALS WITH CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEMS
While you are expressing gratitude on Thanksgiving, please open your heart, and refrain from harming and killing others for tradition and taste pleasure.
Turkeys are sentient beings, just like humans and dogs. Sentience is the ability to feel emotions, to perceive surroundings, and to experience life as a fully self-aware individual. Turkeys are socially-complex beings, with feelings, and a strong sense that they are individuals. They want to live. They want to avoid suffering and death. They fight for their lives just as we would if someone were trying to harm or kill us.
Turkeys have central nervous systems, just like humans and dogs, which means that they have the capacity to experience pain and suffering. Just like you and your companion animals, they want to form bonds with friends, to take care of their babies, and to experience love and affection.
All sentient beings have the right to live free from exploitation, harm, and slaughter by humans. Humans have the great fortune of being able to behave morally, to think rationally, and to live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions. Please choose compassion this Thanksgiving...and every day.
You can express gratitude for your life and blessings without harming and killing others.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TURKEYS AND CHICKENS ARE SLAUGHTERED?
Many people believe that we have laws protecting animals who are killed to become human food, but that’s not the case in the United States for birds. Birds represent over 98% of land animals who are slaughtered for human food.
Because the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act mentions only pigs, cows, sheep, and horses, the Department of Agriculture excludes birds and other animals from this “protection” (which applies only to the exact moment the animals are slaughtered, not their miserable lives up until that point). In the U.S., there are no federal laws that protect birds at all.
The following method of killing birds is the industry standard in the U.S. and around the world. This slaughter method is considered “humane.” Over nine billion birds are killed for human food each year in the U.S.; over 50 billion are killed annually worldwide.
After quickly and mercilessly removing the birds from crates, often breaking their wings and legs, slaughterhouse workers force the legs of these terrified birds into shackles on a conveyor belt. They hang upside down as they move through a vat of electrified water, a “stun bath.” Every minute, approximately 180 birds are dragged through the electrified water. The birds flap around and struggle in agony until the get to the end of the line, where their throats are slit by an industrial blade.
The point of the stun bath is to weaken their neck muscles and to constrict their wing muscles in order to immobilize them for the neck-cutting blade. This electrified water is also designed to decrease the struggling of the birds as the blood drains from their necks, in order to promote rapid bleeding, as well as to loosen the birds’ feathers so that they can be more easily removed after they are slaughtered. These birds experience intense torture as their dangling bodies move slowly down the line. How is this slaughter method “humane”?
Think about all of that suffering. Now multiply that suffering to include the 50 BILLION birds who suffer and die this way annually worldwide. How can you enjoy eating something that comes from such extreme pain and violence?
Please, this Thanksgiving, start a new tradition... a tradition about gratitude and kindness that doesn’t involve suffering and slaughter. Then extend that ethical tradition to your daily life.
HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE BEING THANKFUL FOR YOUR BLESSINGS?
Let’s call Thanksgiving dinner what it is: A celebration of the intentional breeding, abuse, and slaughter of sentient beings for taste pleasure and tradition. Sentient beings experience life through their senses, through their connections to their environment, and through bonds and relationships that they form with others. A sentient being with a central nervous system can experience emotions, and pain and suffering. If you and your family are expressing gratitude for your blessings with a meal featuring slaughtered flesh and bodily fluids (dairy and eggs) from animals who suffered and died, please engage in some critical thinking about what you are doing.
Turkeys, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep, and pigs are sentient beings with central nervous systems. They are no different from traditional companion animals like cats and dogs. They all love affection, bond with others, care about their babies, and want to live. People who have developed relationships with dogs and cats know that animals have the capacity to love them and to bond with them. Animals raised for food are no different. There is no moral justification for treating them any differently than we would treat a traditional companion animal or another human.
Many people honestly don’t know what these animals endure because it is hidden very well. Many of the animal agriculture industry’s standard practices are horrendously barbaric: castration, de-beaking, de-horning, teeth clipping, tail clipping, mutilation, forced insemination, etc. All of these procedures are extremely painful and are done without any anesthetic. These animals also endure intense confinement and overcrowding, food and water deprivation, toxic conditions of extreme filth, debilitating infections and diseases... The list goes on and on.
