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Warning: This document contains images of animal cruelty that readers might find disturbing.

 

Animal Welfare

We humans insist on our human rights. Animals are living beings too, but most people would not consider animals as having rights.  Enough research has shown that animals have emotions of happiness, sadness, fear and anxiety, just as people do.  Therefore, animals need to be respected, protected, and be given rights as well.  (Read about sentient beings. 2)

A vegan diet is plant-based.  Therefore, it rejects meat from cattle, poultry, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.  Vegans also abstain from eating eggs, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and exploiting bees for their honey.

Around the world, many people are demanding an increasingly large amount of animal products, but they do not recognize how this high consumption is having disastrous effects on a monumental global scale, affecting all people and all animals.

The world population at present is 6.7 billion, and will increase to 9 billion by 2050.  If everyone maintains the amount of meat we now eat, we would need 3 planets the size of the Earth to sustain ourselves. 3

Water and land are needed to raise animals.  In order to satisfy people’s ever-growing appetite for meat and other animal products, more and more land needs to be cleared to feed livestock.  Deforestation4 leads to massive soil erosions, scarcity of water, and farmers are relying more heavily on the use of damaging pesticides5 on the crops. In the end, harmful chemically-based pesticides are consumed by both animals and humans.

A vegan diet, on the other hand, is entirely plant-based.  On average it only requires 1/3 of the water and 1/3 of the land for to sustain a plant-based life-style. 6 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, we kill 56 billion animals for food each year and this figure does not include fish.  The staggering number of animals that supply human needs can only come from industrial factory farming, where great numbers of animals are raised in an unnaturally short period of time before they are slaughtered for their meat.

Factory farming is horribly cruel.  Besides the frightful handling of animals, breeding them brings diseases, such as bird flue, swine flu, BSC7 and MRSA.8 Over half of the antibiotics we manufacture are in fact, given to farm animals and not to humans. 

Overcrowding in filthy sheds is a major cause of animal sicknesses. It is hard for people outside the slaughterhouses to imagine the merciless treatments inflicted upon animals.  These terrible practices are happening in modern times today, and not something that farmers did in the ancient past.

Animal farming goes against nature in all ways.  Baby piglets, chickens, calves and other young animals are deprived of their mother’s care and milk as soon as they are born.  Animals suffer great stress when they are not allowed to raise their young.  Their cages or pens are so confining they cannot root, nest, rest or socialize, all of which are inherent needs in the animals’ nature.

 

Hens

In many parts of the world, laying hens are crammed into tiny cages the size of a piece of office printing paper, and just high enough for a hen to stand up.  In such conditions, they cannot run, fly, or flap their wings, leading to extreme frustration, and physical problems such as bone weakness and osteoporosis.

In the US, 300 million hens are raised annually to lay eggs to satisfy human demands.  Hens spend their first two years living in utter misery.  Chicks are born in incubators and never see their mothers.  Male chicks are selected and thrown into trash bags to suffocate or they are ground up alive.  More than 100 million males chicks die this way every year in the US.  Female chicks have their beaks cut off with a hot blade9 without anaesthetics.

Hen cages are stacked on top of each other so that urine and faeces fall on the cages below. Some dead birds are simply left in their cages as carcasses and not removed.  If these hens survive for the first two years, they are hung upside down to be electrocuted, or thrown into scalding hot water, or have their throats slashed while they are still alive. 10

 

Cows

Factory farmed dairy cows spend their whole lives on hard concrete floors, when lactating cows need to lie down on soft ground to rest.  They can slip and fall if floors are wet with excrement causing painful injuries but they are still left to stand for a large part of their lives.

 

Severe confinement is when cows are tethered by a chain, stanchion metal bars11 or rope tied around the neck.  In these tie stalls cows are restricted in every aspect where they cannot turn even enough to scratch themselves. Dairy cows are injected regularly with growth hormones (rbST) to increase yields.  The milk we drink that is advertised, as being good for us is actually full of hormones and antibiotics.  Cows are impregnated over and over without rest until they are exhausted and then transported, often over long journeys, to be slaughtered.

 

Cow with diseased udders still being milked.

