Humane eating

September 14, 2007

Each year in the United States, nearly 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for food. Just like the dogs and cats we welcome into our homes, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cows have their own personalities, inquisitive natures, likes and dislikes, and—most importantly—the ability to feel pain, suffer from boredom and frustration, and experience joy. Yet these animals are routinely mistreated on industrialized factory farms. No federal law protects animals from cruelty on the farm, and most states exempt customary agricultural practices—no matter how abusive—from the scope of their animal cruelty statutes. Fortunately, each one of us can make a significant difference in the lives of these animals and help decrease their suffering. Every hour in the United States, one million animals are killed for human consumption. If each one of us cuts back on our animal consumption by only 10%, approximately one billion animals would be spared a lifetime of suffering each year. If you do continue to eat animal products, know that not all animal products are equal when it comes to animal welfare. Each industry has its own abusive practices, and some are much more cruel than others. For example, the chicken, egg, turkey, and pork industries tend to be far more abusive to animals than the beef industry. The good news is a growing number of producers are raising animals without intensive confinement. Refining your diet by choosing “cage-free” animal products, instead of the conventional factory farm products that fill most supermarket shelves, will help to diminish animal suffering. Each one of us can help prevent animals from suffering in factory farms simply by choosing vegetarian options. It’s never been easier to replace animal products with readily available vegetarian alternatives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients.” The American Dietetic Association goes even further to state that vegetarian diets “provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Need Help Getting Started? Visit for more information on how you can help farm animals when you eat, including delicious recipes, tips on incorporating more animal-free meals into your diet, shopping list suggestions, and much more. For more information on the lives of farm animals and other ways you can help them, visit And for an eye-opener on how your state ranks on factory farms, see the next post “Factory Farm Map.”


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