WHAT’S UP WITH THIS WEBSITE?
I created this website in order to help animals. Because I also love ‘80s music, I decided to create a website about both. My hope is that you will have an open mind about the reality of animal agriculture, and that you will read the information provided here, and think about how our daily choices impact chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals——as well as how our choices impact our planet, humanity in general, and our health.
Provided here are brief summaries about different aspects of being vegan, including links to videos and research. Don’t worry! Anything graphic will be labeled as such. I encourage you to investigate for yourself. Thank you for taking the time to check it out!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE VEGAN?
Defined by The Vegan Society in 1949, “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.”
Veganism is a moral standpoint that affects choices about food, lifestyle, and pretty much everything. Living vegan has profoundly beneficial impacts on your health and our planet.
Veganism is an ethical philosophy. The term plant-based describes a diet of foods derived only from plants, such as vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Being vegan is about doing your best to cause the least amount of harm possible. Vegans try their best not to contribute to animal cruelty, suffering, and killing. Being vegan is about the animals, and nothing else.
There are many documentaries about going vegan. These are six of the most popular.
Click on the images for more information.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret addresses environmental concerns.
The Game Changers features vegan athletes and bodybuilders.
THE HUMANE SLAUGHTER MYTH
Humane slaughter doesn’t exist. Animals aren't machines. Their senses are in overload. In slaughterhouses, they can smell the feces and blood in the air. They can hear the mechanical clanging and clunking, humans shouting, industrial white noise, and the other animals screaming and trying to escape. This non-graphic footage (click on the image below) shows the experience of a cow who is waiting in line to die. If you want to see what the last moments of life are like in a slaughterhouse, but you can’t bear to see blood or violence, watch how this cow reacts while awaiting his death.
THEY KNOW IT’S COMING...
Even if you believe that the method of ultimately killing these animals is “quick and painless” (which isn’t true), animals rely heavily on their senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Imminent death is a sensory assault for them, just as it would be for us. They know it’s coming, and they are terrified. They 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.
FACTORY FARM CONFINEMENT DEVICES
This short animated film from Mercy For Animals shows standard cruel factory farm confinement devices. Over 99% of animals used for food in the United States come from factory farms. And the vast majority of U.S. factory farms use brutally small gestation crates and farrowing cages for pigs (banned in only 10 states), battery cages for hens (banned in only 6 states), and veal crates for dairy industry calves (banned in only 9 states). Click HERE for more information about states that use these devices.
Can you imagine living like this, barely able to move, waiting to be slaughtered - for almost your entire life?
These animals are not machines. It’s not possible to logically argue that they are mere objects that don't suffer physically and emotionally. We can live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions. Please think about your food choices and ask yourself if compassion and morality are more important than your sensory pleasure, convenience, traditions, and cultural habits.
ANIMALS ARE SENTIENT BEINGS
Sentience means the ability to experience emotions including pleasure, pain, and fear. All birds, mammals, and fish (and many other animals) are sentient and socially-complex beings, with feelings and a strong sense that they are individuals. They want to live and avoid suffering and death. They fight for their lives just as we would if someone were trying to harm or kill us.
Beyond being sentient, so-called “farm” animals have individual personalities and can develop intricate social relationships just like cats and dogs. If you have ever developed a relationship with a dog or cat, then you know that animals have the capacity to love and bond. Pigs, chickens, cows, and other 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.
OF COURSE THEY SUFFER
These animals may not be as intelligent as most humans, but they certainly experience suffering, fear, and loneliness. If you don’t believe that these animals are sentient, please visit an animal sanctuary to meet them in person, or simply watch videos of them online. And if you believe that they are inferior to humans or you don’t feel compassion for them, could you abide by standards of decency and nonviolence for all sentient inhabitants of our planet?
The point is not whether animals who are exploited and slaughtered for food suffer. Of course they suffer——physically and emotionally. It’s not really possible to logically argue that they are mere objects without sentience when you can watch videos of the horrors they endure at slaughterhouses, factory farms, and dairy and egg operations.
All sentient beings have the right to live free from exploitation, harm, and slaughter by humans——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.
SCIENTIFIC ACCEPTANCE OF ANIMAL SENTIENCE
Scientific acceptance of animal sentience was documented in 2012 by the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness,a prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists.
Here is the summary of their findings:
“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
There’s a psychological phenomenon that explains why intelligent, compassionate “animal lovers” consume animals and animal products, even though they are aware of the pain and suffering that the animals endure in factory farms and slaughterhouses.
It’s COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, the uncomfortable tension that people experience when they try to maintain two contradictory core beliefs or values at the same time.
Most people grew up consuming animals and animal products, and have continued to do so for their entire lives because of family traditions, ingrained cultural habits, convenience, and sensory pleasures.
However, most people also sustain a core value that animal cruelty is wrong. Abundant evidence now exists that the animal agriculture industry unavoidably inflicts horrendous pain and suffering on these animals, but from childhood we have we been brainwashed by corporate propaganda to ignore their pain and suffering. Additionally, our brains are actually hard-wired to prevent us from focusing on what causes the paradoxical discord of cognitive dissonance.
American psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance in the 1950s. Research shows that when people have a core belief or value, and they are then presented with new information that conflicts with that core belief or value, they tend to reject the new information and cling to their original core belief or value—even if the new information is rational, readily available, irrefutably backed up by concrete evidence, and right in front of their eyes!
For many people, it is too problematic to think about the connection between the living, emotional animals who suffered, and the consumption of the objectified “food,” the neatly packaged and prepared corpses and bodily secretions of those animals who endured lifelong misery and torture. Cognitive dissonance is a defense mechanism that unconsciously keeps people from thinking about the animals at all. They convince themselves that the “food” is an object rather than something derived from a living, emotional being who suffered.
To avoid the moral dilemma of accepting responsibility for the suffering and slaughter of other harmless, sentient beings, people will instinctively disassociate themselves from any emotional connection to the chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys, sheep, ducks, and other animals, in order to reduce the intrinsic value of these animals, and to eliminate any ethical concern.
But, of course, these animals used for food are fundamentally no different from the dogs, cats, horses, parrots, and other traditional companion animals we choose to value and love in our homes. All of these animals seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live.
Cognitive dissonance causes people to compartmentalize their ethics, as they desperately try to protect their original core belief or value. They rationalize, deny, disregard, and attack. The mental game is to convince themselves that there is actually no conflict at all, in order to remain comfortable rather than change their behavior.
This cerebral tug-of-war can cause a lot of internal guilt, which propels people go to extreme lengths in order to avoid facing that their food choices are not in accordance with their ethics and values.
It’s easier for people to dismiss and avoid processing the new information rather than face their complicity and responsibility in the cruelty and suffering. Some people viciously attack or attempt to discredit the source who presents the new conflicting information. When people become irate and hateful toward vegans, it’s usually because they know that they are causing pain and suffering to animals, which clashes with their core value that animal cruelty is wrong—but they lash out at the vegans rather than deal with the cognitive dissonance and consider changing their behavior.
Some people rely on bizarre justifications for their consumption of animals and animal products, such as “Plants feel pain,” “Lions kill animals,” “Humans have canines,” or “I need protein,” to name a few common excuses. Despite abundant scientific evidence that plants lack central nervous systems to generate pain responses; that unlike humans, lions are wild carnivorous animals lacking the capacity to think rationally and behave morally; that human canine teeth are rounded and designed for grinding rather than tearing through raw flesh; and that the building blocks of protein (amino acids) can all be derived directly from consuming plants, which is how all animals get protein; people cling to these illogical, groundless excuses rather than examine the plausibility and accuracy of what they are saying.
Finally acknowledging that food we consume comes from animal cruelty means accepting that we indirectly caused the suffering, that we were misinformed by people we loved and respected, that we were duped by corporate propaganda and lies, and that we fiercely defended our choices and denied anything contrary—for our entire lives. Of course, this process involves facing hardcore truths about what we have been unknowingly supporting, which will make us feel terrible about ourselves.
Cognitive dissonance is a major obstacle to ending the animal cruelty and suffering that is standard in the animal agriculture industry, because it involves an emotional detoxification process that is uncomfortable and difficult for people who have been consuming animals and animal products for their entire lives.
Obviously, people don’t want to deal with the appalling realization that they have been responsible for lifelong pain, suffering, and terror inflicted on gentle, harmless animals. But pretending it isn’t happening doesn’t make it stop.
Hopefully, understanding that this psychological phenomenon exists and is hard-wired in our brains will help those of us who are trying to convince our friends and family to go vegan, as well as the people who are resistant and adamantly opposed to the vegan message. When people become aware of what happens to these animals, and then deal with the cognitive dissonance, they will make compassionate, ethical choices consistent with who they really are.
IS BEING A VEGAN HEALTHY?
THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS SAYS YES!
Vegans are always being asked for proof and scientific data that vegan diets are healthy. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest organization of healthcare professionals in the United States, representing over 100,000 credentialed practitioners, published a position paper (in the December 2016 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 116, Issue 12, Pages 1970–1980), which affirms its official position that a vegan diet is best for human health and the environment.
This position paper is an update the organization’s 2009 position paper on vegetarian diets, and now includes vegan diets (The word "vegan" is mentioned 86 times!), and includes a section on environmental issues, concluding not only that that these diets are more sustainable and less damaging to the environment, but also that animal agriculture negatively impacts the environment.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics used a large collection of studies and public surveys to arrive at its conclusions. One conclusion is that “Overall nutrition, as assessed by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, is typically better on vegetarian and vegan diets compared with omnivorous diets.” There are 117 sources cited, and no potential conflicts of interest are disclosed, nor any funding sources revealed, which could have indicated bias. YOU MAY SEE THE ENTIRE STUDY AND DOWNLOAD A PDF HERE. For more information, visit PLANT-BASED NUTRITION & SCIENTIFIC STUDIES on the RESOURCES page...
