In my last blog entry „Why vegan? – Part 2: For the Environment” I explained the environmental damages caused by the dairy and meat production. Logically, these damages influence us humans directly. To accommodate meat and dairy production, forests are cleared, air and water becomes polluted and thus, the humans destroy their own living environment. Many people have to suffer due to not having enough drinking water, especially in developing countries.
Following on from the last blog entry: dairy/meat production is not an efficient way of producing food (36% of grain crop worldwide and 70% of soy harvest worldwide is fed to livestock). The animals are fattened with precious grain that humans could be eating themselves.
- Beans grown on an arbitrary field gives us 500 pounds of protein. If we feed these same beans to animals to fatten them for consumption we only get 50 pounds of protein.
- If Americans, as a highly consuming nation, reduced their overall meat consumption by 10%, the resources saved would be enough to feed 60 million people.*
Besides the fact that this behavior is wasteful in itself, the gravity of it becomes clear regarding world hunger. In giving up meat, we could feed ourselves and all of the worlds starving population! Of course meat production isn’t THE cause of world hunger, but it does contribute. There doesn’t only exist the ‘hypothetical case’ that we could feed the starving by giving them the food we give to livestock. Actually, farmers in countries, e.g. Ethiopia, are forced to sell their crops. Instead of feeding their starving village, their produce is used to fatten livestock in other countries.
Often we forget the people that have to work in slaughterhouses. There are reasons why working in a slaughterhouse is considered as “the most dangerous factory job in America” by the Human Rights Watch. Because of the swiftness of the meat-hook processing line, the workers are under high risk of being injured. They have to work under extremely unhygienic conditions. Since they are exposed to poisonous excrement gas on a daily basis, they can fall victim to severe diseases. These range from respiratory diseases to neural damage to coma induction. They are always in danger of cutting off a finger, breaking a bone or being burnt. Due to the strong exposure of violence and killing, many workers suffer from mental problems, traumas and alcoholism. They become emotionally numb and sometimes torture animals out of sheer pleasure. They are not able to feel compassion towards their victims, because if they did, they would go insane.
Residents that live close to factory farms suffer from poisonous emissions. The results can be increased risk of asthma, bronchitis, headaches and miscarriages.
Additionally, meat consumers eat a lot of harmful substances themselves that can cause cancer: antibiotics, pesticides and fungicides. Also, shit. Researches of the University of Minnesota took 1000 samples from various supermarkets. They found that in 69% of pork and beef, 92% of chicken, there was a feces contamination, potentially including the dangerous bacteria E.coli.** It is really no surprise anymore that there are so many meat scandals!
**Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M.