Why vegetarian?

Essay by hoover88College, UndergraduateA, October 2007

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Meet Your MeatThe perfect picture of healthy meaty cows frolicking in a giant green pasture is unfortunately no reality. The Foster Farm California chickens are not exactly what most would consider "all natural". Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, has said, "…Our way of eating and producing meat is very violent." Factory farmed meat is harmful to those who eat it, those who farm it, the planet that it takes place on, and the animals themselves. Vegetarianism or choosing a vegan lifestyle is a healthy alternative that is also less likely to trigger gag reflexes.

The factory farming system of modern agriculture strives to maximize output while minimizing costs. In this system much is overlooked. The cruelty to factory farmed animals is apparent in multiple ways. Animals such as cows, calves, chickens, pigs, ducks, turkeys, and geese are kept in small cages with little space where there is not enough room to lie down or turn around.

The deprivation of exercise makes the harvest grow faster, but unfortunately most of that meat is fat. The giant corporations find that it saves money by cramming these animals into tiny spaces even though many of them die from the conditions. A lot of these animals are fed drugs or are genetically altered to fatten faster. Many become crippled under their own weight and die. Chickens that are bred and drugged grow so quickly that their hearts, lungs, and limbs often can't keep up. Cattle undergo immense suffering and "are subjected to abuses that would warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if they were cats and dogs." (Goveg) Male calves' testicles are ripped from their scrotums without pain relievers, and the horns of cows raised for beef are cut off or burned off. A one-month-old piglet also goes through castration, some of their teeth...