The case for vegetarianism

Ban animal slaughter to benefit people, the environment, and animals


Juxtaposition of vegetables versus meat (Kendra Niderost/Special to The Seraphim)

Kendra Niderost, Special to The Seraphim

When it comes to eating habits, many people say that meat is a necessity for the human body, but is it really worth the pain and suffering that goes on behind slaughterhouse walls?

Slaughtering animals and eating their flesh should be illegal in the United States, for the good of the people, the environment and the animals.

Meat has been consumed by humans ever since they were Australopithecus, first walking the Earth. Humans are evolving slowly but constantly, which means a human’s diet is evolving as well. Many studies are focused on meat and how the human body craves it. Although that is the way Homo Sapiens lived in the past, nowadays humans need to focus on survival. People across the U.S. argue that they are omnivores and need a well- balanced diet, full of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. Although this statement is true, there is a better way to get protein in a human body, and significant scientific evidence stomps on the belief that meat is healthy for humans.

Scientist have studied the anatomy of humans and have come to the conclusion that human teeth, the digestive system, and jaws, are not meant for consuming meat. Humans have evolved eating meat, but the human body is evolving to consume a vegetarian diet. A lion has 20 canine teeth, whereas a human has two canine teeth, not meant for ripping apart flesh, unlike an actual carnivore. Not only does evolution play a role in this argument, people who consume meat are more susceptible to disease. The consumption of processed meats are the cause for over 30% of the cases of cancer in America alone, according to a World Health Organization analysis.

Fear of a lack of protein in vegetarian diets outweighs fear of cancer for some people. Michelle McMacken, a board-certified internal medicine physician and an assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, informs people that giving up meat and switching to a vegetarian diet will reduce the amount of inflammation in the human body, reduce the chance of getting Type 2 Diabetes by 38 percent, plummet blood cholesterol levels, help a human body receive the correct amount of daily protein, and drastically impact the environment and health of people across the nation in a positive way.

It takes 1,799 gallons of water to produce one ounce of meat. Want to end world hunger? It will require everyone living in America to give up the addiction of meat, to save themselves and to save the world. Over 2.3 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water. The water that should be going to deprived humans is instead going to livestock, which are later slaughtered for their flesh. One hamburger can feed one person, but it requires 660 gallons of water. The same amount of water can produce five pounds of wheat, which would feed a family.

As David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reported, “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”

A steak contains excellent sources of protein, iron, and vitamin B-12. Although these items are a key factor to human growth, people are blindfolded when it comes to what meat really is: a slab of animal flesh, bone, tissues and cells. For those who are worried about the loss of jobs in the U.S. if vegetarianism gains ground and slaughterhouses are put out of business, consider that there are over six million job openings every year.

Some people fear that a transformation from omnivorous diets to vegetarian diets will harmfully affect the health of many Americans. A weaning process is required to start a new diet, but baby steps to improved health are still impactful in a positive way.

Many people make the claim that animals are treated with kindness in the slaughterhouse and that they want to give up their lives for humans. Yet there is no such thing as “humane slaughter.” Any living sentient being that feels pain wants to eat, sleep, drink, reproduce, and live. No animal is being served its favorite meal, getting constant affection, or living anything close to a good life while they are on their way to the blade. Humans like to claim they are predators and hunters, but in reality, they hand over big money to large companies who hire people who do not value animal life. These people  kill animals for “food” because others humans do not want to do it themselves.

I have been a vegetarian for two years. I adopted the diet at age 13 when I was surfing the web and saw behind-the-scenes videos of a slaughterhouse. For months, I tried to convince my parents to allow me to adopt a vegetarian diet, due to my love for animals.  Never have I regretted this decision in my life, in fact, I wish I began being a vegetarian earlier in my life. My diet has never harmfully impacted my lifestyle. Instead, I feel much happier knowing that I live a life with un-bloodied hands.

Kicking, screaming, crying in pain, that is what animals endure day-by-day, just so one selfish human can get one meal out of their flesh. There is a reason slaughterhouses have metal walls; they are designed to blind people from the torture and pain that goes on inside. Humans are the only species capable of freedom, and the only species with rights. Animals are exploited every day for they bodies, and in one way it is similar to a prostitution. Although the prostitute gets paid, their job is illegal. Animals get tortured and shoved into a killing machine full of knives slicing their throats, while more knives rip into their skin attempting to cut off their hooves, while even more knives dissect their bodies to fulfill the human addiction for flesh.

Imagine living in a cage in the dark, unable to move, day after day.

The suffering of today’s American farm animals is almost beyond belief.

As actor Casey Affleck said, “they don’t have a choice, but you do, and their lives depend on it.”

Take one moment to think about a sacred animal who does not want to die. Think about what it feels like to be in a cage, tasered, kicked, and beaten until death. Think of the suffering. One life destroyed for a hamburger? It’s not worth it; every being has the right to life.