Happy Earth Day and GO VEGAN!
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Hanna Peterson
April 2020

A perpetrator of unspeakable cruelty to animals, marginalized people, and the planet herself, animal agriculture is responsible for a majority of anthropogenic climate change.

Pig Beans
Hanna visiting with Beans who lives at Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Stanwood, WA 

Happy Earth Day and GO VEGAN! In the words of George Carlin, when it comes to climate change, “The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”

A perpetrator of unspeakable cruelty to animals, marginalized people, and the planet herself, animal agriculture is responsible for a majority of anthropogenic climate change. The beef industry is a leading cause of deforestation, including 70% of the Brazilian rainforest’s deforestation. Worldwide, over a TRILLION marine animals are killed for food every year: 60 billion of these are land animals and 90% of these are chickens. People, typically rural and low-income, who live close to these facilities endure the threat chicken waste imposes on their water supply, as well as the smells of the factory which cause respiratory issues. Nitrates from chicken litter and bedding leach out into the surrounding water sources, polluting the drinking water of local communities. When it comes to marine life, over a trillion animals are killed annually. Vegan issues are environmental justice issues.

Labor issues in the animal agriculture industry run rampant. Many people who work in these positions are formerly incarcerated, have low English-speaking proficiency, are undocumented, or are part of an otherwise marginalized group with little political power and who have very few other options for employment. This means that they are less likely to report exploitative wages, unsafe working conditions, file lawsuits, or organize unions. Slaughterhouse workers have one of the highest rates of serious injuries compared to any other occupation. The line speeds have nearly tripled in the last four decades, also tripling the opportunities for serious injury. Cuts from the sharp knives are most common, as are the musculoskeletal injuries from the repetitive motions that slash the throats of hundreds of chickens per minute. When these injuries occur, company doctors and nurses underreport their severity and pressure employees to return to work in as little as a few days. Meat packing companies do everything possible to avoid compensating workers for their injuries. Vegan issues are labor issues.

From an animal welfare perspective, chickens are genetically modified to grow to maximize meat yields: if human grew at the same rate as broiler chickens do, a 6.6lb newborn baby would weigh 660 pounds by the time they were two months old. This human intervention in the natural growth patterns of chickens often render them incapable of standing up due to the fragility of skeletons still built to carry a fraction of the weight. They are explicitly excluded from farmed animal “welfare” laws, such as the Humane Slaughter Act and Animal Welfare Act. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated so that her body produces milk meant for the baby who will form inside her for nine months. However, the calf won’t get any: she is traumatically dragged away less than 24 hours after birth so that she doesn’t drink the mothers milk that was made for her. Baby girls face the same fates as their mothers, impregnated so we can eat cheese. Baby boys are usually sent to the veal industry, confined to cages where they cannot play, grow, or build muscle. An egg-laying hen is kept in a battery cage that is so small, she can’t spread her wings. After several years spent laying eggs in cramped conditions, her egg production drops: her life and her body is no longer profitable, and she is killed for meat. No matter the species, this is inherent exploitation of the female reproductive system. Vegan issues are women’s issues.

The animals on our plates have the same intelligence as the animals we love and with whom we share our homes: their vibrant and unique personalities occupy a different bodily form, so we have different standards for how they are treated and how we view the consumption of their bodies.

All animals who die so that we can eat what we want struggle and fight and scream to their last breath, just as we would if we were in their places.

There were always animal products I thought I could never live without, but after over six years of veganism, I am still discovering new vegan products and finding new ways to embody the compassion that keeps me going every single day. Never hesitate to reach out to me, any time and any day, if you are looking for different substitutes for what you currently eat, or if you have any worries about what this lifestyle could look like for you. There has absolutely never been a better time: vegan food is becoming more affordable and more accessible, and it tastes absolutely amazing. The people you meet in this community are the strongest and most amazing people you will ever meet.

You don’t have to sacrifice what you love. You can still have burgers, sushi, pasta, pizza, thai food (anyone who knows me knows I actually could never live without pad thai… but guess what, it can be vegan!), BBQ, deviled eggs, mac and cheese, or literally anything else that is traditionally made with animal products. There is a vegan way to make it all. There has never been a better time to be vegan- my only regret is not doing it sooner. Join me!

[You can contact Hanna through her email and/or her Facebook page...]

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