Monday, February 27, 2012

Pigs Out Vegetables In

To the public, I look like any other normal citizen walking down the street; however, this isn’t necessarily true. I have been a vegetarian for 1 year, 4 months, and 29 days! I love being a vegetarian and although some people don’t agree with my choice, I wouldn’t want to live any other way. I don’t understand how people can just continue to eat pound after pound of meat and not feel bad for all of the animals that are being killed, because of their choice! I believe the world would be a better place if only we didn’t eat meat.
Everyday billions of people sit down at restaurants ordering anything from a good tender steak to a nice roasted chicken. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, about 112 million pigs are killed for food each year. That’s roughly 35% of the United States’ entire population. Now what if a pig came and killed 35% of Americans every year? Don’t you think that would make the citizens of the world just a little angry? Well how do you think the pigs’ feel? Dr. Donald Broom, a professor at Cambridge University and former scientific advisor to the Council of Europe explained that pigs brains have the ability to be quite intelligent; more so than some of our common house pets and definitely more so than our average three year olds. So how is it that we can just go on, day after day, with poor little pigs being fatted up and killed for our daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
One reason why you should be a vegetarian is for the health benefits. In the book, Mad Cowboy by Howard F. Lyman there is a quote by Dr. Julian Whitaker, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute Medical Clinic. “Death of heart disease is as unnecessary as dying of drug abuse, yet it is taken as a normal thing.” If eating meat is so bad for you, then why do so many people of the world like to enjoy a delicious dinner of steak or lamb chops? In my opinion, the only answer could be that they don’t understand just how bad meat can be for you. As the Baylor Heart Hospital states, “ Every 37 seconds another American dies of heart disease.” So wouldn’t you rather stop eating meat and be able to live your entire life to the fullest, not having to worry that in exactly 37 seconds your life may be coming to a close? Also according to a study by a group of Swedish researchers “vegetarians have about a 25% lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians.” If I were deciding to either be an herbivore or an omnivore, I would definitely choose the vegetarian odds. You only get one body. You have to take care of it.
As said in, Mad Cowboy, by Howard F. Lyman, “There are only two things wrong with meat: what we know for sure is in it, and all the other stuff that might be in it.” One thing that we know for sure is in the meat is chemicals. Over 25 years ago the chemical DDT, formally a commonly used pesticide in the U.S., was banned domestically. Unfortunately, even after being banned this chemical still remains in the ground today, continually contaminating all the crops grown in its soil.
·       About 80% of all the pesticides used in America are put toward enhancing the crops, corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat. These are the major crops fed to animals and all the pesticides being fed to them are now being fed to us.
·        Humans are now getting 95% of DDT fed to them through meat and dairy products. ()
·       According to the Department of Cancer Epidemiology in Sweden, many pesticides are carcinogenic. This in short means any substance or agent that may cause cancer. ("carcinogenic.")
 The Department of Cancer Epidemiology also says that pesticides such as DDT most commonly promote tumors. In this day and age, everybody knows how hard it can be knowing someone with cancer, so why take the risk of getting it yourself?
Do you ever think about what the animal your eating has suffered through before landing on your dinner plate? According to The Humane Farming Association, after interviewing dozens of slaughter house workers they concluded that every single worker they interviewed either admitted to abusing animals or admitted to not reporting those who did. There were also many disturbing quotes taken from these interviews such as:
·       “I seen them take those stunners-they’re about as long as a yard stick-and shove it up the hog’s ass”
·        “These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. There’s a rotating arm that pushes them under, no chance for them to get out…it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing.”
·       “I could tell you horror stories… about cattle getting their heads stuck under the gate guards, and the only way you can get it out is to cut their heads off while they’re still alive.”
 I don’t think any animal should have to go through what these animals go through. They are beaten, and stabbed, and tazed and anyone who takes part in this slaughtering process in my opinion deserves to go to jail. If anyone treated a human like this they would be locked up in a minute. Why should this be any different for animals?
All my life I have hated the idea of animal cruelty. I don’t understand how people think its ok to treat an animal any differently than they would treat a human, with respect. Senate Study Bill 3128, page 2, line 8, states that a person is guilty of animal cruelty, if the person is a responsible party for an animal and causes the animal unjustified pain, distress, or suffering by any means, including but not limited to mutilating, beating, or poisoning the animal. If any sane human were to read this text from the Iowa Code I would say that most, if not all, people would agree with this legislation. Why then do we have people who beat animals so cruelly before they are killed for our table? In an interview with Gail Eisnitz, Chief Investigator for the Humane Farming Association, a man says, “He’ll kick them [hogs], fork them, use anything he can get his hands on. He’s already broken three pitchforks so far this year, just jabbing them. He doesn’t care if he hits its eyes, head, butt. He jabs them so hard he busts the wooden handles. And he clubs them over the back.” Now how can this possibly be considered anything other than causing an animal unjustified pain by beating? How do we allow this man to just walk around in our civilization unnoticed?
If the entire world only ate meat for two months we would all die of starvation. However if the entire world were vegetarian, we would never run out of food. (Freedman,) Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world could be fed, and pastures could be used to grow crops and not for cattle to walk around on? Still, according to the Vegetarian Times, only 7.3 million of America is vegetarian. Compared to 3.6 million or 6% of Europeans being vegetarian, and finally 8.5% of Israel follows this. It makes sense why heart disease is such a large cause of death when only 3.2% of America is taking this disease seriously.
If anyone isn’t a vegetarian because they think its too hard then they should think again. I am in high school and I still manage to find food without a side of pig or cow. There are so many great foods you could eat such as a falafel, eggplant parmesan, or even a black bean burger! Now you may be thinking how do I find recipes that don’t contain meat? There are millions of good vegetarian cook books and if you really miss that taste of meat, there is plenty of fake meat that when put in a casserole or in chili tastes exactly the same as normal meat. My own top three favorite foods are bacon, burgers, and jerky. Luckily there are vegetarian options for all of those meats; you just have to be willing to give them a try.
After learning only some of the bad things that can happen to you from eating meat and all the bad things that happen to animals, why do you still chose to eat meat? Think of how much better the world would be if no more animals were being beaten and stabbed to death and humans were not dieing of unnecessary causes. When you die do you want to know that you did absolutely nothing to help the poor animals or that you have done all you could to improve the world for generations to come? Even if you don’t care about animals, at least try to care enough about yourself to stop eating meat. As said by Howard F. Lyman “When you can’t take it with you, all that really matters is what you leave behind.” So, what will you be leaving behind?
(1534 words)

