This post is the last in the series for my reasons for promoting more plants instead of animals in our diet.
Although, I’ve called this series Why Whole Food, Plant-based, this particular topic fits better under the realm of veganism instead.
The concept behind following a whole food, plant-based diet stems from the idea of what you are eating in order to receive certain health benefits. A vegan diet (while it can be whole food, plant-based) is about animal welfare. Being vegan means that you don’t eat, wear, or use animal products in any way. This is done in the name of respecting animals and promoting nonviolence to other sentient beings, the earth, and oneself.
This makes this reason a little more personal as I see myself as a non-violent person. I understand that not everyone will align with this perspective.
The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson. He believed veganism to be a solution to the increasing greed and violence that affected and afflicted humankind.
The fact is that the majority of animals killed for food live a life filled with violence. They are abused and mistreated and unable to live their lives in a natural way. Instead, they are kept in cages or crowded areas, force-fed, and separated from their children among many other gross acts. Even those animals that are raised with love and treated properly (grass-fed cows) all end up having at least one terrible day on the day of their slaughter.
I believe animals have value and are not here exclusively as resources for humans. I don’t own any weapons and have never been into hunting or fishing. Because I know that I would never be able to kill another animal myself, it is not right for me to ask another to do it for me so I can consume meat.
This leads me to another thought. Eating animals isn’t only an act of violence toward the animal being slaughtered. Slaughterhouses pose risks for humans, too. Large slaughterhouses process around 300 head of cattle per hour. That’s a large number in a short amount of time. Line speeds have increased over the years and accidents have too. Injury rates are high in these places. Some slaughterhouses have been caught reporting fewer accidents, illness, and injuries than actually occur to keep their operations running. Killing animals for a living is a gruesome and demanding job on the body and the mind. Killing animals for a living is a gruesome and demanding job on the body and the mind. The pay is generally low and most places are nonunionized. I’ve read too many stories of these workers being mistreated by management which is terrible but not surprising since violence begets violence. I can’t ask someone else to do the dirty work for me.
While I could dive much deeper into the psychology of eating and killing animals, I want to keep this short.
I will end by saying that just as violence begets violence compassion begets compassion. I know that I have become a more loving person since I stopped eating animals. I’ve always been opposed to violence among humans. But now it’s so much easier for me to see the humanity in animals and respect them as sentient beings that lead full lives when given the chance.