Hamburger-less Happiness This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 8, 2010
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While growing up in the U.S., eating hot dogs, hamburgers, pepperoni pizza, bacon ‘n’ eggs, BLT’s, etc. is considered “American.” Eating meat has become such a natural and accepted practice that, by not eating it, vegetarians are susceptible to much scrutiny. However, behind a national love of animal products is a very dark industry. The conditions in which animals suffer in factory farms are incomprehensible, nauseating, and merciless--that is, if you have a heart. Animal product-free diets startle people; they seem impossible, stressful, and inconsequential. However, a meat-free life is a meaningful life, and all it requires is some effort and awareness.

For every hen in egg production factories, a male chick was ground alive by machinery because it couldn’t lay eggs. Male cows are separated from their mothers upon birth and sent to live in tiny wooden crates. Here they are fed a milk substitute that makes them anemic, resulting in tender, light flesh, perfect for veal. The French delicacy, foie gras, is created when baby ducks are force fed huge amounts of corn with metal pipes. This process expands their livers to optimum size. The Federal Humane Slaughter Act states that all animals must be stunned to unconsciousness before they are slaughtered; animals are stunned in water buckets rampant with electric current. However, much of the time, this torturous process is unsuccessful and conscious animals are slaughtered.
The known atrocities of factory farms are abundant, and one can only imagine what happens behind closed doors. Although most meat-eaters chew unaware of such conditions, by not educating themselves, they are continually supporting an industry of cruelty.
Those are the obvious reasons why people convert to a meat-free diet, but what many don’t consider are the immense health benefits of this conversion. Since no animal fat is being consumed, cholesterol is lowered and the risk of heart disease drops. Energy, regularity, and purity of the human body are all increased. For instance, Okinawa, Japan, has the longest life-expectancy rate in the world; interestingly enough, they follow a solely soy, vegetable, and fruit diet. Plus, there is no shortage of options for the herbivores. The food industry offers a plethora of ways to compensate for the protein and iron a non-meat eater could lose. Legumes, nuts, and supplements are just some of the possible substitutes.
Not surprisingly, many individuals find some foods just too good to be completely cut out. For this reason, vegetarians come in a variety of shades. Pesca-vegetarians eat fish, lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, pollo-vegetarians eat poultry, while vegans eat no animal products whatsoever. The key is cutting back little by little, until one day; meat is no longer a staple in a person’s diet. The process is a struggle that tests one’s psychological strength, but, it’s either saving innocent, voiceless animals or contributing to their cruel demise o. And for those who don’t think one person can make a difference, a single vegetarian saves around 100 lives per year. How many lives have you taken this year?





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