Animals Being Slaughtered for Meat

Many people feel that animal slaughter is immoral. They are outraged that anyone eats meat. They feel that raising animals for human consumption is animal cruelty.

While passionate people may have strong feelings, communicating their outrage does not tend to move numbers. You do occasionally hear stories of people who converted to vegetarians the minute they saw a slaughterhouse. But in most cases, people who like to eat meat turn a deaf ear to the ranting and raving of those who feel so outraged.

A Logical, Pragmatic Argument

With more than 7 billion people inhabiting planet Earth, it is increasingly important to embrace a sustainable diet. When animals are slaughtered for meat, it places a huge burden on the planet.

Even if you do not feel that an animal slaughter is the same thing as animal cruelty, there are many pragmatic reasons to eat less meat or stop eating meat altogether. Here are some of the costs to the world when animals are slaughtered for meat.

Wasted Resources

It is possible for humans to get adequate protein and nutrition from a combination of plants. This concept was well documented in the book Diet for a Small Planet, which showed that protein complementarity is an effective means to get enough protein from plants alone.

In fact, traditional vegetarian diets typically combine plant proteins in the right combination and ratio to provide a “complete protein”—in other words, to provide the right mix of amino acids for optimal human use.

Calories on the planet originate as solar energy, which is processed by plants and turned into chemical energy. Then animals eat the plants. Then other animals eat the animals.

The higher up the food chain you go, the more resources it takes to make one pound of protein. A protein made from plants represents much less captured solar energy than protein made by animals.

Toxicity

This same principle of concentration of resources applies to toxins as well. The higher up the food chain you go, the more likely you are to find unacceptably high levels of pesticides, poisonous metals, and other harmful chemicals concentrated in your food.

This is true in part because these damaging substances tend to concentrate in fatty tissues and remain in the system long after the food has been consumed. Many harmful chemicals are not easily processed out of the body. They accumulate, gradually poisoning you.

In the last 100 years or so, humans have invented many new chemicals. Harmful chemicals such as DDT can be found on every continent across the globe, even in Antarctica. There is no escaping them.

Thus, to protect ourselves, it makes sense to eat lower on the food chain. It makes sense to eat less meat or to stop eating meat altogether.

Risk of War

The cause of most wars is the lack of enough resources to go around. As we waste and use up global resources in the pursuit of the almighty steak, we increase the risk of war. There is simply not enough planet to go around to allow every man, woman, and child to live like middle-class Americans. It would take multiple Piles of earth to provide the resources for such largesse.

Thus, eating meat is a means to foster future wars. If you value peace, safety, and security, you should eat less meat. It is one of the best forms of insurance for protecting our future from becoming a dystopian nightmare.

Reduced Ecological Diversity

The meat industry produces very large amounts of a relatively small number of animal species. This means we have millions of cows, pigs, and sheep on farms and ranches in the U.S. alone.

Meanwhile, federal departments such as Wildlife Services and the Bureau of Land Management kill foxes, bears, coyotes, and many other animals that farmers and ranchers deem to be a threat to their livestock. This further reduces the diversity of species.

Lack of appropriate habitat is one of the underlying causes of the threat of extinction—in some cases, it is the primary cause. Farms and ranches that produce livestock for human consumption typically also homogenize the physical environment, further threatening ecological diversity.

To be healthy, a biome must have ecological diversity. A biome lacking diversity is very vulnerable to die-off events. When you reduce the number of species in the system, you increase the likelihood that a single infectious organism or another natural disaster could cause widespread catastrophe.

Diversity is necessary for a robust and resilient biome. Reducing the populations of most wild species while artificially increasing the populations of a few domesticated species is tantamount to courting ecological disaster.

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Farm-raised animals are increasingly treated with antibiotics on a routine basis. This helps keep them healthy, helps them put on weight, and helps the grower make a profit.

It also contributes to the rise of deadly antibiotic-resistant infections. This means that some infections that once were controllable with the miracles of modern medicine cannot be stopped.

This is not theoretical; this connection is very well established. Some countries have instituted strong protections to attempt to curb the problem. However, the best answer would be to simply cut way back on the number of animals raised to be slaughtered for human consumption in the first place.

Increased Poverty and Starvation

There is a strong correlation between moving to a meat-centered diet and growing hunger. Those who can afford meat may eat “better,” but it means that many people go hungry.

The above-mentioned burden on resources comes at a real human cost. With not enough to go around, millions of people will starve.

War also promotes hunger. To the same extent that a lack of resources promotes war, it also promotes hunger.

Meat Just Doesn’t Make Sense

It doesn’t have to pull at anyone’s heartstrings. You don’t need to have pictures of suffering animals or bloody carcasses of cute ones. The toll that meat takes on humans is tangible and measurable.

It is an excessively high cost to pay for filling your stomach. It harms your health when you eat it regularly, and it harms societal health, diplomatic relations, and much more.

Giving up meat is the single most powerful thing you can do as an individual to promote peace and ecological diversity, reduce the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections, and reduce global poverty. It is better for you, and it lets you live in a better world.

That’s a much stronger argument than an appeal to gory imagery. The logic is undeniable.

If you want to sell an idea, you need to let people know what is in it for them. That is a more compelling case. That is much more likely to get people to sit up and take notice.

If preaching worked, religion would have solved humanity’s problems already. But it hasn’t. There is still a lot to solve. Educating people is a good place to start.