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THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR FOOD

Would you be able to handle the truth?

photo courtesy of: mikehipp @filickr.com

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It’s 2016, a year in which many things have changed, compared to the era of the baby boomers. A year where things like gay marriage rules the land here in the US, and women can now vote and work, and do anything they wish too, which is the right way of life! However, there is still one topic that is very touchy, even by today’s more “liberal” standards. What is that topic? It’s meat. Yes, meat. More specifically, the consumption of meat, and the reasons people usually shun those who choose to greatly reduce their intake of meat, and or cut it out entirely.

Although both sides make good points on why to eat the way one another eats, the actions practiced by most meat suppliers, who speak a whole lot louder than any dietary benefits, which could very easily be exchanged with other ways, in most forms of nourishment for the body.

Here will be outlined the biggest atrocities produced by large meat industries.

The first, and most controversial issue is the treatment of animals. Big meat industries take animals, like pigs, chickens, and cattle, keep them in dark, cramped, and dirty spaces for the majority of their short lives. Mother pigs, known as Sows, for example, spend most of their lives in gestation crates, which are very small, not giving them enough room to move around. When they give birth, they are moved to farrowing crates where they are able to nurse their piglets, but only have enough room to lie on their sides to nurse their piglets, but have zero room to get up or even turn around. This process repeats itself several times until they are considered “ready” for slaughter. Piglets can be separated from their moms as young as 10 days old. Male piglets are often castrated without anesthesia, due to the fact that the taste won’t be as good if the males have testosterone in their systems. When slaughtered, the most pigs get “stunned” with a gun, which is designed to keep them unconscious. However, with the thousands to millions of pigs that must be killed a day to meet demands, they aren’t fully stunned, and can almost always be conscious by the time they get their throats slit, and/or, are drowned in a scalding tank filled with boiling water. Not to mention, before slaughter, they will sometimes be unnecessarily abused and pushed around.

Chickens, most commonly known as broiler chickens, are chickens that are specifically for egg production. They are kept in battery cages most of their lives. They battery cages can almost barely hold one, but workers force a number of 3-4 chickens into one cage, giving them no room to move around, or even relax their wings, and makes them have so sit in each others feces. They are made to produce a very large amount of eggs in a small time span, severely weakening them. Eggs that get to hatch, have their fate chosen for them since before they see the world. Female chicks are moved to other parts of the factory to lay eggs, awaiting a fate like their mothers. Male chicks get grinded up into products like dog food, or are simply shredded or suffocated and thrown away, because their meat isn’t desired.

Poultry, chickens for meat, are kept in dark, humid pens, and aren’t given any natural light. They often get stepped on and thrown around, and stabbed with homemade shanks that pierces them to pick them up easily off the ground and then thrown into a bucket for collecting.

Beef cattle and dairy cows have it worse of all. Beef cattles are castrated in order to eliminate hormones in the meat, which is done without painkillers. Dairy cows are artificially inseminated one calf after the other throughout their lives in order to keep their bodies lactating. Dairy cows make milk for the same reasons humans do: their calf. However, these calves don’t get any of the milk that is produced specifically for them. They are ripped apart from their mothers less than 24 hours after they are born. Some are killed right after this. However, these are the lucky ones. When they aren’t killed, baby calves are sent to veal farms where they will spend months in very small cramped spaces where they will be tied up and not given space to move, so that they do not develop muscle, making the meat tender, which is what is desired by consumers. Staff may also beat them to aide in the tenderizing of the flesh. Back on a dairy farm, when a cow stops her milk cycle due to weakness or age, they are sent to slaughter for beef.

Many people may argue that this is only a small percentage of factories and farms, and that most farms will not treat the animals in such a way. However, if that’s the case, why do we have these “Ag-Gag” Laws in place? In case you don’t know what these laws are, they are laws that prohibit journalists of any kind to come onto a factory or farm ground and document what goes on in any way, be with permission, or without. A journalist can face about a year in Jail, and a fine double the amount of “economic loss” the farm or plant may suffer from the backlash of any content released by the journalist who documented them, when violating this law.  This, obviously, could be classified as a violation of the first amendment.

