Animals are sentient beings too

Sophie Mustert, Web Editor

In one day, over 200 million animals are killed for human consumption. In one year, 72 billion animals lose their lives to be on your plate. 

People consume several types of animal products, whether it’s straight flesh, milk, eggs, and honey. Everyone knows they’re eating a pig, chicken, or whatever other animal, but they don’t make the connection that they are a sentient and conscious beings. Animals feel emotions, they have thoughts like just us. There is a universal desire among all species to be loved, comforted and taken care of. Every animal deserves a chance at life like we think humans do. 

People don’t realize what happens behind the scenes, and the repercussions of this behavior. Being ignorant about the meat, dairy, and egg industry is not the individuals fault, until they blatantly deny what’s right in front of them. People can see videos of abuse and claim it’s just that specific farm, or just that worker. Many people say these things to feel better about what they’re doing and justify their eating habits. But in reality, abuse in factory farms happens everywhere. 

Animals go through unimaginable suffering on factory farms, they live in a constant state of fear. They are born and fed just to be killed at a young age, watching their companions get killed right in front of their eyes. Those animals are dying for your food, even if you don’t pull the trigger, you are responsible for their death and suffering.  You are consuming an individual that did not want to die. 

There is no “humane slaughter,” eating animal products contributes to the suffering and death of sentient beings. The “Humane Slaughter Act ” in the United States was created to lessen the suffering of animals by preventing the most pain. Bashing sick or disfigured piglets head on a cement ground is one slaughter method considered humane. They only get one blow, not more than that, and several animals suffer for minutes before fully passing away. This is just one example of the horrendous treatment animals receive in the meat industry.

There are far worse videos and stories being shared regarding the terrible treatment of animals. It is simple to find the truth behind factory farms, and there is no excuse to be ignorant about it today. People are familiar with the FairLife milk scandal, where a video was released of multiple workers beating cows. The unfortunate part is that they are still in business. They claim to have fixed the problem, but nothing about their company is fair.

Many people grow up their whole lives eating these products, not thinking there’s anything wrong with it. I was one of those people. My favorite foods used to contain several animal products. When I took the time to educate myself, my eating habits changed. Some of my family members were supportive, while others just didn’t understand. People constantly ask where I get my protein, calcium, and other nutrients. The fact is all of the ”nutrients” you get in animal products are abundant in plants. If you are a picky eater, there are supplements for you. It isn’t hard to switch out chicken nuggets with chicken-less nuggets. It’s a small sacrifice I can make for the greater good of the world. We are blessed to live in an age where there are several animal product replacements, people no longer need to use eggs and milk for baking, you can even get a vegan pizza or mac and cheese at some stores and restaurants.  

I understand it’s hard to avoid a lot of animal products like dairy and eggs, because it’s frequently baked and cooked in food. These types of food items have been ingrained in our culture. It’s hard to find options that don’t use animal products at several restaurants, especially in the East Grand Rapids area, but it’s not impossible. Many fast food chains have created vegetarian meat, like Burger King and KFC. Next time you stop by one of these places, consider the more humane option. Please challenge your limiting beliefs and taste preferences, find the respect and compassion in your heart for all. Think about who you are eating, not what. You are eating someone, not something. 

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian,” said legendary singer Paul Mccartney.