In the Grimm's fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the way we know the witch in the story is evil is because of her practice of jailing innocent victims and by her diet choices. The witch's cannibalistic habits are particularly egregious because not only does she eat people, she prefers to eat children. The idea of eating anyone is repulsive enough on its own, but depriving children of a long life seems particularly awful. The innocence of youngsters makes the idea of eating them even more unsavory.
While the fairy tale is fiction, there is a reality that exists which is every bit as atrocious, but it is socially and culturally accepted because the majority of people do it. This is the reality of eating animals.
Many people believe humans must eat animals to obtain proper nutrition, but millions of long-term vegans living healthy lives prove this is untrue. Many people believe animals who are raised for food live decent lives and are killed as older individuals near the end of their lives. This is also untrue.
Creatures in animal agriculture are young, very young, when slaughtered. Some are as young as one day old - newborns. Most are between the infant/toddler and adolescent range. None of them ever get to live long into adulthood and certainly not to the point of being elderly, not by a long shot. Farmed animals do not have "good, long lives" as marketing would lead us to believe.
A chicken living in the wild could live to be around eight years old. Farmed hens who lay eggs are killed when they are about two years old, when their egg production slows down. If we consider that a human could live to be around 80 years old on average, killing a chicken at age two is like murdering a human who is just twenty years old, barely older than a teenager.
Laying hens and chickens bred for meat are different species, so people typically do not eat egg-laying hens after they are killed. Usually the spent, dead, adolescent laying hens are thrown away as garbage.
Chickens raised for meat are slaughtered when they are around six weeks old. This is the equivalent of murdering human children who are barely over one year old - toddlers.
The worst wanton destruction of chicken lives is foisted upon brand new male chicks who are hatched in industrial hatcheries that produce laying hens. These baby boys are doomed because of their sex. Males cannot lay eggs; therefore, male chicks are useless to the industry. They are routinely ground up alive in huge macerators, often on the very same day they are hatched. Or they are crammed, alive and aware, into garbage bags, heaped on top of one another, and left to suffocate from lack of oxygen or from the weight of countless other hapless little infant boys by the thousands stacked up on each other in the bags. These cute, inquisitive, fluffy, innocent little boys are newborn infants when they are destroyed as waste products, the equivalent of a human baby who is just ten days old being thrown into the trash.
Dairy cows are considered "spent" after around four or five years, when their bodies can no longer produce milk at an effective rate. These little girls are sexually violated year after year, and their babies are stolen from them, resulting in a life of emotional misery and deprivation. The perversely high rate of milk these girls are genetically altered to produce is so high, it leaves the cows as worn out as elderly women in a fraction of their normal lifespans. Cows can live to be 20, even 25 years old. Dairy cows reach a physical condition of being wasted and decrepit long before their natural lifespan when they are slaughtered, the equivalent of young teenaged or 20-year-old human women.
Cattle who are farmed to become beef could also live to be 20 or 25 years old. But they are slaughtered when they are just 18 months old. This is like killing a six-year-old human child.
Turkeys have a natural lifespan of about 15 years. They are slaughtered as meat when they are around five months old, which is on par with killing two-year-old human toddlers.
Adorable little lambs could grow into sheep whose lifespan is about 12 years. But lambs are slaughtered when they are only six weeks old, the equivalent of killing an innocent ten-month-old human infant, a baby not even a year old.
Pigs are highly sensitive, intelligent, social animals who can live to be 12 years old on average. Yet they are slaughtered as delicate children, when they are six months old. This is like killing a human child who is only three years old.
There are many other animals who are similarly abused in the animal agriculture system. They all have lives that are dramatically cut short compared to the natural lifespans they would enjoy if left to grow up in peace. But it is not cost-effective to keep animals around for any longer than absolutely necessary. And since animals are regarded as nothing more than commodities, farmers do not care about the injustice and depravity of killing children. It is just business as usual for them, worshipping the almighty bottom line first and foremost.
Eating animals is something we need to re-examine. The fact that we are actually eating infants, toddlers, babies, and teenagers is abhorrent. And it is so unnecessary. Millions of humans have successfully lived long, healthy lives eating nutritious plant-based diets. There is no need for us to eat animals at all. We can be vegan.
We can stop these abominable crimes against animals by no longer eating them, no longer buying them, no longer breeding them, no longer murdering innocents.
Learn to go vegan here.
To read stories of people who have successfully gone vegan, and why they did, please visit Vegancouragement.