However, the question is, if there isn’t a “crime” being committed against these animals in these slaughterhouses, and there isn’t anything to worry about, why are these plants trying so hard to occult this from us? If there isn’t anything malicious going on, what’s wrong with allowing a journalist that is respectfully asking permission to cover a plant, do their work? What is there to hide? People have the right to see what they eat, where it comes from, and even what is added to it. Right?

As if this all wasn’t enough, the environmental impact of Animal Agriculture is ultimately much worse in terms of an aftermath. Meat processing plants produce enormous amounts of pollution that are affecting our earth. Especially in climate change. Dairy processing plants produce so much cow waste, that the waste has been known to contaminate water supplies such as rivers and lakes, and man made bodies like canals, which kills plant agriculture and the earth.

Also, meat can cause many health related issues. The amount of saturated fat that we consume when eating meat clogs our arteries, making that cheeseburger you eat a heart attack waiting to happen. It also hardens your blood vessels. It also sky rockets the risk of type 2 diabetes by a 19 and 51% increase. Also, when eaten in large quantities a day, it can elevate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to the overdose of iron your brain is receiving.

All of these things make us think to ourselves – Do I really need to eat meat?

Doctors have done research on patients who eat a variety of diets, and have seen that those who abide by a vegetarian or vegan diet, live a healthier life. Studies show that these types of diets can help you live longer. This is due to the fact that they have a significantly lower chance of contracting Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They also have a better mood. This is because meat has a high amount of Arachidonic acid, which has a link to mood disturbances. So, the fact that Vegetarians and Vegans eat no meat, they get the benefit of not having their mood disturbed.

    Faith Pearce, who has been a vegan for over year says that she has had significant changes in her health, says the following : “I’ve lost a lot of weight being vegan. Also, I use to have very high cholesterol and blood problems, as well as other things wrong with my health, and then I became vegan and started eating properly, and now my cholesterol is low and my blood work is perfect, and I don’t have any more issues with my health.”

A vegetarian or vegan would on average save 100 animals a year. Of course, this doesn’t mean that these animals lived because a vegetarian chose not to eat them, but because by reducing the demand for meat, they are and causing fewer animals to be born into a harsh life owned by the meat industry.

Of course, you may think to yourself – “How can I give up meat or dairy?”

   

Stopping your consumption of these items will certainly do the most help. However, even just reducing your intake of these products can make a huge difference because you are reducing your carbon footprint. In this case, you may want to go for something like ‘Meatless Monday’, for example, or substitute butter with a dairy free butter alternative.

However, if you want to go the full route and become a vegan or vegetarian, you certainly can. It is, however, important to know that it’s ok to make mistakes. Don’t give up on a large amount of progress because you mistakenly ate something with meat in it and didn’t know. Slip ups happen.  Just make sure to educate yourself, and even see a nutritionist if possible. As long as you eat vegan or vegetarian the right way, you will live a very healthy life.

Again, senior Faith Pearce, shared the different things she eats to tackle down on rumors that vegans “only eat grass”

I like a lot of foods! I get pizza from Me N Ed’s when I get the chance. Simply get a veggie valley without cheese and ask for red sauce instead of white sauce and it’s a really good vegan pizza! Also, for example, tonight for dinner I’m making zucchini fritters, which is fried zucchini, and I’m also making veggie burgers! Which when you take your time and make them properly are amazing, contrary to people’s beliefs. If you don’t wanna make one at home, you can go to restaurants like Red Robin, where they have garden burgers (vegan burgers) that are really good. There also restaurants that are entirely vegan, like this restaurant here in Fresno called The Loving hut, where there are so many different options. So, trust me, I’m not just eating “grass”, I’m eating a lot of food and it’s really good.”

It’s important to remember that change starts with you. If you don’t want to give up meat or dairy, just limiting the amount of meat and dairy you buy and consume, will make a huge difference, and if you choose to go Veg, you can do it! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Your body, your planet, and animals everywhere will thank you for your change.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR FOOD