Mastitis is an excruciatingly painful bacterial infection of the udder, affecting almost one third of British dairy cows at any one time. There are over one million cases a year in the UK (Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2009). Routine use of antibiotics has consistently failed to control it.  Milk for human consumption from infected cows can quite legally contain up to 400 million pus cells per litre. Mastitis is the most common disease in dairy cows and a major reason why they are killed so young (GB Cattle Health & Welfare Group, 2012). Mastitis symptoms can be obvious, such as swollen, hard and painful udders and discoloured or clotted milk, which may be invisible to the eye. Bacteria that cause mastitis thrive in dirty, wet bedding and can be transmitted from cow to cow via milking machines. As cows have been bred to produce too much milk, this unnatural strain breaks down udder tissues, allowing bacteria to invade. Consistently unhealthy, her immune system is incapable of fighting disease as vigorously as it should.

The YouTube video entitled “Dairy is Scary” exposes the sad and wicked aspects of dairy farming and has made many young people shun milk. 12

 

Pigs

One billion animals in the world are pigs.  Over 500 million of them live in industrialized systems.  Overcrowding results in sham chewing13 and bar biting.  Such abnormal behaviour is the result of extreme tension, anxiety and depression.    The outcome of these conditions also reduces the pigs’ food intake, leading to hunger and more distress. 

Rampant animal suffering was documented in 58 slaughterhouse facilities visited in Mexico, the world’s leading producers of animal meat, and where the US is the main purchaser

Piglets are taken away at 3-4 weeks where normally they need 13-17 weeks of feeding from their mothers.  Babies have their teeth cut to prevent tit biting or tail docking.14  Males are castrated15 to prevent bore taint.16 All of these procedures are very painful and are done without anaesthesia. Infections soon set-in creating even more health problems. Excessively brutal treatment has been found in some UK farms and elsewhere in the world, where piglets are kicked, smashed against the wall to die in excruciating pain and with severe injuries.

Hogs are pigs made ready for slaughter.  It is not uncommon that electrical prods are used to make them get into crowded transportation or to stun them forcing them into scalding hot water before they are dead to soften their skin and remove their hair.  The frantic squealing and screaming from pigs about to be slaughtered sends clear signals about their treatment at the hands of humans who are both deadened and heartless about the monstrous acts of violence inflicted on animals.

 

Suckling pigs served at banquets and celebrations are ingrained in the culture who give no thought to the vicious lives endured by these animals.

 

CECES Advocates Veganism  

It is not right to cause such intense suffering to any species of animals.  We strive to live in a compassionate world that expresses benevolence towards humans and animals.  Through education, we must spread the notions that veganism entails serious ethical issues, especially in its global, intergenerational, and ecological aspects. 

Each generation lives with what the previous generations left behind. Our children will live with what this generation leaves behind. No longer can we adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards one of the biggest and most chilling consequences of unthinking human consumption of animals.

Animals produce an enormous amount of carbon emissions.17 These have long-term effects.  Central to our concerns must be for children in the coming generations.18  Youngsters must be taught and made aware of the urgency for education, so that they will take action for the sake of their own and their children’s survival.  Some scientists have already predicted our extinction in the next 100 years.19  The World Health Organization sums up the situation clearly. 20

CECES is committed to produce educational materials and information packs from the large body of research available, so more people will join us in the Vegan City campaign to bring about a meat-free community. 

 

Hidden and unnoticed

One tricky point is that many people adopting a vegan diet may not be aware that some of these listed items below are not actually vegan, and in some cases, not even vegetarian.

  • Beeswax and Honey.
  • Casein or Milk By-products.
  • Confectioner's Glaze on Candy.
  • Gelatin and Gelatin Products.
  • Isinglass in Beer and Wine.
  • Cysteine in Bread Products.
  • Whey in Bread and Sweets.

 Nonetheless, the vegan markets have substitute ingredients for all of these.

 

Changing One’s Diet

Different approaches suit different people who wish to become vegans.  Some are born as vegans, some convert to a plant-based diet quickly, while others do so step-by-step.  Whatever is the case, it is laudable that an increasing number of people are mindful of their eating habits, and understand the importance of diet in relation to health.   

 

Different ways for different folks

  • Semi-vegetarians are those people who still eat animal products, but more selectively. Many semi-vegetarians eat chicken and fish but not red meat. 
  • Flexitarians are people who are mostly vegan/vegetarian but who on occasion do eat meat. 
  • Pescatarians are those who avoid meat and poultry but still eat fish and seafood. 
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians are those who skip all meat, fish, and poultry but include dairy and eggs in their diet. 
  • Vegans are those who eat solely a plant-based diet, which is the strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegans do not eat any animal products at all—not even eggs or dairy products.27

 

In Conclusion

Change starts with the individual.   All advocates for a better world must concentrate on changing their own lifestyles.   The quickest, most effective way is to avoid over consumption in general, especially consumption of meat and diary products. 

