We take care of our dogs, cats, hamsters, and other household pets without a second thought, yet we easily consume cow, pig, fowl, and other animal products daily. Dealing with this cognitive dissonance begs the question: can you truly be an animal lover and a meat-eater? Is it hypocritical or more complex than that?
You can’t be an animal lover and a meat eater because it is hypocritical and shows disregard for the harsh realities of the meat production industry. While it is possible to find ethically sourced meat products, the vast majority of what is consumed in our daily lives is not.
To truly be aware of the effects of eating meat, we need to explore what occurs in the industry and the harm it causes animals as well as the global effects the meat industry has on climate change and our personal health. In doing so, we can make the conscious decision to play our part in protecting the animals with whom we share this planet.
Is Eating Meat Considered Animal Cruelty
Eating meat is considered animal cruelty and unethical.
When an animal is raised only to be slaughtered, it is no longer respected for itself but only to be exploited by and for humans. Animal lovers must understand the basic interests of animals, live in natural conditions, be free from unnatural fear and/or pain, to enjoy its ecosystem and community within it.
However, present-day agriculture violates these interests by focusing on providing for the trivial human interest of eating meat despite the many other options of sustenance.
Recent research has shown that neurological substrates in mammals (including farm animals) generate sentience that can experience affective states. This suggests that animals can feel levels of emotion including pleasure, depressions, fear, and pain.
Dairy and egg products also cause animal suffering and even premature death.
For example, to retain cows’ milk for human consumption, calves are taken away from their mother and unwanted male calves are sent for veal production or slaughtered.
Laying hens are housed in battery cages and even in free-range productions, unwanted male chicks are killed at birth.
The human desire for meat and dairy consumption is the largest contributor to animal suffering and cruelty.
Why Do People Love Animals but Still Eat Them
People love animals but still eat them for cultural reasons, the availability of meat versus vegetarian options, and because some humans desire it.
This article here will help to understand why some people believe they love animals but still are part of their suffering.
Meat and Cultural Traditions
Meat consumption around the world varies greatly.
Coastal regions tend to have nearly pescatarian diets, consuming large amounts of fish and other seafood.
Lamb is used in celebrating various religious traditions.
Indigenous peoples throughout history and in the present have relied on hunting as a way of life yet have traditions that involve using the entire animal to make food, clothing, and medicines.
However, unlike in the vast meat production industry around the world, meat holds cultural significance in traditions beyond just the meal. Traditions often allow for greater respect between humans and animals resulting in actions representative of balance between humans and animals.
Availability of Meat Versus Vegetables
Meat products are easily available in fast food from McDonald’s Quarter Pounders to Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwiches.
There aren’t many vegetarian options at fast-food restaurants beyond a side salad or fries.
Yet while a vegan diet can save money in the long run, many don’t have the time to make a vegan meal or look for one and tend to jump straight to the faster, cheaper, options.
Human Desire for Meat
Meat has been a part of the human diet for generations.
Even equipped with the knowledge of the realities of the meat industry at our fingertips thanks to the rise of media and technology, we continue to consume meat because we inherited a desire for meat from our society.
Meat-eating has become normalized and well, we eat meat not because we need it, but because we simply like it.
Should I go Vegan if I Love Animals
If you love animals, going vegan is a great way to help protect animals from the cruelty and suffering they face in the meat production industry.
By going vegan you are no longer supporting an industry that genetically modifies chickens and turkeys to yield bigger cuts of breast meat and takes away calves from their mothers resulting in tremendous pain.
On another hand, more wild animals’ habitats are being destroyed simply to develop more farming land. Therefore by making the conscious decision to go vegan, you are not only making the health, safety, and wellbeing of farm animals a priority but the protection of wild animals as well.
Taking steps to save animals provides a health benefit to you as well.
Plant-based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients and reduce the risk of heart disease. Taking a look at human physiology, we see that, based on our gut, plant-based diets have the greatest benefits including lowering cholesterol, improving digestion, and avoiding diseases.
The switch to a plant-based lifestyle does not have to be difficult either!
Ease yourself into a meatless routine beginning with meatless meals and transition into whole days and so on. Soon enough, you will find that you have greater monetary savings each week as vegan diets tend to cost less in the long run!
Do You Have to Love Animals to Be Vegan
Veganism has so many benefits beyond preventing the suffering of animals, so you don’t have to love animals to be vegan!
One of the biggest effects of veganism is reducing your carbon footprint.
Cows and sheep release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28-34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The release of methane along with emissions from meat production factories accounts for 15% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Meat and dairy products have carbon footprints 10-50 times those of plant-based foods.
Habitats and forests are also destroyed to make space for farms and meat production facilities, an action that is supported when you buy meat.
A switch to veganism, even if you don’t love animals, can protect human rights.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and presently, migrant workers faced extreme exploitation on factory farms and in the meat production industry.
Many were forced to work during the pandemic, putting their lives in danger, simply because people wanted to eat meat while at home. Slaughterhouses were also forced to remain open, placing their workers in a similar situation.