Vegetarians and vegans believe that humans do not have the right to raise animals simply for the purpose of slaughtering and eating them.
Over two million land animals are killed for food every day in the UK, and many of these spend their short lives in industrial farms, which use intense farming methods to maximise output. These methods result in the animals spending the time they are alive suffering, often in both physical discomfort and mental distress.
As a committed vegetarian, Michael Kern – Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust co-founder – is passionate about animal rights. Some facts and figures about animal slaughter rates in the UK are outlined in the embedded infographic.
Around 70% of the farmed pig population in the UK is intensively farmed, living in conditions that do not allow them freedom of movement or the ability to express natural behaviours. Sows are mated at a young age, usually between six and eight months, often using artificial insemination.
When giving birth and weaning, they are transferred to small farrowing crates that do not permit nesting behaviour or movement, which causes them stress and results in abnormal behaviour. Piglets are weaned at around 21 days rather than the natural 12 to 14 weeks, and sows are often re-inseminated within a week of weaning.
More information about the industrial farming industry in the UK can be seen in the short video attachment.
Farmed sheep are not typically subject to intensive farming methods, but this does not mean they are treated with respect. This can be particularly true at the end of life, when many sheep are transported long distances in cramped conditions to reach slaughterhouses.
Many sheep in the UK have been selectively bred to ensure maximum output – some can now lamb twice a year and give birth to more than one lamb at a time. Sheep suffer from a range of diseases, with 60% of lamb deaths caused by infectious diseases.
Farmed deer in the UK are typically slaughtered once they reach the age of two. They are often artificially weaned early from their mothers and many of the males have their antlers removed.
The PDF attachment offers some advice on meat substitutes for vegetarians or those who want to reduce their meat intake.