Whether we intend it or not, if we are not vegan, we are supporting cruelty.
Animals suffer every step of the way in animal agriculture. From being confined in cramped quarters, to having their bodies mutilated in various painful ways as part of industry standard practices, to being sexually violated, forcibly impregnated and then having babies stolen from them, to ultimately brutal death, their lives are only about exploitation and heartless commodification.
Some people think that leaving meat out of their diet but still consuming dairy and eggs is a good solution. The rationale is that animals who produce eggs and dairy don't seem to be outright killed, as they obviously are for meat. These people mistakenly believe that they are somehow leaving cruelty out of their diet with this compromise.
Sadly, it may be even worse, as far as cruelty is considered, to eat dairy and eggs. For these products, the animals do die. But their death comes only after a longer enslaved lifetime of being caged, mutilated, and forced to produce bodily secretions which are stolen. Then when these used-up animals can no longer physically create the desired "products" they are killed, in the same cruel way as any other animal killed for meat.
Dairy cows are pushed by farmers to the limits of their reproductive and milk-making limits. Cows are often so "elderly" - frail, worn out and used up, by the time they are killed, they cannot walk any more. However, this "elderly" condition is forced upon them by enormously overtaxing them, and cows end up being slaughtered when they are mere adolescents, about the equivalent of a young human woman in her twenties.
Chickens live similarly overtaxed, sped-up lives. They are genetically modified to get as plump, as fast, as possible. Most are killed within less than 60 days of hatching. Their natural lifespan can be around 5 to 10 years otherwise. They are mere children when they are killed.
Are we really so arrogantly selfish and addicted to meat that we can actually turn a blind eye and continue justify killing and eating CHILDREN? So many healthy, enjoyable, safe plant food options exist. There is no reason for us to stay stuck in these outdated barbarian ways.
Ethically it is cruel to kill anyone who does not want to die. No animal, whether exploited for his or her flesh, bodily secretions like dairy or eggs, skin, fur or for any other purpose, wants to be used for any of it.
The terrible irony is that we not only inflict inestimable cruelty on animals we raise for food and other uses, but we also make ourselves unhealthy by eating animals and their secretions. We are built to eat plants, not animals.
Slaughterhouse workers are some of the most abused workers of all. We are destroying our planet by insisting to continue to eat animals. Everyone, human and animal alike, suffers when we exploit animals. Earth herself suffers.
Animals also suffer in testing labs that are theoretically using animal experiments to ensure the safety of products like drugs, chemical products and cosmetics. Buying products that have been tested on animals subjects those animals to horrific lives of being cut, poisoned, shocked and neglected. Test animals are subjected to some of the most hideously painful and depraved experiments imaginable, all of which are unnecessary. But non-animal methods exist which are actually not only cruelty-free, they are also more accurate and reliable.
Industries like those which exploit animals for their fur, feathers, wool, hair or skin are obviously another source of unnecessary cruelty. All these issues, in diet, medicine and lifestyle choices can be resolved by mindful awareness, education and compassionate choices.
The only way to intentionally stop supporting cruelty is to be vegan. Learn how here.
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