July 22, 2011
Standing Up for Animals, One Bite at a Time
By making better food choices, we all have the power to create a more humane society
Thank you for exploring HSI’s Guide to Meat-Free Meals. There are so many reasons why people choose vegetarian foods. Some do it for their personal health; others, for the health of the planet. Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer offered another compelling explanation: When asked if he was vegetarian for health reasons, Singer responded, “Yes, for the health of the chicken.”
Farm animals are individuals with personalities, needs, and preferences—and most importantly, the capacity to suffer. However, millions of egg-laying hens, pregnant sows, and other farm animals are raised in small cages or crates, or other crowded and barren environments, in industrialized animal production facilities (factory farms) around the world. These cages and crates severely impair the animals’ welfare, leaving them unable to move freely, engage in many important natural behaviors, and in many cases, to even fully extend their limbs. This inhumane trend toward the industrialization of animal agriculture treats animals like mere units on a production line, with little regard for their suffering. Recent undercover investigations have revealed appalling abuses of cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys; sadly, these cruelties are common in factory farms around the world.
Fortunately, each of us can make a difference for these animals—every time we sit down to eat. Through better food choices, we all have the power to create a more humane society. This guide is designed to help you make those better choices—choices that are abundant, enticing, and more than satisfying.
And remember: It need not be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Go at your own pace. A lifetime of ingrained eating habits can be difficult to break, so you should feel good about every step of progress you make.
No matter your reason for choosing vegetarian options, feel good about your decision and know that you’re making a positive difference in the world. Whether it’s for the health of the chicken, the health of the planet, or your own health (or all three), take pride in your commitment, and know that HSI stands behind you, ready to assist you on your path to humane eating.
- Chetana Mirle, director, HSI Farm Animals