Transforming animals into food
Five to eight egg-laying hens are confined in tiny cages, each receiving less space than a standard sheet of paper. They are unable to dust bathe, exercise, or even spread their wings.
Most of us would like to think that the meat, milk, and eggs we buy come from animals that have lived happy, healthy lives. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Like cats and dogs, the animals we eat have complex emotions including the ability to suffer. Yet on modern farms, they are treated with such disregard that similar treatment to a cat or dog would be grounds for felony cruelty charges in Minnesota.
"Real-life 'Babes' see no sun in their limited lives, with no hay to lie on, no mud to roll in. The sows live in tiny cages, so narrow they can't even turn around" – Morley Safer, 60 Minutes 9/19/97
Pigs are clean, intelligent, social animals. Modern farming techniques, however, frustrate their natural desires to exercise, explore, play, root, stay clean, and socialize.
The competition to produce inexpensive meat, milk, and eggs has caused animals to be treated as nothing more than commodities. Animals are confined to the point that they can barely move; some can't even turn around. When they become sick or injured, they are denied individualized care. Due to selective breeding and growth-promoting drugs, they grow so quickly that their limbs cannot support their added weight. They are mutilated and castrated without anesthesia. In the end, animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs are crammed into trucks and transported to slaughterhouses, where they are killed for our consumption.
"The vast majority of meat, milk, and eggs in America comes from
factory farms, which hardly resembles bucolic family farms many
Americans envision their food comes from. Instead, they are part of
'agribusiness,' where animals are mass produced for the slaughter
house. And in the agribusiness, financial profitability takes priority
over treating animals humanely."
– U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (VA), 5/20/03
Making a difference
Every time we sit down to eat, we are faced with a powerful choice that carries important consequences. A tremendous amount of animal abuse results from our consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. Removing them from our diets can help spare countless animals from suffering. With all the great vegetarian options and resources available, reducing our consumption of animal products has never been easier and sends a strong message of compassion.
Tips for cutting animal products out of your diet
- Becoming vegetarian doesn't have to be an "all-or-nothing" endeavor. Every time you eat vegetarian, you are helping to reduce suffering.
- Love the taste of meat? Then try one of the many chicken-free patties or veggie burgers available at grocery stores. Most grocery stores have large health-food sections filled with delicious vegetarian products.
- Get some vegetarian products that are new to you and experiment! Try using them as substitutes in your favorite recipes. See some of our favorites on our recipe list.
- Most restaurants have vegetarian options, just ask your server which dishes can be made vegetarian. You can also find out which restaurants have a good selection, check out our online listing of vegetarian-friendly restaurants at VegGuide.org. The guide has hundreds of entries in Minnesota alone--and thousands world-wide!
- Want to learn more? Order our free Veg Starter Kit! The kit covers all the basics: nutritional information, recipes, and more.
In your free Veg Starter Kit, you'll find everything needed to adopt a healthy and humane diet. Packed full of powerful information, useful tips, and mouth-watering recipes, this kit will make the transition easy.