The meat industry works so hard and spends so much money, to the tune of around $550 million a year, to make a dead carcass wrapped in plastic seem appealing and nutritious to their customers. Americans are buying into this falsehood more than any other country in the world, with each meat eating American consuming around 200 lbs of flesh a year, which also equals around 7,000 animals in their lifetime! Coincidentally, compared to the rest of the world, the United States has more than twice the diabetes rate, twice the obesity rate and three times the cancer rate. I am not sure as to whether or not people are not able to put two and two together, are so brainwashed by advertisements, or they simply do not care about the animals, the planet or their own health.
For some reason, the least of peoples worries seems to be the environment, the planet that they live on and the only one we have. Two acres of rainforest are destroyed every minute to raise cows for consumption, or to grow their food to feed them, currently that’s about 30% of planet earth. While it takes only 300 gallons of water to produce a days worth of food for a vegan, it takes a whopping 4,000 gallons of water in order to provide a meat eater with one days worth of food. An eye opening statistic is that 36% of the calories in crops are being consumed by cattle, but when those cows are turned into a steak, humans are only getting 12% of the calories. Scientists concluded that if all of the crops that were fed to farmed animals, were instead fed to humans, it would be enough to feed 4 billion more people. Considering that there are 925 million starving humans on this planet, it seems like a pretty obvious solution, especially since 2.5 million children under the age of 5 years old die from starvation every year. It is shocking to me that people are not choosing to end world hunger, literally overnight.
Not only is meat consumption clearly destroying the environment, but the process in which animals are slaughtered is scarring. Each breed of animal that is sent to slaughter goes through a similar trauma and slaughtering process. Right now, I will focus on the process for pigs and their transport to slaughter, it is just as terrible as the slaughter itself. At only 6 months old (while they have a natural lifespan of up to 10 years), the pigs are given no food, water or protection from the elements as they are transported for hundreds of miles from the farm to the slaughterhouse. About 1 million pigs per year die in transport alone, some die of heat exhaustion, others fall and are suffocated by other pigs, some die of heart attacks and others were just not healthy enough to make the journey. One factory farm worker admits that often pigs are frozen to the sides of the trucks and they scrape them off with a knife, taking off huge chunks of their flesh, and this is done with the pig is alive. A transport driver mentioned that it is common for the pigs to be so tightly crammed in the trucks, that some of their intestines have been known to pop out of their rectum. A Smithfield Foods spokesperson responded, “I hate to admit it, but it happens all the time”, when addressed about their transport truck full of 180 pigs that crashed. Many pigs were killed, while others were left injured and slowly dying. Animal rescue teams quickly arrived and attempted to humanely euthanize the suffering sows, but were told not to, as the slaughterhouse wouldn’t be able to sell their flesh if they euthanized. So those animals were left to suffer a long time, as their half dead bodies were transported again and they were finally killed, packaged up and sold to be eaten by Americans. The ones that make it to the slaughterhouse alive are in for a terrible ending, workers kill 1,100 pigs every single hour, making it extremely challenging to kill each one quickly and humanely. One slaughterhouse worker admits that many of the animals are still alive as they reach the scalding tanks, intended to remove the hair so it doesn’t get into the meat and to soften their skin to make butchering easier. The process that pigs go through, from the moment they are born, until their final death is absolutely horrifying. There’s no other way to explain it. Not to mention, I didn’t even go over the way they are treated and the cages they are kept in while living at the factory farm, that is a whole other atrocity.
Back in 2002, South Korea had a large outbreak of Foot In Mouth disease, which they found to stem from the pigs in factory farms. Of course, it was at no fault of the animals, as they were forced to live in such filthy and congested quarters. Devastatingly, massive holes were dug and 1.4 million pigs and piglets were dumped in alive and buried. Yes, you read that right, 1.4 million animals were buried alive, instead of humanely euthanized, in order to save the government time and money. If that doesn’t tell you how completely heartless the meat industry is, then I don’t know what does.
To make things more interesting, let’s think about what impact consuming animal flesh has on your flesh. Meat is extremely high in saturated fat, which is a main cause of heart disease, strokes, obesity and diabetes. The World Health Organization has labeled processed meat as a carcinogen; something that definitely causes cancer, it has also labeled red meats as a possible carcinogen; something that probably causes cancer. About 70% of antibiotics created are made for meat, so while you are consuming meat, you are constantly consuming low doses of antibiotics. This is one of the reasons that people are on so many different medications today, they were unknowingly giving themselves antibiotic resistance. Therefore, when someone actually requires antibiotics, they may not see the benefits from it and often they just experience the ill side effects. Studies show that vegan men live on average 9 years longer than meat eating men, and vegan women live around 6 years longer than meat eaten women. Not only that, vegans tend to be about 30 lbs leaner and 5 units lighter (in terms of BMI), than that of their meat eating counterparts.
There is a ridiculously long list of effects that eating meat has on the environment, the animals and people, I could go on and on! I highly suggest doing more research and watching Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives and What The Health for even more information and facts. So next time you go to the grocery store and pick up that package of meat, think about those pigs being scraped off the sides of the trucks, think about the children starving to death, consider the way in which it is killing the planet and consider your own health. I am thinking that when your time comes to leave this world, you may be wishing you had an extra 5-10 years.