The need to transform how we eat
Ben Edwards

Vegetarian (or consciences carnivore?) here, with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from The MSU. I’ve been a vegetarian for about eight months. While I believe farmer’s have the animal’s best interest in mind (seriously, no one goes into farming thinking they’ll make it rich — they genuinely love animals), my qualm is what happens to the animals after they leave the farm. Temple Grandin has made huge strides to ensure animal suffering is at a minimum when animals reach the slaughterhouse, because scared and frightened animals produce adrenaline, which makes the meat tougher and less desirable to consumers. I have been unfortunate to work with animals in a ‘production setting’ at a job that I don’t wish to discuss. And from what I learned, when the employees are treated poorly or don’t feel valued, the compassion we have for the animals we work with begins to slip. Employees who feel valued and are paid well, will certainly go above and beyond to ensure the safety and welfare of animals is being met.

Which leads me to this- working at a slaughter house must suck. People who are in charge of the captive bolt guns must first learn how to use such gun (and may have a failed attempt or two before suceeding in rendering an animal unconscious), and they must perform the same task for hours until they are switched out with someone else. From there, they could go on to exsanguinating animals, de-gutting, de-boning, and finishing the carcasses which entails a lot of repetitive motions. Day in and day out can cause fatigue for the workers, mentally and physically. Therefore, my biggest concern is what happens when these people just don’t care about the job that they have? Do they become lazy, complacent, and allow mistakes to happen? A lot of farm workers also happen to be immigrants, or people who will perform the hard labor at minimal costs, because again, people don’t go into farming to get rich, quick.

This was just one perspective that I think about constantly and what has led me to go vegetarian. Otherwise, I have no problem getting to know local farmers and buying from them…. However, local is always so god damn expensive, that it’s just cheaper to be a vegetarian. But if someone (or myself) shoots a deer during hunting season, I’ll be the first one in line for fresh venison!

Sorry for the long rant, but this is a perspective that is rarely, if ever, talked about. I enjoy seeing well laid out points with backed research (disregarding the ASPCA links). I have a hard time talking with people whom I’ve graduated with about how brainwashed our undergrad curriculum really was.

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