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.
Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.”
WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN?
Plant-based foods provide all of the amino acids humans require to build protein. In fact, the human requirement for protein is so low (5 to 10% of our total caloric intake) that as long as you consume enough calories, it’s virtually impossible to have a protein deficiency. Animal foods are not necessary to get the protein your body needs. All of the protein you need can be easily derived from plant foods alone.
If you eat whole, natural plants, you will get enough of every single essential amino acid. And abundant studies show that people who consume a plant-based diet maintain a healthy weight, and have a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancers, than people who eat animals and their secretions.
ANIMAL AGRICULTURE & GREENHOUSE GASSES
A report from the United Nations in 2006 stated that the animal agriculture industry is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the emissions from all forms of worldwide transportation combined.
Then in 2009, Worldwatch Institute reported that 18% was an under-estimation based on many factors that were omitted (see below). Taking all of these omissions into account, Worldwatch Institute found that the animal agriculture industry is actually responsible for at least 51% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Their detailed findings may be found here. There is more information on the RESOURCES page under CLIMATE CHANGE & THE ENVIRONMENT
ANIMAL AGRICULTURE CONTRIBUTES TO 51% OF GREENHOUSE GASSES RELEASED WORLDWIDE, NOT 18%!
Worldwatch Institute reports that 18% is an under-estimation based on many factors:
Exclusion of animal respiration
Overlooked land use
Undercounted methane emissions
The increase of animal product consumption since the data used by the United Nations
Undercounting of animal statistics
The increase in emissions than in the previous years on which the United Nations data was based
The United Nations’ use of data in very efficient areas that are not representative of developing countries where the industry is growing the fastest
Exclusion of emissions from deforestation, which is done to grow food for farm animals
Exclusion of emissions from farmed fish and the construction and operation of facilities for marine organisms, which are fed to farm animals
Exclusion of the use of fluorocarbons needed for cooling animal products
Exclusion of emissions from the necessary cooking of animal products
Not accounting for waste disposal (of bone, fat, and spoiled body parts that are disposed in landfills, incinerators, and waterways)
Not accounting for production, distribution, and disposal of packaging used for animal products
Not accounting for production, distribution, disposal, and packaging of byproducts such as leather, feathers, skin, and fur
Exclusion of carbon-intensive medical treatment for millions of cases worldwide of zoonotic illnesses (such as swine flu) and chronic degenerative illnesses (such as coronary heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and hypertension leading to strokes) linked to the consumption of animal products
Taking all of these omissions into account, Worldwatch Institute found that the animal agriculture industry is actually responsible for at least 51% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Their detailed findings may be found here.
Why should we care about greenhouse gasses? Greenhouse gasses (such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons) absorb infrared radiation, trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses cause the earth’s temperature to rise, which causes polar ice caps to melt, resulting in a rise in sea level and destructive flooding. Greenhouse gasses also deplete the earth’s ozone layer by converting ozone to oxygen, causing holes in the earth’s protective ozone layer, which let in harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Animal agriculture creates massive amounts of these very harmful greenhouse gasses.
IS IT NORMAL TO CONSUME DAIRY?
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. Mammary secretions are specifically designed for the babies of specific animals. Milk is baby growth formula, and contains hormones, proteins, fats, minerals, etc. for an infant of a particular species.
Would you drink dog milk? Giraffe milk? Orangutan milk? That's crazy, right?! Would you drink human breast milk if a pregnant woman squeezed you a glass? Would you eat cheese or ice cream made from human breast milk? Gross, right?! You won't consume the milk of your own species, but you think it's totally normal to consume bovine bodily fluids as an adult? Perhaps because you've been told that it was normal since you were a child?
WHY ARE YOU STILL BREASTFEEDING?
Isn’t it fundamentally gross and crazy to consume the mammary secretions of another species, especially as an adult? Why would an adult human be breastfeeding? And from a cow rather than another human? Accept that you were brainwashed by corporate propaganda. Most vegans were too, until we really thought about it.
It’s all about exploiting defenseless animals for money. The dairy industry floods the 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? It’s time to wake up!
Plant-based alternatives to dairy are much healthier, and they are everywhere now, and they don’t come from animal cruelty and suffering.
WHAT IS IN COW MILK?
Milk is maternal lactating secretion, a short-term nutrient for newborns. Cow’s milk is perfectly designed to turn a 100-pound calf into a 2,000-pound cow. Like all mothers milk, it is filled with hormones, proteins, growth factors, fat, and cholesterol. Additionally, cow milk contains millions of pus cells, blood, feces, antibiotics, steroids, bacteria, pathogens, and acidic proteins (which leech minerals and calcium from human bones). Over 80% of the protein in cow's milk is casein, which is also used as an ingredient in some paints, glues, and, oh yes...cheese.
DO PLANTS FEEL PAIN?
Plants do not have central nervous systems, which means that they can’t feel pain. It’s true that plants do have reactions (such as releasing gasses and producing sound waves) in response to certain stimuli that we would consider painful, but plants do not have pain receptors, which are specific types of nerve cells. They lack the nerves to feel “pain” like animals do.
