‘Do you miss meat?’ When I meet new people, I often get asked this question. Here is why I don’t miss meat, why I never will again and why you probably won’t either.
Don’t You Miss Meat?
I often get asked the question ‘do you miss meat?’. The initial answer is ‘yes, sometimes’ but the real answer is ‘no, not at all’. Let me explain.
We all grow up with meat being a staple in our diet. It’s ingrained in our everyday lives and our culture. So, it’s not odd that vegans sometimes miss the taste of the food they grew up with. Vegans choose not to eat meat for animal rights not because they dislike the taste.
Vegans mostly miss the texture. This is why you will see lots of vegan recipes trying to replicate meat dishes. Such as pulled pork using jackfruit, buffalo wings using cauliflower or calamari using mushrooms. Some people use this as a reason to devalue a vegans choice but you can’t blame people for craving something they ate all their lives.
Anyway, back to the point. Do I miss meat? No..I really don’t:
We grow up with an idea that the animals we eat live in big green fields and lead happy healthy lives. It’s simply not true anymore. Farms are far from happy and friendly places.
It’s likely that the meat you eat on a regular basis comes from a factory farm. There, animals are subjugated to extremely poor living conditions from the moment they are born.
Most animals in factory farms never get the chance to practice their natural behaviour. From the moment they are born, they are a ‘commodity’. Just look at the slaughter age of farm animals compared with their natural lifespan.
Male chicks are deemed useless to the egg industry so they are often thrown into a mechanical grinder after a few hours or days. Female chicks will go onto a life of misery. Living in dark, cramped spaces covered in their own faeces, laying eggs for the rest of their lives.
A male calve is dragged away from its Mother early on and either killed or sold to the meat industry after a week or so. Female calves are dragged away from their mother after a few days, locked away in a cage and fed ‘formula’. Then after a few years, the female will be forcibly impregnated in a continuous cycle for their entire lives. Their babies are taken away from them and forced to continue to give milk all their life until they are ‘culled’ at the age of 5–8 years old. All cows have the potential to live until they are 20 years old.
A female pig is also born into a continuous life of being impregnated and giving birth in a farrowing crate. A cage so small they can not walk, move or practice any of their natural behaviours. They will continue to be caged and give birth until they are ‘culled’ at the age of 3–5 years. If it’s a pig being raised for meat they have approximately 6 months to live. In that 6 months, they live in very poor conditions and will be constantly force-fed to fatten them up. At just a fraction of their 20-year lifespan, they will be slaughtered for their meat.
Then there are various painful mutilations took out with no anaesthetic, suffered by the animals during the farming process:
Chickens — beaks, claws, toes, combs all sliced off
Cows — horns cut off, castration, cut out tongues, cut off tails and nose ringing
Pigs — ears notched, teeth clipped and tails cut off
The recent documentary ‘Dominion’ aims to shed light on the true horror of animal agriculture.
The ingredients found in meat can be scary.
Penicillin, neomycin and “sulfa” and “cipro” drugs have all been found in beef in recent years. Cows are also routinely injected with synthetic hormones such as bovine growth hormones, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate. All of which have been linked to cancer.
Cows also tend to get sick due to their poor diet and overcrowded living space. The most frequent illness amongst cows is the bacterial infection of the udder. In fact, legally you can have up to 400 million somatic pus cells in each litre of milk sold.
As recent as this week, the BBC reported on findings from the Food Standards Agency. It showed that a fifth of all meat samples from the UK in 2017 tested for DNA from animals not listed on the labelling.
‘Out of 665 results from England, Wales and Northern Ireland collected by the Food Standards Agency, 145 were partly or wholly made up of unspecified meat.’
This is just the start when it comes to dodgy ingredients in meat. Also worth noting are the drugs, cleaning chemicals, antibiotics, heavy metals and toxins that are all regularly found in meat.
Processed meat such as dry cured meats, sausages, hot dogs and bacon are all in Group 1 of the IARC Carcinogenic Classification Groups. Group 1 is defined as ‘Causes Cancer’. This is the same classification as cigarettes. Red meat is classified 2A which means ‘probably causes cancer’.
Behind the walls of a slaughterhouse is not just animals suffering but people too. Workers that have to look at these animals in the eye and take their lives each day has an effect. Their work leads to all sort of negative behaviour.
Bullying and abuse of animals are common on farms. More and more footage is being released each week. This is not just specific to factory farms but organic, local, ‘friendly’ farms too.
PTSD is a common condition suffered by people who work in slaughterhouses. The PTSD journal stated:
‘These employees are hired to kill animals, such as pigs and cows that are largely gentle creatures. Carrying out this action requires workers to disconnect from what they are doing and from the creature standing before them. This emotional dissonance can lead to consequences such as domestic violence, social withdrawal, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and PTSD.’
A study from 2009 by criminologist Amy Fitzgerald found that ‘ slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offences in comparison with other industries’
Recent studies have shown avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on the earth. The meat on your plate is the result of a very environmentally unfriendly process. Take a look at the carbon footprints below. You will see that a plant-based diet is far less damaging to our world.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, deforestation and habitat destruction.
So, do I miss meat? No.