Chickens are individuals, each with their own likes and dislikes. Going vegan is about respecting chickens and other animals as the sentient beings that they are.
Going vegan is about respecting pigs and other nonhuman animals as the sentient beings that they are. We are different from animals in many ways, but those differences don’t justify harming them (especially when there is no need to do so). And we are similar to animals in that we value our lives.
Milk and “beef” (i.e. cow flesh) are products of animal exploitation, suffering, and killing.
Veganism is not a diet; it is an ethical position against animal use and a corresponding way of living.
“[T]he word ‘veganism’ denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.”
– The Vegan Society (1979 memorandum)
Is it wrong to hurt animals unnecessarily?
Here’s the problem: When we live nonvegan, we are hurting animals unnecessarily! Please let that sink in. When we live nonvegan, we are hurting animals unnecessarily. We are not living according to our own values nor are we respecting animals’ inherent right, as sentient beings, not to be used as resources.
After thousands of years of using animals in many ways (food, clothing, entertainment, etc.), we now know that we can live healthy and happy lives without using animals! That is wonderful because using animals always results in unnecessary suffering and killing.
We kill 1+ trillion* animals per year¹, mostly for food. That’s 1,000,000,000,000 animals per year. And, as you can imagine, the process of turning living, breathing, feeling animals into products is horrifically violent.
Is a vegetarian diet (with milk and other “dairy” products and eggs) the solution?
Oftentimes, people think the way to respect animals is to adopt a vegetarian diet (no flesh/”meat”), but they do not realize the violence inherent in animal use.
For example, “dairy” cows are forcibly bred at dairy farms where the male calves (around 50% of the calves who are born) are killed shortly after being born because they will not produce milk and are therefore considered “worthless” and “unprofitable” or raised to be killed for their flesh (i.e. “beef” or “veal”). Cows must have been pregnant to produce milk, just like humans, but if their remaining female calves drink their mothers’ milk, it can not be sold in the form of dairy products. The male calves are killed, and the female calves are separated from their mothers until they are old enough to be impregnated when the devastating cycle begins again. Dairy production requires the exploitation of the reproductive system and the breaking of the mother-baby bond…all for a product humans do not need to consume. This is part of the reason why “humane” dairy products are not the solution.
“Laying” hens are bred at hatcheries where the male chicks (around 50% of the chicks who hatch) are killed shortly after hatching because they will not lay eggs and are therefore considered “worthless” and “unprofitable.” This is part of the reason why “backyard” chickens are not the solution.
Both “dairy” cows and “laying” hens are killed when their production wanes, when they become less profitable.
A vegetarian diet means not consuming someone else’s flesh/”meat,” but flesh/”meat” is only one part of the problem. Contrary to popular belief, there is no moral difference consuming someone else’s flesh/”meat” and any other animal product or use–all animal use means hurting animals unnecessarily.
Are “humane” animal products the solution?
In addition to people mistakenly thinking the way to respect animals is to adopt a vegetarian diet, they think the way to respect animals is to buy animal products they believe are humane like free-range “meat,” cage-free eggs, “humane” certified animal products, or organic animal products. Those animal products are certainly marketed to seem more humane, but research reveals they still involve a tremendous amount of suffering and killing (including the killing of the male chicks and male calves as well as the killing of the remaining animals when they become less profitable). All animal products mean hurting animals unnecessarily so, in essence, seeking out “humane” animal products (which do not exist) is looking for the right way to do the wrong thing. Instead of looking for “humane” animal products, channel your care for animals into going vegan.
Do humans have to consume animal products for health reasons?
No. Not only are animal foods not necessary for optimal human health, many studies show animal products are detrimental to human health.
A vegan eating pattern is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts. It excludes meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs or products containing these foods and any other animal products.
A vegan eating pattern has many potential health benefits. They include lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Other benefits include lower blood cholesterol levels and a lower risk for gallstones and intestinal problems. This eating pattern can take some extra planning. Vegans must make sure that enough nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins D and B12 and omega-3 fats are included. A well planned vegan diet can meet all of these needs. It is safe and healthy for pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, teens and seniors. A variety of plant foods eaten during the day can provide enough protein to promote and maintain good health.
– Dietitians of Canada
With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.
– NHS (National Health Service UK)
What about using animals for clothing?
Using animals for clothing is violent and completely unnecessary. In addition to not eating animal products, vegans do not wear animal products. Vegans wear clothing made from a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials.
What about using animals for entertainment and all other purposes?
Using animals for entertainment and all other purposes is inherently violent and completely unnecessary. In addition to not eating or wearing animal products, vegans do not support using animals for entertainment (e.g. circuses, horse racing, marine parks, zoos, etc.). On the surface, using animals for entertainment may seem harmless, but it is not. Animals suffer tremendously from being used for entertainment. And even if they did not suffer tremendously, that would not make it harmless–being used for entertainment violates one’s inherent right not to be used as a resource.
Many people like to imagine idyllic scenarios where animals are used for food, clothing, entertainment, testing, or other purposes but not harmed, but they are not acknowledging the harm inherent in using sentient beings as resources in the first place. Using sentient beings is inherently harmful. Vegans care about animals and live accordingly.
While going vegan results in one not eating or wearing animal products, being vegan is not just about not eating this or wearing that or a list of Do’s and Don’ts. It is about doing right by animals with our actions. Go vegan. Request your FREE veganism starter kit today!