Furthermore, farm animals destined to become human food eat massive amounts of plants to create very small amounts of very nutritionally deficient meat. It’s an enormous waste of plants. So, if you still think that plants feel pain, eating animals who are fed plants creates more plant “pain” than eating plants directly.
If we stopped intensively breeding animals by the billions for food, and instead grew crops to feed humans, we could easily feed every human on the planet with healthy and affordable food. More than 870 million people in the world are starving.
Every year, 6 million children die of starvation. Animal agriculture causes human hunger, poverty, and death – 82% of the world’s starving children live in countries where grains are fed to animals, so that the animals may be slaughtered, and then shipped to be eaten by the wealthy in other countries.
Please think about how your food choices affect starving children, and be compassionate: GO VEGAN.
“THE FOOD CHAIN”
Sometimes people say that they eat animals and animal products because of "the food chain." "The food chain,” if it were actually a natural part of life and evolution for human beings, would not entail forced breeding, artificial insemination, genetic manipulation, enslavement, torture, and slaughter of other beings in factory farms and slaughterhouses. The concept of the food chain refers to what is eaten IN THE WILD.
A food chain shows how nutrients and energy are passed from creature to creature, beginning with plants and ending with animals. Some animals eat plants, some animals eat other animals., and some animals eat both.
Anything NATURAL would involve humans in a NATURAL state, rather than a grocery store, a restaurant, or a kitchen. In nature, in the wild, fending for themselves, most humans lack the physical skills to survive. Humans would hardly be at the top of a food chain.
The vast majority of humans eat animals that have been genetically manipulated and are artificially bred in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Those horrendous torture facilities created by humans have nothing to do with any naturally occurring food chain.
“WE ARE OMNIVORES!”
“OUR CANINE TEETH ARE FOR EATING MEAT!”
Yes, humans CAN eat like omnivores, but that doesn’t mean that we ARE omnivores. Behavior doesn’t necessarily indicate appropriateness. There are plenty of behaviors that we CAN do as a species which would threaten our survival if we all considered them appropriate (such as cannibalism or heroin usage).
People often claim that humans are omnivores because of our teeth. Of course we have incisors, but they are very different from the incisors of omnivores. The incisors of omnivores are short and pointed, but our incisors are broad and flattened. The canines of omnivores are long, sharp, and curved fangs, but our canines are short and blunted. The molars of omnivores are sharp blades, but our molars are flattened with cusps. Human teeth are designed for grinding and chewing fibrous plants, not for shearing and shredding raw flesh and then swallowing it whole.
Our teeth are specifically designed for chewing fruit, seeds, nuts, and vegetation. The teeth of omnivores are designed for shearing and crushing – They have minimal to no lateral or forward mobility for chewing. That's why actual omnivores rip and chew raw flesh with their teeth and then swallow it whole. Humans have to cook the raw flesh so that we are able to chew it, then season it with spices - and eat it with utensils! That’s not what actual omnivores do.
In addition to teeth, here’s a list of other striking differences between actual carnivores/omnivores and humans: facial muscles, size of mouth opening, tongue texture, jaw type, jaw angle, jaw joint location, jaw motion and mastication, jaw muscles, salivary enzymes, saliva chemistry, salivary gland size, stomach acidity, stomach capacity, small intestine length, colon type, colon length, colon shape, colon chemistry, bile flow, short-chain fatty acid conversion, vitamin A liver detoxification capability, liver type, liver size, kidney secretion of the enzyme uricase, urinary concentration, urine chemistry, fiber necessity for peristalsis (involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine), cholesterol metabolism, cellulose metabolism, digestion completion time, brain chemistry fuel, circadian rhythm (number of hours spent sleeping), placenta shape, number of mammaries, type of mammaries, cooling system and perspiration, color vision capability, claws versus nails, paws versus hands, movement (gait), and skin and hair coverage.
“THE MOST INHUMANE TREATMENT”
“I have unfortunately been inside slaughterhouses and can tell you that the animals are not willingly walking up to the end of the kill line and sticking their necks out.
These animals fight with every bit of strength they have left at the end of that kill line. They fight to get out of that kill line. They don't want to die, and they know it's coming. They see, and they know exactly what's going to happen to them. There is absolutely no truth that any process of slaughtering is humane. From the moment those animals are taken from those trucks and forced through the slaughtering process, it is the most inhumane treatment that I have ever witnessed.” - Cayce Mell (HumaneMYTH.org)
“IT ALL COMES DOWN TO PAIN AND SUFFERING...
Not intelligence, not strength, not social class or civil right. Pain and suffering... should be prevented or minimized, irrespective of the race, sex, or species of the being that suffers...
And non-human animals experience sensations just like we do.... They too are capable of growth and adaptation. Like us, first and foremost, they are earthlings. And like us, they are surviving. Like us, they also seek their own comfort rather than discomfort. And like us, they express degrees of emotion. In short, like us, they are alive; most of them being, in fact, vertebrae, just like us.”