The world’s resources are finite.  If we do not curtail our habits of over eating, drinking, shopping, and relentlessly chasing after goods and wealth that are out of line with an ecologically friendly philosophy, we will soon deplete our planet’s natural recourses and will be unable to compensate for our losses.

Efforts must be spent on our own education and awareness, while at the same time, building community support and calling for health and welfare enhancing government policies on environmental issues.   We urgently need to: 

  1. Open our minds to making changes in our lifestyles
  2. Reduce carbon emissions
  3. Invest in renewable energy
  4. Prevent deforestation
  5. Reduce shopping, especially for fashions and food
  6. Support developing nations
  7. Learn how to sustain the earth’s resources
  8. Surveil diseases
  9. Pay attention to our responsibilities towards future generations who will live with the legacy we leave behind

 

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Reference

2 Sentient beings

After 2,500 Studies, It's Time to Declare Animal Sentience Proven (Op-Ed) Scientists do have ample, detailed, empirical facts to declare that nonhuman animals are sentient beings, and with each study, there are fewer and fewer skeptics.

Sentient Being Definition: A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans. Related Terms: Animal. Generally, in law, animal is one with the faculty of sensation and the power to perceive, reason and think.

 3 Making Connections, British MP speaking

 4 Deforestation

This refers to the cutting, clearing, and removal of rainforest or related ecosystems into less bio-diverse ecosystems such as pasture, cropland, or plantations

 5 Pesticides

These are substances that aim to kill insects harmful to plants and animals, but not only are pesticides dangerous to the environment, but they are also hazardous to a person's health. Pesticides are stored in your colon, where they slowly but surely poison the body. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system.

 6 Making Connections

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYEOdpH1ulk&list=PL932A35B5E6B896A Making the Connection, British MP speaking

 7 BSC

These are animal and human diseases caused by bacteria, virus and fungi

 8 MRSA is a major issue in human health.  It is a bacterial strain through skin wounds

 9 Hot blades beak cutting

In the UK it is common practice to trim just the tip of the beak, whereas in Europe it is more commonplace to see severe beak trimming occurring, often leaving birds exposed to pain when feeding. Beak trimming is carried out ultimately to protect birds from hurting each other in what is an unnatural commercial environment.

10 Electrocuted

At the slaughterhouse, fully conscious birds are shackled upside down by their legs to a moving conveyor belt. The birds' heads are then dragged  through an electrified saltwater stun bath. Currents shoot through the birds'  skin, breasts, hearts, and leg muscles causing spasms and tremors.

11 Stanchion metal bar

A framework consisting of two or more vertical bars, used to secure cattle in a stall or at a feed trough.

12 Dairy is Scary

13 Sham chewing

Sow stalls increase abnormal behaviour such as sham chewing and bar-biting, indicating severe frustration and stress.   Sows in crates can exhibit behaviour likened to clinical depression.

14 Tail docking

Pigs in industrialized factory farms in the United States usually have their tails cut off, both males and females. Advocates argue that such practice without any pain relief is an abuse to pigs. The docking of pigtails is done because pigs have a natural tendency to chew pig’s tails.

15 Castrate 

Castration is the surgical removal of the two testicles, is a routine management practice for male pigs destined for slaughter. ... The time to castrate a pig is between 1 and 21 days of age. Young pigs are easier to hold or restrain.

16 Bore Taint

It is the offensive odor or taste that can be evident during the cooking or eating of pork or pork products derived from non-castrated male pigs once they reach puberty.

27 Different phases of veganism

 

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Acknowledgment for the photographs:

 

Germany’s Decision to Affirm Legality of Male Chick Shredding Shines Global Spotlight on Practice A Meat and Dairy Industries

 Animal Cruelty

Cows with Mastitis are in great pain causing them to stand unnaturally.

Caged pigs in China

Unimaginable misery in Mexican slaughter houses

Drought in New South Wales

Deforestation

Soil Erosion

California Experience Extreme Weather Events

Vegan Food Pyramid

Beyonce and Jay Z

Hong Kong body builders

Further Reading/Viewing

What the Health: Documentary on veganism, available on Netflix.

Conspiracy: Documentary on the cattle industry, available on Netflix.

21 Things the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Hog Hell:  How Pigs are Raised and Killed for Meat

Hong Kong farmers give antibiotics to healthy chickens ... and raise supervision concerns

Fork over Knives: Documentary on plant based diet

What you eat mattersH.O.P .E

Let us be Heroes

Podcast Dairy Scary by Tim Samuel