Aren't animals meant to be eaten?

I have been asked this question, or a variation of this question, many times. But to me, it’s the wrong question. When it comes to survival, everything is meant to be eaten. All this question really tells us is that at some point in history, most things, including animals, were regularly consumed by man. A better question, in my opinion, is should we continue eating animals today?

For thousands of years eating animals provided something of value to human societies, namely, survival. But what value can it be said to provide today?

It’s a disaster for the animals. In Canada and the United States alone, close to 11 billion animals are raised and slaughtered annually for food; most of these in appalling conditions on factory farms. Animal agriculture is destroying the environment; it’s polluting the air and groundwater and is one of the leading causes of global deforestation. It’s also an extremely inefficient use of resources; it takes 20 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, 7 pounds of grain to produce a pound of pork, and 3 pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken.

Today, in the 21st century, apart from the pleasure we derive from eating animals, I can’t think of any other value generated from their continued consumption. It’s bad for the animals, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s a terrible waste of resources.

If you agree this is the case, I hope you’ll consider going vegan. It’s one of the most meaningful steps you can take in helping both animals and our planet.

Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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