Jesus taught us to extend love and compassion to those who are weak, vulnerable, and different from us, but in the U.S., we kill 27 billion animals each year, just to satisfy our craving for flesh. Adopting a vegan diet is an easy way to honor Jesus’ sacrifice, contribute to a healthier planet, and help stop the horrific cruelty of the meat, dairy, and egg industries.
The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and forced to live in wire cages, gestation crates, barren dirt lots, and other cruel confinement systems. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything else that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.
The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs—always at the expense of animals. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money by cramming animals into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals get sick and even die. The industry journal National Hog Farmer explains, “Crowding pigs pays,” and egg-industry expert Bernard Rollins writes that “chickens are cheap; cages are expensive.”
Cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other animals live in extremely stressful conditions:
- They are kept in small cages, jam-packed into sheds, or crammed onto filthy feedlots, often with so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably.
- They are deprived of exercise so that all their bodies’ energy goes toward producing flesh, eggs, or milk for human consumption.
- Drugs are fed to them to fatten them faster and keep them alive in conditions that could otherwise kill them.
- Genetically altered to grow faster or to produce much more milk or eggs than they naturally would, many animals become crippled under their own weight and die just inches away from water and food that they can’t quite reach.
When they have finally grown large enough, animals raised for food are crowded onto trucks and transported many miles through all weather extremes, typically without food or water, to slaughterhouses. Those who survive this nightmarish journey will have their throats slit, often while they are still conscious. Many remain conscious when they are plunged into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering or hair-removal tanks or while their bodies are being skinned or hacked apart.
Christians should be leading the charge against this abuse and living the promises of the Kingdom by making the transition to an animal-free diet. PETA’s free vegan starter kit is a great free resource to help you take the first step.