By Marina Korovyanskaya ’15
Antibiotics, pesticides, steroids and hormones are just
a few of the many dangerous ingredients that are fed to animals
that are slaughtered for our meat consumption daily.
The U.S. Food and Drug administration also approves
over 1700 drugs for the use in animal feed. More than 300 of
them are animal weight gain drugs; drugs that you put into your
body through animal products. Weight gain and excess fat, according
to the American Heart Association, can lead to heart attacks
Red meat has long been associated with an increased
risk of heart disease and cancer. Based on data taken from Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number
one killer for people who choose to eat animal products. Furthermore,
a course of study done by the Harvard School of Public
Health on how red meat may shorten life shows that test subjects who
consumed one serving of red meat a day had a 13% increased risk
of dying. Subjects who consumed one serving of processed meat a day
had a 20% increased risk of dying. According to the American
Institute for Cancer Research, red meat consumption is also associated with the formation of carcinogens in foods such as fish and meat preserved with salting
or with added preservatives.
Another reality of consuming meat is the process of
slaughtering the animals. According to the Animals Deserve Absolute
Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) organization,
over 150 billion of animals get slaughtered every year for meat.
Earthlings, a documentary on slaughter houses in the United
States, demonstrates the cruelty animals undergo before they
get killed. Animals who are slaughtered for beef get branded on
the face. Dehorning without anesthetics usually follows causing
these animals to walk around in terror while blood drips down
their faces. Cows get a metal bolt shot into the skull in order to
make them unconscious; however, time is money and slaughter
houses operate quickly. Often the workers miss the cow’s skull,
failing to make the animal unconscious. Stunned or not, the animals
are then tied upside down from the ceiling by a chain attached
to their leg. Conscious cows and hogs hang from the ceiling,
struggling, screaming, and fearfully staring at the workers
as they get their throat sliced open. Before cows bleed to death,
they are sent to the “head skinner,” where the skin is sliced from
their heads while they are still conscious. Animals also get packet,
practically on top of each other, for transportation in trucks
where they easily catch diseases.
Milking cows are kept chained all day long, receiving
no exercise. They are also subjected to constant cycles of pregnancy
and have their calves taken away from them. All this so
that humans can drink milk. We are the only species on Earth
that drink milk from another species. We are also the only species
on the planet who drink milk as adults. Why? Because the
dairy industry has us convinced that we need calcium. Dairy does
not help with osteoporosis and that has been proven by Harvard,
Yale, Pennsylvania State University, and the National Institute of
In defense for eating animal products, people say that
even though we might have started out vegetarians, we evolved
to eat meat. It is human culture that evolved to eat meat but our
bodies have not.
According to Milton R. Mills, M.D., author of the article
The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, humans are herbivores.
Unlike carnivores who have a large mouth opening with great
sharp fangs, humans have a small mouth opening with rudimentary
and blunt canine teeth; teeth that are not sufficient for biting into
muscle flesh. Humans also don’t have the speed and strength to
catch and eat a live pray with their bare hands. A carnivore’s digestive
tract is about two times the body weight whereas the human
digestive tract is about eight times the body size. Carnivore’s short
digestive tract enables them to get rid of food quickly, before the
fat content is absorbed into the body.
Knowledge is power, and it is important for people to
constantly educate themselves about the foods they consume.
Keeping your mind alive and invigorated with new information
can help motivate people towards a healthier lifestyle.
Making sure that your house is filled with an abundance
of fruit, vegetables, and vegan food alternatives is a good
way to avoid consuming foods that may be ruining your health.
There are many tasty soy-based fake meat products that are great
for transitioning away from meat. Suzanne E. Weiss, co-author
of Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal, writes that soy has been
extoled for lowering cholesterol, protecting against cancer, reduce
the risk of heart attacks, and helping the body to better utilize
calcium. Dr. Douglas N. Graham, author of The 80/10/10
states that restricting yourself from eating foods high in fructose
and carbs – minerals essential for life that are also present in
fruit – leads to making unhealthy food choices. It is important to
become a conscious consumer.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “I choose not to make
a graveyard of my body for the rotting corpses of dead animals.”
So if we don’t have the need to breed, confine, torture, and kill
non-human animals, then why do we keep doing it?
By Marina Korovyanskaya ’15