All of that misery happens until the day that these animals are slaughtered, which many people like to believe is actually “humane.” These animals aren’t machines. Their senses are in overload in slaughterhouses. Animals rely heavily on their senses of sight, smell, and hearing. They are very much aware of the mechanical clanging and clunking, humans shouting, industrial white noise, and the other animals screaming and trying to escape. They can smell the blood and terror around them. They can witness the brutality right in front of them. Imminent death is a sensory assault for them, just as it would be for us. They know that they are going to die, and they are terrified. These animals endure severe psychological, emotional, and physical trauma for their entire lives. And there is no way to humanely kill someone who doesn’t want to die.
Those dead turkeys, and all of the other animals on your dinner table, wanted to spend time with their loved ones too. Instead, they suffered for their entire lives. It’s not possible to logically argue that these animals are mere objects who feel no pain or emotions. Not only is animal sentience well-documented in scientific literature (scientific acceptance of animal sentience was documented in 2012 by the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness), but numerous videos of the horrors animals endure in slaughterhouses, factory farms, and dairy and egg operations are abundantly available online. These animals are sentient beings who try to avoid pain and who fight to stay alive. It is undeniable that these animals experience suffering and misery.
Even if you don’t have compassion for certain animals or you believe that animals are inferior to humans, what about abiding by standards of decency and non-violence for all sentient inhabitants in our world? All sentient beings have the right to live free from exploitation, harm, and slaughter, and humans have the great fortune of being able to behave morally, to think rationally, and to live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions. Please think about it and open your heart. Being thankful for your blessings should involve non-violence and compassion for others. You can express thankfulness for your life and blessings without harming and slaughtering someone.
FOIE GRAS CAUSES IMMENSE SUFFERING
Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese a nutrient-deficient mixture of corn, oil, water, and salt, three to four times a day. This mixture is pumped into their stomachs through a metal pipe. Pipe insertion often results in wounds to their throat, esophagus, and neck, and sometimes their necks are broken from this violent procedure. Following force-feeding, elastic may be wrapped around their necks to prevent vomiting. When their livers have been swollen to six to 10 times normal size, the birds are slaughtered and their diseased (hepatic lipidosis) livers are sold as pâté.
For more information, visit Foie Gras Myths Busted.
To learn more about birds, visit United Poultry Concerns.
FISH ARE SENTIENT BEINGS
An abundance of evidence shows that fish feel pain and suffer just as much as other animals. Fish have central nervous systems, and they are sentient. They experience emotions, including loneliness, terror, & fear.
“Fish Feel is the first organization devoted to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and compassion. Fish Feel primarily serves to help educate the public as to why these animals are deserving of our admiration and appreciation, the immense problems caused by the exploitation of them, and how we can help them.”
FISH FEEL PAIN
Fish have nerves, as we do, to detect the elements that cause pain—heat, chemicals, and pressure.
Fish have nerve receptors that detect painful events.
Pain signals are sent to higher brain areas.
Pain receptors are similar to amphibians, birds, and mammals.
The three types of pain receptors in people are also in fish.
Fish pain sensitivity is comparable to humans.
In an experiment, 22 pain receptors were found on the face of rainbow trout. Neural activity was recorded from single cells in the face when either a mechanical probe, heat, or a weak acid was applied. THE FISH NERVE ENDINGS ON THE FACE WERE ACTUALLY MORE SENSITIVE, WHEN PRESSURE WAS APPLIED, THAN THOSE IN HUMANS, AND WERE MORE SENSITIVE THAN OUR EYES. (Braithwaite, 2003).
Abstract: Nociception is the detection of a noxious tissue-damaging stimulus and is sometimes accompanied by a reflex response such as withdrawal. Pain perception, as distinct from nociception, has been demonstrated in birds and mammals but has not been systematically studied in lower vertebrates. We assessed whether a fish possessed cutaneous nociceptors capable of detecting noxious stimuli and whether its behavior was sufficiently adversely affected by the administration of a noxious stimulus. Electrophysiological recordings from trigeminal nerves identified polymodal nociceptors on the head of the trout with physiological properties similar to those described in higher vertebrates. These receptors responded to mechanical pressure, temperatures in the noxious range (more than 40 degrees C) and 1% acetic acid, a noxious substance. In higher vertebrates nociceptive nerves are either A-delta or C fibers with C fibers being the predominating fibre type. However, in the rainbow trout A-delta fibers were most common, and this offers insights into the evolution of nociceptive systems. Administration of noxious substances to the lips of the trout affected both the physiology and the behavior of the animal and resulted in a significant increase in opercular beat rate and the time taken to resume feeding, as well as anomalous behaviors. This study provides significant evidence of nociception in teleost fishes and furthermore demonstrates that behavior and physiology are affected over a prolonged period of time, suggesting discomfort. [See the study HERE.]