Works Cited:

Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, and Reeves G
"Pigs: Intelligent Animals Suffering in Factory Farms and Slaughterhouses |" People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): The Animal Rights Organization | Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <>.
"DDT |Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) Chemical Program | US EPA." US Environmental Protection Agency. Monday Apr. 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <>.
"Statutory Law." Iowa Legislature. 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2012.
Lyman, Howard F., and Glen Merzer. Mad Cowboy.: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat. New York: Scribner, 1998. Print.
Dich, J., S. H. Zahm, A. Hanburg, and H. O. Adami. "Pesticides and Cancer." NCBI. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <>.
Freedman, Rory. and Kim Barnouin. Skinny Bitch: A No-nonsense, Tough-love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!Philadelphia: Running, 2005. Print.
Appel, Lawrence. Erlinger, Thomas. The Relationship Between Meat Intake and Cardiovascular Disease. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, 2003
Key, T. J., G. E. Fraser, Thorogood, P. N. Appleby, V. Beral, and G. Reeves. "Mortality in Vegetarians and Nonvegetarians: Detailed Findings From a Collaborative Analysis of 5 Prospective Studys." NCBI. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. <>
"carcinogenic." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 12 Feb. 2012. <>.
"Vegetarianism In America." Vegetarian Times - Great Food, Good Health, Smart Living. Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. <>.

Skinny Bitch, Book Review

I chose to read the book, Skinny Bitch, because when I was writing my Vegetarian Synthesis for this class many of my facts were coming straight from the pages of this book. After reading bits and pieces of it, I was very interested and I really wanted to know more so when people asked why I am a vegetarian I could give them a complete answer. This book was challenging for me to read for three reasons. One, all the talk about how cruel the workers are in slaughterhouses presented many emotional challenges for me. Two, all of the medical jargon, when talking about health, was sometimes very confusing and difficult to follow. And three, the book was so jam packed with interesting facts that I wanted to remember, but couldn’t. However in spite of all these things, the book was still a very interesting read and anyone interested in being a vegetarian should definitely put this on their reading list!
                The hardest section of this book to read was the few chapters about animal cruelty in slaughterhouses. Some of the things these workers do to the animals are so horrific I just couldn’t bare to read it. I had to take reading breaks between every few pages just so I could clear my head and sometimes take a few minutes to just cry. Once I even found myself getting physically sick and I had to skip over a section of the book and return to it later. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel to the poor innocent animals. This was by far the most challenging part of reading this book.
                Another major section of this book was about how eating meat and other animal by products can affect your health. These chapters were very difficult to read because there was a lot of medical jargon that I didn’t understand. I often found myself going back and rereading pages, and sometimes even chapters, of the book just trying to understand what was being discussed. Also with all of the big medical terms, I usually had to read with a dictionary by my side because sometimes I would find myself looking up three to five words on every page just trying to understand the topic being talked about.
                The last challenging aspect of reading this book was trying to remember all the facts. Because this book doesn’t follow a story line, I wasn’t as concerned with remembering specific information regarding characters and happenings in the book. I was however trying to remember all the facts I could and this was very challenging because I felt as if I was reading a college textbook. It was one fact after another and even though most of it made sense, I still had a terrible time trying to remember everything. By the time I was done reading the book, I had highlighted many things and ear flapped many pages so I can go back and reread the interesting facts when I want to.
                Even with all of the mental and emotional challenges that came with reading this book, it was still a very good choice in literature. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all the vegetarian health facts and next time someone asks me why I’m a vegetarian, I will be able to give them a very good answer. I feel as if reading this book helped introduce me to a different type of reading that I had never tried before and I am very interested in reading other books like this in the future. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about being a vegetarian and just staying healthy in general. It was a great book and I never wanted to put it down.
(628 blogs)