(from the documentary Earthlings)
"Carnism" is the widespread belief system that conditions us to eat animals by operating outside our awareness, and therefore without our conscious consent.
Please watch this video, The Secret Reason We Eat Meat, in which Dr. Melanie Joy explains why rational, compassionate people don’t question the system of "carnism." This mostly animated video is 18 minutes long, and it is non-graphic except for two minutes starting at the 8:15 mark.
“Violent systems such as carnism keep themselves alive by using defense mechanisms so that rational, humane people participate in irrational, inhumane practices without fully realizing what they are doing. These defenses hide the truth about animal agriculture and distort what little we are able to see so that we support a system that we would otherwise find deeply offensive.”
“Ultimately, hiding the truth about meat, egg, and dairy production from us is what carnism most depends on, so becoming aware of this truth is essential to freeing ourselves from this system.”
“Awareness is the greatest threat to carnism because with awareness we can make choices that reflect what we authentically think and feel rather than what we have been taught to think and feel.”
"When people of integrity clear their vision, they demand change. And powerful change is happening right now around the world, as more and more people are opening their minds and saying no to carnism. The vegan movement, which is the counterpoint to carnsim, is one of the fastest growing social justice movements in the world today.”
“The goal of the vegan movement is to create a world based on compassion rather than cruelty, empathy rather than apathy, authenticity rather than dishonesty, and justice rather than oppression.”
“BUT WE HAVE LAWS THAT PROTECT ALL OF THOSE FARM ANIMALS!”
It’s astounding that people just assume that this is true without any evidence. Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no federal regulations for the treatment of birds who are exploited and slaughtered for food. The U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (which was passed in 1958) only mentions exactly four types of animals: pigs, cows, sheep, and horses.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (same link above): “This Act requires the proper treatment and humane handling of all food animals slaughtered in USDA-inspected slaughter plants. It does not apply to chickens, turkeys, ducks, or other birds.”
BIRDS REPRESENT OVER 98.4% OF ANIMALS USED AND KILLED FOR FOOD IN THE U.S. (see below), which means that fewer than 2% of animals used and killed for food in the U.S. are “protected” by this law.*
Here are the U.S. farm animal slaughter totals for 2017 (from the USDA’s Poultry Slaughter 2017 Summary):
Chickens: 9,050,716,000 slaughtered
Turkeys: 241,677,000 slaughtered
Ducks: 26,628,000 slaughtered
Over 9.3 billion birds were killed for food in U.S. slaughterhouses in 2017.
The total of all land animals slaughtered for food (including cows, pigs, and sheep) in the U.S. in 2017 was 9,475,213,300 (from the USDA’s Livestock Slaughter 2017 Summary), WHICH MEANS THAT 98.4% OF THESE ANIMALS WERE BIRDS.
So, when your friends and family members tell you that we have laws to protect “food” animals, which ensure that these animals are treated “humanely,” tell them that chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other birds have NO federal laws AT ALL to protect them from the extreme cruelty that is standard procedure in the animal agriculture industry, and that those birds represent over 98% of animals killed for food.
Furthermore, the majority of U.S. states specifically exclude “food” animals from anti-cruelty laws. A few states do mention “food” animals in some anti-cruelty laws, but those laws are almost never enforced for animals hidden away on factory farms, where over 98% of farm animals come from, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And it’s important to note that THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO INSPECT FARMS FOR THE MISTREATMENT OF ANIMALS. Who enforces this federal law and these few state laws that purport to protect a tiny fraction of these “food” animals? NOBODY! That means that slaughterhouse and factory farm workers are legally permitted to do whatever they want to these animals, but thanks to undercover animal rights charity investigations, we can witness for ourselves in abundantly available videos how these tortured animals are actually treated while they are hidden away: out of sight, out of mind.
IF A PARROT, PIGEON, OR COCKATIEL WERE TREATED LIKE A FACTORY FARM CHICKEN, DUCK, OR TURKEY, IT WOULD BE CONSIDERED ANIMAL CRUELTY AND A CRIME. Please think about that hypocrisy, and if you are against animal cruelty, then simply stop paying for it to happen to ALL ANIMALS!
* The U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act applies exclusively to the exact moment that pigs, cows, sheep, and horses are slaughtered. It mandates nothing about how these animals should be treated from birth until the moment that they are killed. These animals have NO protection at all from the extreme cruelty and prolonged suffering that is standard procedure in the animal agriculture industry on factory farms, which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is where over 98% of these animals are kept until they are slaughtered (same links above).
ARE VEGANS DEFICIENT IN VITAMIN B12?
B12 deficiency is not just a vegan issue. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) does not naturally occur in meat, and is the only nutrient necessary for humans that is not directly available from plants. B12 exists at a microbial level as bacteria in soil and in pond water. Our ancestors acquired B12 by drinking from streams and eating unwashed vegetables, which most humans don’t do anymore.
