Over 10 billion land animals a year are killed for food, with uncountable billions more animals taken from the sea. 99% of all animal deaths are due to slaughter. Humans have created artificial boundaries between the animals they pet, who they see as a member of their family, and the animals they eat, who they see as commodities who are merely harvested. The demand for meat and dairy has created large industries that clear-cut land, pollute the surrounding environment with animal waste, and create over half of the total output of greenhouse gasses. Even farming dubbed “humane” conducts painful procedures that are considered normal agricultural practice (learn more about the humane myth).
In response to the desire to not support these practices, a person may choose to be vegetarian or vegan. A vegetarian is someone who chooses not to include the flesh of animals in his or her diet. This definition of animals include both fish and chicken, and this choice is most often made in response to the desire for a healthier lifestyle. A vegan (VEE-gun) abstains not only from the consumption of animals themselves, but also products derived from animals – which include eggs, honey and dairy products.
Although the consumption of meat and dairy products is far and away the leading cause of animal deaths in terms of sheer number, the use of animals in experiments may well be considered just as morally repugnant. Though we deliberately expose animals to the dangers and maladies that affect humans in a misguided attempt to ensure healthier lives for ourselves, at some point we need question the relevance studies which addict rats to cocaine. Animals experiments are misleading and prove more costly than modern methodologies such as in-vitro (test tube) experiments and computer modeling. More information can be found on animal research here.
The practice of wearing the skins of animals for fashion is rooted in the historical use of dead animals for warmth and protection against the climate. In modern times, however, technology has led to the development of synthetics that are less expensive and provide better protection from the elements. Today the practice of wearing the skins and coats of other animals continues because it is deemed fashionable, when in fact the torment these animals must endure makes the choice nothing less than criminal.
From circuses to rodeos to dog and horse racing, the human species has found many ways to entertain itself thru the exploitation of non-human animals species (not to mention the depths to which we’ve stooped in exploiting our own species). Seen as little more than property and tools by which “owners” can reap profits, the lives of these animals are long and tortuous as they endure the “training” techniques employed to bend their wills.
Our section on Frequently Asked Questions about Veganism and Animal Rights seeks to address many of the concerns, questions, and misconceptions about how one can live a life without the use of animals for food, fashion, research, or entertainment.