FISH HAVE EXTREMELY SENSITIVE PAIN RECEPTORS
In humans and other higher vertebrates, there are two types of nerve fibers used in pain transmission:
‘A’ fibers that transmit pain signals quickly, involved in the fast, pricking sensation of pain
‘C’ fibers that transmit pain signals slowly, involved in aching pain
In vertebrates, including fish and humans, the trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve), conveys sensory signal information from the head and mouth to the brain. In one experiment, in Scotland, rainbow trout were deeply anaesthetized. The head was operated on to expose the trigeminal nerve, which was stimulated by very fine wire, heat and chemicals. The research found both of these fiber types (Sneddon, 2006). [See the study HERE.]
Russian scientists recorded the responses of various fish to painful electrical shocks, which caused their tails to jerk. They were then given painkillers, followed by further shocks. Painkillers reduced the tail jerks by up to 89%. The most sensitive areas to pain were the tail and pectoral fins, skin around the eye, and olfactory sacs. Pain sensitivity was found to be comparable to humans (Chervova and Lapshin, 2004). [See the study HERE.]
In research carried out at Manchester University in England, the face of the trout was stimulated while responses in the trigeminal nerve in the brain were recorded. It was found that skin receptors of trout are more sensitive to mechanical stimulus than mammals and birds. It was conjectured that this is because fish are continuously exposed to water pressure, bacteria and fungi. Fish were also pain-sensitive to lower thresholds of heat than mammals (Ashley, 2007). [See the study HERE.]
For more information on scientific research and studies regarding fish pain, please visit Fish Pain.
BEES AND HONEY
Honey is not vegan because bees are sentient individuals who suffer and die just like other animals who are exploited for human “food.”
Honey is the food source for bees. They make it so that they have something to eat when there aren’t enough flowers in bloom, such as during the winter. Bees invest their entire lives making this unique food, which they need for survival. They collect nectar (a source of carbohydrates) and pollen (a source of protein) from flowers, and then create honey, which they store in the hive and consume when needed. Honey is an energy source packed with all of the nutrients that bees need to survive and be healthy.
When humans eat honey, they are taking away a unique and crucial food source from bees, who are essential to the world as crop pollinators. Humans cannot survive without bees. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate most of the world’s flowering plants, including a third of the world’s food crops, such as fruits and vegetables.
Beekeepers keep bees to make a profit. Just like dairy farmers and egg farmers, they are exploiting animals for their bodily secretions so that they can make money. Profit is their primary concern, not the health or well-being of the animals. When beekeepers take the bees’ food source, do they leave enough honey for the hive? Most beekeepers take all the honey and replace it with sugar water or high fructose corn syrup for the bees to consume, which makes them sick. Bees cannot turn these harmful substances into honey. When they become sick because they have been deprived of their food source and fed cheap, artificial syrups, they become less effective pollinators and eventually die.
Avoiding honey is consistent with the ethical philosophy of veganism because bees are animals. Vegans are mindful of the ethical implications and environmental consequences of the exploitation of bees and the beekeeping industry.
For more information about bees, click on the images below, and visit There’s an Elephant In the Room: Using Bees for Honey; It’s Not Vegan and It’s Not “Conservation.”
THE DOWN INDUSTRY
THE FUR INDUSTRY
THE LEATHER AND SHEEPSKIN INDUSTRIES
THE WOOL INDUSTRY
Sheep raised for wool production endure horrendous abuse. They have been selectively bred so that they don’t naturally shed their fleece, and bred to grow more wool than is natural, which causes continuous suffering because their skin accumulates moisture and bacteria, resulting in constant soreness and irritation. Many of them die from heat exhaustion because of their unnaturally thick coats. Most sheep raised for wool have their tails cut off and their ears hole-punched, and the males are castrated, of course without pain relief.
A standard procedure in the wool industry is mulesing—an extremely brutal process of hacking off chunks of flesh from their posterior and legs (without pain relief, of course), which is done to keep flies from getting into their thick wool and skin folds. Sheep endure unspeakable pain and suffering so that humans can have their wool, and of course the sheep are slaughtered for food when they stop producing a profitable amount of wool.
Here is a comprehensive, graphic video by Erin Janus that explains and shows it all: The Wool Industry EXPOSED (What They Don't Want You To Know).