B12 is synthesized by bacteria, fungi, and algae, but not by plants or animals. Animals consume these microorganisms along with their food, which is why this vitamin can be found in their flesh, organs, milk, and eggs. Some farm animals are actually given supplements of B12. Because animal products are not a direct source of B12, when we eat them, the B12 absorption rate is very low.
B12 deficiency is as common for vegans as it is for non-vegans, and can cause anemia, neurological disorders, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems. It’s best for everyone to take a B12 supplement (the methylcobalamin type is superior to the cyanocobalamin type), and to consume fortified food sources such as plant beverages, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Some people have difficulty absorbing B12 from fortified food and oral supplements, and must get B12 injections.
For more information, click HERE.
WHAT IS AN EGG?
Why do people even eat eggs? They are chicken periods. Female chickens have menstrual cycles like human women. Hens have ovaries. During a hen's cycle, an ovary sends a yolk on its path. The yolk forms the egg white goo as it moves through the reproductive tract into the shell gland. Later, out pops an egg.
OPINIONS & JUDGMENT
“It’s my opinion!” is the defense mechanism of ill-conceived, uninformed actions, including the support of animal agriculture. It may be your opinion that consuming animals and their bodily secretions (and using their skin for clothing) is totally fine, healthy, and ethical, but have you rationally thought about WHY you have that opinion? Do you have all of the facts and information to have a well-informed opinion, or is your opinion just a personal preference based on habit, tradition, your feelings, and very little data?
For example, is it your opinion that breeding, torturing, milking, skinning, and slaughtering dogs and cats is wrong? Why do you hold that opinion? Anyone can be misinformed or uneducated. It happens. But as a mature, intelligent, compassionate person, you are responsible for examining your opinions, and making decisions based on who you really are.
WHAT A CHILD SEES
Click on the image above for a two-minute video. Weren’t we all like this as children? Why did we allow the animal agriculture industry propaganda to change who we are?
“The animals love us.”
“I think they shouldn't be locked in cages.”
“I wouldn’t drink milk from a cow because it should be for the babies, not us.”
“I'm vegan because animals want to live.”
WHAT CODY SAW
This video shows how one man’s search to uncover the truth changed his life. Cody, an undercover investigator of the animal agriculture industry, secretly recorded what really happens to factory farm animals.
“One man's search to uncover the truth put his life on a course he never expected. See what happened to Cody, in one of the most powerful videos you will ever watch.”
Charles Darwin is one of the most influential humans in history, best known for his theory of evolution, and he recognized that all animals are sentient beings over 150 years ago.
Animals are not machines or mere objects. They have central nervous systems. They are emotional beings with the ability to experience pleasure, pain, agony, and fear.
Is the fleeting taste sensation of corpses and bodily secretions really that important to you, when there are so many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from lifelong pain and torture on factory farms, where 99% of animals used for food live in misery?
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 an entire life of pain and suffering, waiting to be slaughtered.
If you were experiencing this tortured existence, would you want someone to speak up for you?
"BUT OUR ANCESTORS ATE ANIMALS"
Yes, our ancestors hunted and fished for survival. They also lived in caves, practiced cannibalism, and owned slaves. Does history equal justification?
Of course hunting was an essential part of human survival 100,000 years ago, but now it is unnecessary and violent “recreation.” Humans are not natural hunters. Actual carnivorous predators hunt for survival and feel the hunger drive for raw flesh. Today, humans prepare or order a cooked meal, seasoned with spices - and eat it
We are no longer limited by the circumstances that our ancestors may have needed for survival. The point is that we have evolved, and we don’t need to consume animals anymore. We have reached a point in human evolution that we are able to live vegan.
Our ancestors did not have the same opportunity, nor did they have slaughterhouses and factory farms, where billions of animals are bred to be tortured to death. That's a far cry from hunting for your food to survive.
And an abundance of medical research has concluded that consumption of animal corpses and their bodily secretions is harmful to humans - and very destructive to our planet.
THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING VEGAN
This six-minute video explains why “the real difficulty in being vegan doesn’t involve food. The hardest part about being vegan is coming face to face with the darker side of humanity and trying to remain hopeful. It’s trying to understand why otherwise good and caring people continue to participate in needless violence against animals – just for the sake of their pleasure or convenience.”
The Vegan Activist creates educational videos, inspiring short films, and powerful documentaries. If there was a way to be healthy, while saving the animals and the planet, would you do it? If yes, please choose vegan.
THE CHINA STUDY
If you want abundant, hardcore scientific evidence that a vegan diet is the key to optimum health, then this is what you want to read. The China Study is a 2005 book based on the 20-year China Project, the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition (specifically the relationship between diet and chronic diseases) ever conducted. An updated and expanded edition was released in December 2016. Widely regarded as one of the most important books about diet and health, The China Study has prompted many people to rethink their dietary choices and go vegan.
The China Study provides irrefutable evidence of the health benefits of a plant-based diet by providing more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and diseases – clearly showing the damaging effects of a diet high in animal protein, contrasted with the undeniable health benefits of a vegan diet. There are over 800 references in this book, and most of them are primary sources of information, including hundreds of scientific publications from other researchers.
