There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. One good reason is for personal benefit, to live a healthier lifestyle. Some of the top health benefits of a vegetarian diet can be seen in the embedded short video.
While there are many good reasons to be vegetarian, one of the most powerful has to be to protect the welfare of animals. There are more than two million land animals slaughtered every day in the UK to produce food for humans. Many of these animals are kept in inhumane conditions throughout their short lives. Chickens and cattle in particular are bred in their millions in cramped, unhygienic, and often downright cruel living conditions simply to satisfy human appetites.
Michael Kern has been a vegetarian for more than 45 years and is passionate about the humane treatment of animals everywhere.
Most of the approximately 10 million head of cattle living in the UK are bred solely for either their meat or their milk. Many of these cattle are kept in living conditions that do not give them the space, sunlight, or freedom they need, with a focus on generating more product rather than on animal welfare.
While some farms are better than others, many do not allow dairy cows any access to outdoor spaces. Dairy calves are taken from their mothers almost immediately after being born, which is traumatic for both mother and calf. Male calves are often slaughtered as they serve no milk production purpose for humans. Many dairy cows suffer from painful conditions such as mastitis caused by being forced to over-produce milk to meet human demand.
Some facts and figures for veganism can be seen in the infographic attachment to this post.
Laying hens are those bred specifically to provide eggs for human consumption. The UK is home to almost 35 million laying hens at any one time, feeding a society in which 31 million eggs are eaten per day. Increased awareness about battery chickens has led to some improvements in the laying hen industry in the UK.
Today, approximately 48% of all eggs produced come from hens in free-range systems. However, this still leaves 52% of 35 million living in poor conditions with their natural behaviours restricted. Broiler chickens reared solely for their meat and are usually slaughtered at just six weeks old.
The PDF attachment offers some top shopping tips for new vegans.