Meaty Myths

The animals are given a good life.

To be blunt, this is blatantly untrue. In most chicken farms, for example, all male chickens except for a few which are born are either immediately suffocated or thrown in dumpsters. The female chickens are then put into tiny wire cages which are usually less than a foot in space. Sometimes the cages are bigger, and 6 or so hens are put inside. Because of the cramp, many chickens try to peck each other, because they do not have enough space to reach the ground. For this reason, many farmers cut off the beaks of chickens while the chickens are fully feeling. Likewise, pigs teeth are pulled out without anaesthetic, birds are strapped into a machine which slices off their beaks, and goats are illegally electrocuted by workers.

Free-range products are legitimately ethically sourced.

Free-range is a term with many meanings. Although there is an organization devoted to giving the right to use this stamp out, the requirements are very vague, have loopholes, and are usually exploited. Many companies will use different stamps that either have no meaning or are regulated by corrupt officials. By the USDA, free-range could mean 10,000 chickens in a small barn with a square foot of mud right outside the barn from which you can only see more dead chickens and sheds.

It’s part of the food chain; humans were made to eat animals/other animals eat each other; why can’t we?

Humans think we are above other animals, and that we have better living standards, and that we are beyond our caveman days. We pride ourselves at having evolved morally unlike other species. Dogs sniff each others’ butts. Should we? Wolves eat their children. Does that mean we should accept eating our children too? Humans were not inherently made to eat meat on a regular basis, and many studies have shown that one can be perfectly healthy without meat in their diet. And, for the record, evidence suggests that humans were actually originally herbivores, although I must credit meat with extensive brain development in evolution.

Meat tastes so good.

This is true, but so do many vegetarian dishes. You’d know if you’d tried.

I won’t get enough protein if I don’t eat meat.

There are more than enough vegan protein sources to be healthy, and as a plus, many of them contain less fat and cholesterol than meats, especially what with current-day factory farms feeding animals un-nutritious (non-nutritious?) mush instead of healthy food.

I won’t be healthy if I don’t eat meat.

The average vegan is more healthy and fit, as well as lives longer than the average non-vegetarian. That’s not to say that non-vegetarians can’t be healthy, or that vegetarians can’t be unhealthy: it all depends on the choices you make, but the fact remains that vegetarian foods tend to have less fat and cholesterol in them than meat.

Plants are alive too.

That’s true: they are alive. However, plants do not have nervous systems at all, nor any sort of structure made to facilitate any kind of sentience. “How do you know?” you ask as a last resort, waggling your eyebrows rather obnoxiously. SCIENCE!

If you got stuck on a remote island and had to eat meat to survive, would you?

I’ll get back to you next time I get stuck on a remote island.

Even if I stopped eating meat, it wouldn’t make a difference. Why bother?

I suppose you don’t vote, you don’t recycle, etc. If everyone said it wouldn’t make a difference, then nothing will happen, however cliche that may sound.

We’re more intelligent than animals.

That’s certainly true. The question you have to ask yourself is, “does intelligence matter?”. There could be a person who has a bunch of mental issues and has a lower intelligence than a pig. Would you feel justified killing them? If you had a classmate who was pretty dumb, would they deserve to die? Pigs are in fact more intelligent than your hamster who you lovingly feed every day and would never think of eating. In my opinion, intelligence is quite irrelevant to worth, and should not be applied in this situation.

I want to focus my efforts on people and not animals.

I care about both. In fact, by limiting your consumption of meat, you can help humans more. If animals were not farmed so much, we would not have to provide food for them, therefore giving more food for us to feed the poor. The millions of acres devoted to cows could in fact produce much more food than the cows could. Therefore, if meat were not farmed excessively, we would have loads more food.

To end off, I would like to share a nice quotation I found the other day:

“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
-Leonardo Da Vinci