THE CHINA STUDY’S CONCLUSION: IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A HEALTHY, LONG LIFE, CHOOSE A VEGAN DIET!
The researchers looked at diets, lifestyles, disease characteristics, and mortality rates of 6,500 people in China, and concluded that people who eat primarily animal-based foods are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than people who eat vegan foods, and that people who eat vegan foods both minimize and actually REVERSE the development of chronic diseases.
The researchers emphasize a clear, significant correlation between the consumption of meat, milk, and eggs and many ailments: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, and more – concluding that diets high in animal protein are strongly linked to chronic disease.
The new edition includes updated information about the United States healthcare system, and examines the powerful animal agriculture industry and its propaganda, as well as its ties to government lobbyists and other influential entities, resulting in the concealment of the real science.
According to T. Colin Campbell, “The distinctions between government, industry, science, and medicine have become blurred. The distinctions between making a profit and promoting health have become blurred.... The result is massive amounts of misinformation, for which average American consumers pay twice. They provide the tax money to do the research, and then they provide the money for their health care to treat their largely preventable diseases.”
THE ETHICS OF DIET
Click on the image above to watch an excellent, non-graphic, two-minute video that succinctly sums up all of the reasons to be vegan.
“Is your diet ethical?
From the meat industry's rampant abuse of animals and environmental devastation, to the tremendous health benefits of a vegan diet, to helping end world hunger and deplorable working conditions in slaughterhouses, there are numerous reasons why more and more people are leaving meat off their plates for good and embracing a healthy and humane vegan diet.”
CARNISM & ITS CONSEQUENCES
“Mic the Vegan is a vegan science writer that covers a variety of topics from the health effects of a vegan diet and the environmental impact of eating animal products to the sociological phenomenon of casual animal exploitation. Based in the U.S., he regularly tackles debunking the myths that perpetuate harmful dietary and lifestyle behaviors - all with a drop of humor that only he thinks is funny.”
Nutrition Facts is a free, science-based public service website with evidence-based recommendations and peer-reviewed nutrition and health research covering a vegan diet. There are health and nutrition videos covering more than 2,000 alphabetized topics.
Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not to Die examines the 15 top causes of death in America, and explains how a vegan diet is superior and healthier than prescription pills and medical procedures. Dr. Greger, internationally-recognized lecturer, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, backs up his claims with peer-reviewed scientific evidence, showing that a vegan diet is what we need to live longer, healthier lives.
“A significant convergence of evidence suggests that plant-based diets can help prevent and even reverse some of the top killer diseases in the Western world and can be more effective than medication and surgery....”
Click HERE for more information on the RESOURCES page.
VEGAN DIETS ARE HEALTHY AND PREVENT DISEASES
The evidence that a vegan diet is beneficial and can prevent diseases is so overwhelming that the 2015 Scientific Report from the United States Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federally-appointed panel of nutritional experts, recommends a predominantly plant-based diet for health and environmental reasons.
The report notes that Americans pay more for healthcare than any other country, but more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and nearly one-third of children are overweight or obese.
This was the first time this committee recommended a diet higher in plant-based foods and low in animal-based foods not only because it’s healthier, but also because it’s better for the environment. This committee’s recommendations influence policies and standards regarding school lunches, food stamp programs, and other programs for children and pregnant women, to ensure Americans eat healthier.
People who eat a vegan diet have a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and many chronic diseases. Abundant peer-reviewed, evidence-based research and studies confirm that a vegan diet provides improved health outcomes and protective benefits from many diseases.
In fact, not only has a vegan diet been repeatedly proven to be optimal for human health, but many studies conclude that diseases can be prevented and even reversed with a vegan diet. For more information, including links to many scientific studies, go to the PLANT-BASED NUTRITION & HUMAN HEALTH section on the RESOURCES page.
VEGAN ATHLETES & BODYBUILDERS
The number of title-winning, record-holding vegan athletes and bodybuilders is increasing dramatically because they realize the performance benefits. They report that a vegan diet enhances their overall health, increases their rate of recovery during and after training sessions and workouts, decreases inflammation, and makes them more powerful than ever before. And most of them care about the animals, too.
