Exploring veganism part two
Continued from the previous episode.
There are many reasons people want to follow the vegan diet. We mentioned this interesting survey in the previous episode that shows the various reasons people want to go vegan.
According to this survey, A massive 68.1% decided to go vegan for animal welfare, 17.4 per cent went vegan for health reasons and 9.7 chose the environment as their reason to go vegan.
Let’s talk about animal welfare first.
In the UK alone, every year, around 1,000,000,000 animals are bred and killed for food. This number excludes any sea animals (commonly known as seafood )like fish, prawns, lobsters etc.
Chicken and “commercial” hens:
Most of these animals are regularly fed growth hormones and stimulants to make them grow faster and bigger. For example, the lifespan of a factory-farmed chicken is around 42 days. So technically, they are still babies when we slaughter them because an average natural lifespan of a chicken is between three and seven years. The hormones in their feed force the chicken to grow at the rate of over 50g per day. Their legs cannot cope with this extreme weight gain and as a result, they struggle walking and to move around. They also suffer from a painful inflammation called footpad dermatitis. These poor creatures have no more than A4 size of paper worth of space for them to live. And after these 42 painful days, more than 18 million of them are killed for human consumption every day. In the US, poultry is exempt from the humane method of slaughter act. But again, there is no humane method to kill a living being.
Male chicks are separated as soon as they hatch and either tossed into trash bags to suffocate or are ground up alive and used as animal feed or fertilizer.
Some farmers or producers claim that their chickens and eggs are free-range. However, free-range chickens don’t mean that they roam freely at all times. It is a way to make consumers feel better and charge them more money for it because free-range eggs aren’t always better. Hens are forced to produce more eggs and as a result, 85 per cent of them get keel bone fractures. After spending the miserable life of around 18 months, hens are sent to a slaughterhouse. In the US, Hens raised for their eggs do not need to be stunned unconscious before their throats are cut. In the UK, carbon dioxide is commonly used to kill hens on a farm.
Milk is often considered humane and most of us are not aware of what happens in the background. First, dairy cows are bred specifically to produce large quantities of milk. Cows are milked around 10 months a year. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated and are fed unnatural, high protein diets, which can include other dead animals like chickens and pigs. Their offspring are usually taken away from them within 24 hours after they are born and are either killed immediately for veal or sent to veal pens (also known as veal crates*) where they spend 16-18 weeks in an area that is just enough for them to stand. This is to reduce their movement to produce tender, gourmet meat. (*veal crates are banned in the UK and the EU)
Cows are considered social animals and they form strong bonds with other cows, including their offspring. To reduce separation stress, calves are moved within 24 hours from their mothers.
Some farmers use illegal* chemicals like recombinant bovine hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production in cows. Some studies show adverse health issues in humans after consuming milk that contained rBGH. (*rBGH is banned in the EU, Australia, Canada and Japan).
Goat farming for milk isn’t different either. Goats are also known as patient and highly nurturing mothers and are often used to foster orphaned lambs. But dairy goats face the same fate as cows. Their kids are taken away from them within hours of giving birth.
Goats kept for milk are kept housed all year round. The male kids are often slaughtered for meat when they are around 2 months old. In Australia, it is not illegal to kick the newborn to death within 24 hours.
Goats also suffer mutilations like disbudding (a process of removal of the sensitive horn buds using a hot iron) and castration (removal of a male goat’s testicles). These processes are often performed without any pain relief.
Goats farmed for meat are often misbranded as ethical. This is because, a male goat is raised for meat, instead of killing it immediately. Some goats get slaughtered without stunning, such as halal.
Pigs raised for meat are forced to live in a crampy, filthy place for their entire life. Female pigs are repeatedly and artificially impregnated. Throughout the pregnancy and giving birth, mother pigs are kept in tiny gestation crates. A mother pig usually gives birth to around 12 piglets at a time. . Male pigs are castrated shortly after they are born. Some farmers chop the tails off their piglets to prevent them from biting them when stressed. Both procedures are usually performed without any anaesthetic.
These pigs are genetically manipulated to grow around 250 pounds within around six months. After this, they are taken to the slaughterhouse. Due to improper stunning methods, some pigs are still conscious when thery are dumped into the tanks of boiling water.
Let’s talk about the health part of going vegan in the next episode
This episode is a part of the Veganism series. You can find more episodes here.
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