Animal abuse stems from eating meat: Non-vegetarians must understand what they are responsible for

All animal abuse stems from meat eating. Because if we can kill animals to eat, we can use them for experimentation, we can murder them for their skins and horns, we can overload and beat them, we can starve and ill-treat them.

Maneka Gandhi June 13, 2017 14:22:19 IST
Animal abuse stems from eating meat: Non-vegetarians must understand what they are responsible for

People in the animal movement who eat meat amaze me. Shall we be compassionate to dogs and cats and eat pigs and goats? Shall we condemn Korea for slicing little puppies to eat in their markets and then shall we do the same to little calves and lambs?

All cruelty is needless; all animal misuse starts with eating meat. For example, if you can eat an animal, then you can experiment on it and kill it for aphrodisiacs, living room wall collections and jewellery. All animal abuse stems from meat eating.

I operate not out of love but out of a sense of great anger and grief. Look into the eyes of a goat that waits its turn to be killed. Listen to the cries of the pig as it is skewered. Still yourself and you will hear the heartbeat of the deer as it is hunted, listen to the cries of the tribe when a poacher shoots down an elephant. It took 70 bullets to kill the elephant in the Andamans who was chased and shot only because he refused to pull logs and, as the forest department said, set a bad example to other elephants.

I turn this anger, this grief into work, into bringing change, into daring to say that animal welfare is the key to human welfare, that compassion is an economic and survival philosophy. I teach small lessons and big ones.

Far from being essential for survival, meat eating actually has a devastating effect on humans and on the earth. It is harmful for our health, environment and economy, not to mention the enormous cruelty it causes to millions of helpless creatures.

Meat eaters come up with several excuses to defend their continued murder of animals; not one is based on logic or any knowledge of nature's laws.

Animal abuse stems from eating meat Nonvegetarians must understand what they are responsible for

Representational image. Reuters

Let us examine the most common myths:

If we don't eat animals, they will multiply and take over the earth

The animals you eat do not come from the roads or forests. They are forcibly multiplied in factory farms for slaughter. Left alone, animal populations only grow to that size that can be supported by their natural environment. For instance in countries where the goat is not eaten you will not find large herds of them. Similarly, we do not kill cats to eat, yet they have not taken over the earth.

We need to eat meat because of food shortage

It is ironical that far from helping to alleviate the food shortage, meat eating is actually the cause of it. Much of the world's massive hunger problem could be solved by the reduction or elimination of meat. 38 percent of India's arable land is diverted for fodder for meat animals. If we did not grow these animals this land could be used for crop cultivation.

One acre of land can produce 12,000 kilogrammes of rice or just 120 kg of meat. It takes 10 kg of grain to produce 1 kilogramme of meat.

Don't plants have feelings too?

Of course, plants have feelings and that is even more reason to turn vegetarian because each animal raised for slaughter eats 10 times as many plants as any human. Meat eating is the single greatest cause of deforestation worldwide. Forests are increasingly being cleared for cropland to feed herds raised for slaughter. As the forest disappears so too does our wildlife, so meat eaters destroy both plant and animal life.

But meat is good for health

Exactly the opposite, in fact. Meat eating is the cause of all our modern diseases. The World Cancer Research Foundation has established that almost half the cases of cancer in the world are caused by eating meat. Meat also causes heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

Large amounts of antibiotics are fed to livestock to keep them alive in filthy conditions. The animals are diseased and more and more fatal infections such as Chicken Flu, Salmonella and the Mad Cow disease are being transmitted through meat. Meat also retains much higher levels of pesticide than either fruit, grain or vegetables.

As far as nutrients go, one bowl of spinach contains more protein than an entire kilo of meat. A balanced vegetarian diet is far healthier for humans.

Each meat eater is responsible for the suffering and death of 300 animals a year. These animals suffer forcible confinement, and all the trauma, fear and pain of a violent end. Chickens are kept stuffed in cages without food or water or even shade for days together. They are raised in cages in sheds and never even get to see the sun. Cattle have their limbs broken from being piled one on top of another in trucks being taken for slaughter and then have acid or cigarette stubs rubbed into their eyes to force them to move even on their broken legs so that they might be killed. Pigs have iron rods thrust into their anus and brought out through their mouths tearing all their insides.

Meat eaters must understand what they are responsible for.

Animal abuse and environmental degradation are not necessary evils. No evil is necessary. Evil is present only as long as we support it. The moment we make the connection between what we know and how to behave, evil collapses.

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