Cam F. Awesome (heavyweight boxer, Olympian)
Patrik Baboumian (strongman competitor, bodybuilder)
Ed Baur (bodybuilder)
Brendan Brazier (triathlete, endurance runner)
David Carter (ex-NFL player, “The 300 Pound Vegan”)
Crissi Carvalho (fitness model)
Wilson Chandler (NBA player)
Robert Cheeke (bodybuilder)
Mac Danzig (MMA & UFC fighter)
Nimai Delgado (bodybuilder)
Nate Diaz (mixed martial arts)
Barny du Plessis (Mr. Universe 2014)
Meagan Duhamel (figure skater, Olympian)
Rip Esselstyn (triathlete)
Kendrick Farris (weightlifter, Olympian)
Matt Frazier (ultramarathoner)
David Haye (world champion heavyweight boxer)
Hench Herbivore (bodybuilder)
Mischa Janiec (bodybuilder)
Matthew Jones (powerlifter)
Scott Jurek (ultramarathon runner)
Carl Lewis (track & field athlete, Olympian)
John Lewis [Bad Ass Vegan] (bodybuilder)
Frank Medrano (calisthenics bodyweight expert)
Martina Navratilova (tennis champion)
Patrick Neshek (MLB pitcher)
Patrick Reiser (bodybuilder)
Rich Roll (ultramarathoner)
April Ross (volleyball player, Olympian)
Matt Ruscigno (ultramarathoner, iron-man triathlon competitor)
Abel Trujillo (UFC fighter)
Brian Turner (bodybuilder)
Jon Venus (bodybuilder)
Hulda B. Waage (weightlifting champion)
Torre Washington (bodybuilder)
Griff Whalen (NFL player)
ACCORDING TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR & VEGAN ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST
Here are the words of Alex Hershaft, Holocaust survivor and Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) founder:
“I spent my childhood years in the Warsaw Ghetto where almost my entire family was murdered along with about 350,000 other Polish Jews. People sometimes will ask me whether that experience had anything to do with my work for animals. It didn’t have a little to do with my work for animals, it had everything to do with my work for animals...
In 1975, after I immigrated to the United States, I happened to visit a slaughterhouse, where I saw terrified animals subjected to horrendous crowding conditions while awaiting their deaths. Just as my family members were in the notorious Treblinka death camp. I saw the same efficient and emotionless killing routine as in Treblinka, I saw the neat piles of hearts, hooves, and other body parts. So reminiscent of the piles of Jewish hair, glasses, and shoes in Treblinka...
And then, it finally dawned on me. ‘Never again’ is not about what others should NOT do to us. ‘Never again’ means that we must never again perpetrate mass atrocities against other living beings. That we must never again raise animals for food or for any other form of exploitation. And that’s when I became an activist for animal rights.”
To watch Alex Hershaft tell his story, from his terrible experience in the Warsaw Ghetto to becoming an outspoken animal rights activist, click on the image on the left below.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS SPEAK:
LESSONS FROM THE DEATH CAMPS
Emily Moran Barwick (Bite Size Vegan) covers this topic perfectly in her video featuring actual quotes from Holocaust survivors, comparing animal agriculture to the Holocaust. Click on the image on the right above to watch her video.
“This video conveys the words of Holocaust survivors and their family members. These are their words, their stories, their lessons.... Linking the human Holocaust to our treatment of animals has long sparked controversy, disgust and outrage. Opponents view the connection as belittling and disrespecting the experience of Holocaust victims and survivors. But what do we say when those making this connection are themselves survivors?”
~ Emily Moran Barwick (Bite Size Vegan)
“When I see cages crammed with chickens from battery farms thrown on trucks like bundles of trash, I see, with the eyes of my soul, the Umschlagplatz (where Jews were forced onto trains leaving for the death camps). When I go to a restaurant and see people devouring meat, I feel sick. I see a holocaust on their plates.”
~ Georges Metanomski, a Holocaust survivor who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
“For most of the society, life was lived as if none of this was happening. People had regular jobs, concentration camp workers went off to work in the morning and came home at night to loving families, a home-cooked meal, a warm bed. It was a job for them as it is for the animal experimenter, the trapper, game agent, or the factory farm worker.”
~ Anne Muller, who lost many of her family members in the Holocaust
“That’s the real lesson of the Holocaust, isn’t it? That people could do everything and anything to those that they deemed ‘sub-human.’ Which is, of course, what we do to animals.”
~ Barbara Stagno, northeast director of In Defense of Animals,
who lost her grandparents in the Holocaust
“It is wrong to harm others, and as a matter of consistency we don’t limit who the others are; if they can tell the difference between pain and pleasure, then they have a fundamental right not to be harmed.... Unless you believe in fascism, that might makes right – We do not have a right to harm others.”
~ Henry (Noah) Spira, animal activist and Holocaust survivor
WHAT IS VEGANISM?
“Veganism isn’t about being perfect. It isn’t about being superior. It’s about looking beyond ourselves, thinking about how our choices affect others, and choosing to live as compassionately as we can.”
YOU DON’T LIKE VEGANS?
That’s okay because this is about ANIMAL CRUELTY, not about vegans. You may not like vegans, but do you agree with the message that animal cruelty is wrong? Please don’t dismiss the message and ignore the SUFFERING ANIMALS just because you don’t like vegans. That’s called “shooting the messenger.”
If someone told you that cruelty to dogs is wrong, would you dismiss that message just because you didn’t like the person or the way the person was presenting the message? No, I suspect that you would still agree that cruelty to dogs is not ethical or compassionate.
Vegans are trying to get you to broaden your perspective to include chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals as part of your values that animal cruelty and slaughter is wrong. Vegans are simply telling you that there is a healthier, smarter, and more compassionate way to live.
It's about the animals, who are the suffering victims of unnecessary choices, not about vegans.