I was reading a book that my friend lent me (Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer) and before I finished it, I knew there would have to be some action on my end. That’s the trouble with education, you see. After learning about important issues and the implications of your choices, it’s difficult to go back.
When it came to eating meat, I always knew something was up. You can’t coexist in a society with organisations like PETA, and not know something about meat production is shady. Like a lot of people, I just never engaged the subject, until I did. And now look at me: I can never eat at Wendy’s again (cry).
Since making my decision, I’ve had a lot of people ask why. There are, after all, a variety of reasons to make the choice (e.g. unethical treatment of animals, environmental impact, food shortages etc.). While many factors informed my decision, I was most affected by the business aspect.
I learned that over 99% of the meat we buy comes from factory farms. Like everything else we consume, meat is produced in the most efficient way possible. Efficiency is a great principle when it comes to building a car, but the efficient treatment of animals is not something that I can get behind, especially when it comes down to profits.
For profits, animals are kept in tiny cages, so that more of those tiny cages can fit into one space. Sick animals aren’t treated, because it’s cheaper to let them die. Pain killers aren’t granted, because they are too expensive. Proper food is too expensive, so animals are given smaller quantities of feed that is genetically altered to make them bigger). A dignified and near-painless slaughter is too time consuming, and so the process takes place on a conveyor belt while the animal is alive.
What I see in this industry is the systematic elimination of product quality, as well as respect for life. I see the same disregard in many other industries too, which is why I find myself opposing capitalism more and more. Yes, it’s efficient and there is opportunity for wealth (for a select minority), but the product and the people involved in making the product often suffer in the process.
We vote with our dollars, and that is why I am a vegeatarian. I want to vote against the way most meat is produced.