Is being an animal lover and eating meat hypocritical? I constantly hear how eating meat is murder, that we should be vegetarians if we care about animals. I understand, but have you ever considered “Is this food flesh?” might be the wrong question, a better one could be “How many animals died to produce this food?” they seem similar but entirely different let me show you why.
Modern farming and vegetarianism
Modern farming techniques are poles apart from days-of-old, even organic farms have certain policies to aid productivity. Eggs which are often a staple in vegetarian diets don’t directly kill chickens, we all know this. However poultry are slaughtered when their egg production dwindles, this happens at 1 to 2 years old. Killed prematurely as they no longer lay well, without this culling, hens live on average 8 years. In addition, cockerels are useless to farmers so are slain right after they hatch i.e. 50% of babies are executed as soon as they are born.
Dairy cows produce many vegetarian products such as milk, butter, and cheese, their case is much the same as chickens. Heifers optimal milk yield is at 3 to 5 years, after which they are slaughtered, naturally they live 20 to 25 years. Let us not forget that milk is made to feed calves, they only produce it when they have had a baby, firstly is the sex with the bull consensual? The calves are taken from their mums within 3 days of birth, so the milk we are drinking is really from a grieving mother. Not to mention being woken up at 5 am each day, marched into a factory, having your udders strapped to a metal breast pumps and milked 2 to 3 times a day can’t be much fun.
Surprisingly eating eggs in the quantities that vegetarians do actually kills more animals than eating red meat. This is mainly due to the vast size difference between chickens and cows. One bull provides 450 pounds of beef 405,000 calories worth of meat, to match the calories in eggs you would need to kill around 20 chickens.
Vegetarianism and animal welfare
The cost of lives being a vegetarian is far greater than meat eaters, even if you don’t eat that many eggs. Let me give you an example, if an omnivore and a veggie go for lunch, the meat-eater orders a beef-burger and the veggie an egg sandwich. The meat patty is around 300 calories, the 2 eggs in the sarnie 150 calories. The eggs cost 9 times as more lives than the burger.
We also need to look at animal welfare, how much suffering does each animal undergo? Battery egg production is barbaric, the chickens are crammed into tiny cages, beaks cut off, ½ starved to induce moulting, lights kept on day and night to increase egg production, their lives are miserable. Of course free range and organic egg production is very different as the chickens have space to frolic in fields.
Lives-per-calorie however does not take into account environmental impact. Raising cattle produces significant levels of methane a greenhouse gas, basically as cows burp and fart a lot. It also produces antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a huge amount of farmland is needed to produce their feed. With that in mind eggs have lower overall environmental impact although there is the trade-off -killing more animals to hurt the environment less.
Vegetarian diet and better small intestine function
I thought it was important to share this info with you. It seems if we don’t want to hurt animals we need to go the whole hog and be a vegan rather than a vegetarian, however this does not necessarily suit everyone’s bodies and is certainly a lot harder to do. It means cooking from scratch most of the time, as there is a very limited range in most supermarkets and restaurants. Some vegetarians simply remove meat, it needs to be replaced with legumes or another source of protein to have a balanced diet and a strong body. There are other vitamins that also need to be consider for example iron, you need to understand food in fact the Indian diet is far better set up for vegetarianism than the western one. In addition your Small Intestine needs to be working well, as 90% of the absorption of vitamins and minerals happens in the SI, with a poorly functioning one no matter how healthy your diet you may still be mal-nourished -if you are worried about this my level 2 Divine Empowerment students can help.
I am not preaching to be an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, I just want to help educate. It is an act of love for fellow beings to be a vegetarian but with farming as it is it still kills, so please be aware of this. I guess the best way would be to raise ones own live stock, or indeed be a vegan if your body can support it and if animal welfare is a high priority. If you do feel bad for eating meat maybe you are not doing as much comparable harm as you thought?
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