When people find out I am vegan, I am often met with the same kind of responses. Many people like to explain to me how they don’t eat a lot of meat, or they only eat fish, or only eat chicken. Also, just for the record people who claim to be “vegetarian” and say that they “only” eat chickens are NOT vegetarians; they ARE meat eaters.
I get a sense that often when meat eaters meet vegans they are reminded of the violence they are part of on a daily basis. The vegan acts like a mirror reflecting back to them that they eat the flesh of innocent and voiceless animals. When people tell me that they only eat chickens, do they really believe that is ok? Chicken is regarded as meat…it is the flesh of a once living and intelligent sentient being; meat is the flesh of that being, so of course it’s “meat”!
This is a form of blatant discrimination known as Speciesism – someone who believes some species have superiority over others and so therefore believe it’s acceptable to abuse, torture, mutilate and slaughter some species but not others – like dogs for example. In the UK if any of the cruel practices farm animals endure happened to dogs, there would be a massive public outcry. Trophy hunters who pose for pictures with their “dead animal trophy” regularly receive death threats – often from “meat eaters”. Look at the “horse meant scandal” too – so why then it is so commonly deemed acceptable when this happens to a select handful of species?
Chickens are arguably the most abused animals on the planet, so if people who claim they don’t eat a lot of animal flesh because of their “love of animals”, surely they should be looking at removing one of the most abused animals first, rather than continuing to be part of the barbaric violence? I truly believe that if people who ate chickens actually knew what they are put through during their much shortened lives, they would never eat their flesh again.
Clever Marketing Ploys – brainwashing
Free Range, organic and certification schemes such as “Red Tractor” and “RSPCA Assured” and the use of words like “farm fresh”, “happy”, “British farmed” are all clever marketing ploys from a massive industry to conveniently lead their consumers to believe that they are purchasing and eating the flesh of animals who were once happy, but they are only words remember, and they are all pointless and meaningless when it actually comes to the life of any animal. To a meat eater, this is a meal, a snack, an ingredient; to the animal it is LIFE itself!
Free Range though…
Sure “free range” chickens are not kept in cages, but they can still be crammed into windowless, dark, filthy sheds by the thousands (and I mean literally 30-40,000 chickens), each with only a space the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The truth is that the typical Sunday roast chicken will have more room in the oven when dead than he/she ever had in their short life on a farm. Access to the outside world may be severely limited or completely denied, and many of these beautiful intelligent, inquisitive birds may never see the light of day at all; they never feel sunlight on their body or breathe fresh air. Crowding is so intense that chickens cannot engage in the natural activities due to the sheer amount of birds in one place, competition for food and water is fierce, many chickens die due dehydration, starvation and due to the awful conditions, while others resort to cannibalism. They endure an existence like this, and then are packed into crates and sent off to slaughter at just around 41 days old. Every single day in the UK alone over 2.5 million chickens are cruelly slaughtered for meat – that’s 30 cruel needless deaths per second, and around 880 million a year!
Think about this for a minute; a dog has had a nice happy life, playing with friends, going nice walks and being well loved and cared for…and then once he/she reached a certain age, you shove him/her in a crate with lots of other dogs, by now the dog is terrified and anxious, he/she is shipped off to a slaughterhouse where he/she is treated with cruelty, has his/her throat slit, slaughtered, dropped into boiling water, mutilated and packaged, barcoded and sold for profit for human consumption…would this be ok? The dog prior to all of that had lived that happy life right? Not ok? So why then is it ok for this to happen to billions of other animals every year in the name of food? Please also remember, that no farm animal does live the life I described for that dog either!
We are said to be a nation of “animal lovers”, yet the biggest percentage of us are involved in the continual abuse, torture, mutilation and slaughter of billions of animals every year. If you pay for and consume meat, dairy & eggs, you are part of the violence because YOU, are creating the demand.
Please remember, there’s absolutely NO humane way to kill someone who does not want to die, but who very much wants to live!
So why would anyone who stops eating some animals, carry on eating chickens? Why do so many meat-eaters actually believe that vegetarians do eat chickens? And as for fish, well they come even further down the “pecking order” in terms of any regard to their lives, but that’s a separate story!
Chickens are intelligent
Chickens’ cognitive skills rival those of cats, dogs, and, in some cases, primates. They are adept communicators who develop complex social structures. Chickens show deep love for their family members and care for others in their group. A mother chicken starts teaching her chicks to “talk” before they have even hatched, clucking softly to them, and they cheep back to her and each other from inside their shells. Human babies cannot replicate their mothers’ sounds until they are several months old.
Chickens who are sent to slaughter for their flesh are young birds known as “broilers”. They are bred to reach ‘slaughter size’ in just 41 days. But we all know the size of a chicken for roasting are not small birds, they are not how we would expect a bird of only 41 days old to look. That’s because they are unnaturally “fattened up”; they become an obese adult chicken size but they are still in their young chicks body! When they are slaughtered they still cheep, their eyes are still blue and, most of them are crippled, because their young bones are unable to support their distorted body weight.
Sadly millions of these young birds die from heart and lung problems brought on by this unnatural and rapid growth process. Over 80% of birds on our UK supermarket shelves show evidence of “hock burns”; this is where their sensitive young skin has been scorched by the ammonia-rich faeces covering the shed floor they have lived their short lives.
Watch this video where Erin Janus explains how a chicken who was trying to cross the road caused a traffic jam because people wanted to make sure the chicken made it across safely. Yet like she says, many of them would have thought nothing about heading to a KFC and ordering chicken nuggets or some kind of chicken meal in the next moment.
Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially in relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change. This is what occurs when someone states to be against animal cruelty, but will dine on the flesh and secretions and wear the skin and/or fur of animals! You are either against animal cruelty, or you are not. If you are, you will be vegan, and if you’re not vegan you ARE partaking in animal cruelty of some nature.
Vegetarians eat eggs and consume dairy. As a lifelong vegetarian before going vegan, I truly believed I was doing the best I could for animals, and so then we can become quite complacent in that belief and stay stuck in the vegetarian lifestyle; but again, that’s another story!
Please remember free range means absolutely nothing to the life of the chicken; the only genuine cruelty free label we can put on any animals life is “vegan”.
Vegan or violence, there is NO third option!
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