You wouldn’t eat something this cute.
Naturally, there are good reasons apart from health and global climate change to refrain from consuming animal products. And by consuming, I mean purchasing or using as well as eating. When you purchase, use, or eat any kind of animal products, you support the barbaric and unethical practice of animal husbandry.
There is one great rule, taught by all religions, and embraced by all philosophies, secular or not. We see it in the Mahabharata, the Dao De Jing, Leviticus, the Talmud, the Analects, the words of Mohammed and the Greek and Roman philosophers, the works of the existential philosophers. It is likely best known to our audience as it is written in Luke 6:31 (NABRE):
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Animals feel pain. When you kick a dog, the dog will wince and whine, run away, and cower in fear—supposing it survives. You know the pain the dog feels, and you wouldn’t want to experience the same pain—or die. Always keep this Golden Rule in mind.
At the time of this writing, 60 billion animals are raised each year for food. That is ten times the world’s human population. In the United States alone, 9 billion chickens are killed each year. How is it possible to raise so many animals solely for human consumption? A disgusting “miracle” known as factory farming. Let’s take a look at a small sampling of the abusive practices involved.
Australian wool sheep have been bred to have extra-flappy skin, to increase the amount of wool produced per sheep. The extra weight of the wool causes sheep to collapse and even die during the hot summer months. Urine and fecal matter collect in the flaps, making the sheep susceptible to flies laying eggs in the flaps. When the fly eggs hatch, the maggots eat the sheep alive. To prevent this, sheep farmers practice “mulesing.”
In mulesing, sheep are strapped, legs up, on steel racks, and large chunks of flesh about the sheep’s anus and vulva are carved away. To keep the costs of the procedure low, farmers do not administer anesthetic, resulting in an extremely painful procedure for the animals. Ironically, the procedure is ineffective. Flies tend to lay eggs in the open wounds, which sometimes makes the procedure worse for the sheep. It is only used because it is cheaper than all alternatives that are more effective.
Before you put on or purchase another pair of wool socks, think about the sheep subjected to this torture. Would you like to have large chunks of flesh about your anus and/or vulva carved away while you are fully awake and unanesthetized? Well, that’s what you just did to a poor sheep, you insensitive clod.
The name sounds humorous, but the practice of “chick sexing” is barbaric, unethical, inhumane, and disgusting. Because they are able to produce eggs, female chickens are more valuable than male cocks. Chick sexing is the process of separating female chickens from male cocks as early as possible, before sex characteristics even begin showing.
The process is simple: a chick sexer picks up a chick, squeezes the chick to forcibly eject fecal matter from the chick’s anal vent, and then stares up the chick’s anal vent. If the chick sexer finds a bump inside the chick’s anal vent, the chick is male; if there is no bump, the chick is female. To confirm if the chick is male, the chick sexer will stick his or her inch-thick thumb into the chick’s millimeter-wide anal vent and rub the bump.
On egg-producing farms, only the female chickens are desired. The male cocks are immediately killed so as not to burden the farm financially. The male cocks are forced through meat grinders, alive and chirping for sweet mercy. Factory farms practice sexual discrimination at its worst—one sex is discriminately killed, while the other is forced to live a life of misery.
Female chickens are raised in cages so small that they are unable to move, with one gap for the head and one gap to let eggs out. Naturally, some chickens are unable to bear this stress, and will often peck themselves and other chickens to death. To prevent the death pecks of madness, farmers will debeak the surviving sexed chicks by chopping off the beak with a hot blade, searing the wound shut. A chicken’s beak is extremely sensitive—this operation can be compared to “female circumcision,” in which a human woman’s genitals are mutilated.
The next time you think about cracking an egg, remember all the cocks died to produce the egg. Remember the chickens living in tiny cages with their erogenous beaks removed. Remember all the pain and suffering and death that you have caused by wanting to eat an egg. You disgust me, you murderer, you castrator, you discriminator, you asshole.
Lambs are castrated for two reasons. First, it allows breeders to raise male and female lambs together without fear of a Billie Jean moment. Second, wether (castrated) lambs are easier to slaughter for better quality meat than ram (uncastrated) lambs.
There are three methods for castrating ram lambs: surgery, elastrator, and emasculator.
Lamb castrating surgery is less surgery and more an act of violence. It is a two-person job. One person holds the lambs legs apart. The other person places a bucket to the side of the lamb, pulls out a knife, slashes off part of the lamb’s scrotum, pushes the testicles out of the scrotum with his or her hands, bites the exposed testicles with his or her teeth, and tears them out with a swift jerk of the head, dumping the testicles into the bucket. The wound is then closed and the lamb released.
An elastrator is a small, but strong, rubber band about the size of an orthodontic elastic. The castrator places the elastrator on a metal tool, which opens the elastrator to a reasonable size, places the band around the lamb’s scrotum, and releases the elastrator from the tool. The deathgrip of the elastrator on the scrotum cuts off blood flow, and in a week, the scrotum will atrophy and fall cleanly off the poor lamb. During this week, the lamb is seen to be distraught and unable to function due to pain. The lamb will not be able to stand over the pain of scrotal constriction, collapsing several times as it cowers and retreats into a corner of the barn to lie down. In wretched agony.
An emasculator is a tool which crushes the spermatic cords and blood vessels in and around the testicles, often destroying the testicles in the process. The emasculator is placed around the lamb’s scrotum and given a squeeze. The lamb’s testicles are instantly crushed. For the males in the audience, this is like being bound and your scrotum placed on the concrete sidewalk, before someone raises his or her foot and stomps down, trampling your testicles underfoot and grinding them into a bloody pulp.
The next time you do anything involving sheep, remember the wether lambs. Imagine being male and having your scrotum being cut open while someone rips your testicles out with his or her teeth. Imagine being male and having an orthodontic elastic strapped around your scrotum and left there so that your testicles will simply fall off, and the week spent in deathly agony. Imagine being male and having your testicles crushed on a sidewalk under a merciless heel.
If you still want sheep products after reading this, you are scum. You deserve to experience all the pain of all the animals raised for human consumption. You deserve to die.
A Final Word
Naturally, while the described practices are primarily performed at factory farms, even “organic” and “free range” animal farms are barbaric and unethical as well. They still raise animals for abuse and slaughter. The final solution is not to switch to some other form of barbarism, but to end the barbarism altogether. End your consumption and use of all animal products.