years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Over 60 billion animals are raised and slaughtered each year for meat, milk and eggs to provide food for a population of over 6 billion people. By 2050 this is projected to increase to 120 billion animals to meet the growth in the human population and the increase in meat consumption per person.
To meet these demands billions of animals are raised on intensive-production farms, where they live short, miserable lives packed in small cages or stalls. These animals are denied even the most basic of their natural requirements. Injury, disease and death are common.
Many farmed animals are specifically bred to increase their production of meat, and dairy producrs. These unnaturally-bred animals may suffer horrendous problems as a result, including leg fractures, difficulty giving birth, and disease. To many in the animal-production industry, they are nothing more than numbers on a balance sheet.
On intensive farms, chickens have their beaks brutally cut to reduce injuries from pecking, before spending 6 weeks in windowless barns lying on their own excrement. At only a few days, piglets are castrated and have their teeth clipped without any anaesthesia or pain relief. Many male dairy calves have no economic use and are shot at birth others are removed from their mothers and sent to be fattened on artificial diets and slaughtered for veal. Calf removal allows the maximum amount of milk to be extracted from their mothers. Animals that are sick, or which no longer grow or produce efficiently enough are discarded.
The capture, transport and slaughter of so many animals require production-line facilities. Capture of broiler chickens and laying hens often causes major leg injuries and death. Animals are often transported over hundreds of miles, in terrible, cramped conditions with little or no food or water suffering from extremes in weather conditions and temperatures. Many animals die in transport. Once at their place of slaughter many witness their fellows being killed while they await their own fate. In many cases animals are not correctly or adequately stunned before slaughter, and die a slow, painful, terrifying death.
Fish are dragged out of the water in huge industrial nets. Non-target animals including dolphins, whales and turtles are often caught up and die, too. Other fish, such as tuna, are speared on hooks on the end of long lines, and slowly dragged to their death. Some sea birds are in increasing danger of starvation as their food source - fish - dwindles.
The truth behind the production, transport and slaughter of animals for food is often hidden from the public behind closed factory doors. By eating meat produced on factory farms, you are (wittingly or unwittingly) complicit in the suffering of countless animals. The average meat-eater consumes around 5000 animals in their lifetime. Think of all the lives YOU will save by being vegetarian!
It's good for people!
Oxfam estimate 24,000 people die every day of hunger related diseases, including one child every five seconds. Yet the problem is not necessarily a lack of food production, there is enough food produced across the world to feed a population of 8-10 billion. The problem is food availability for the people in poverty. Much of our grain currently goes to feed animals rather than people. Being veggie can help reverse this trend.
Vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, certain types of cancer and other illnesses, than people who regularly eat meat.
Intensive farming is thought to be partly responsible for the emergence of serious diseases transmitted from animals to people, such as bird and swine flu.
Animal-production systems often use hormones, antibiotics and other substances to increase production. The residues of these substances can be bad for your health.
Most cases of food poisoning are caused by the consumption of poorly prepared or contaminated meat, milk or eggs.
On average, lifelong vegetarians live several years longer than meat-eaters.
It's good for your pocket!
Meat is expensive to produce, and a meat-based diet is usually more expensive than a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians live longer, healthier lives, spend less time off work sick or at the doctors, and have lower medical bills.
It's good for the environment!
LAND: A typical meat eater’s diet requires five times as much land to produce than a plant-based diet.
ENERGY: Animals use much of the energy they consume and only a small percentage is converted into meat and dairy for consumption, therefore it takes more energy (fossil fuel input) to produce a meat-based diet than a vegetarian diet. For example, corn and barley production is around 15 times more efficient in terms of fossil fuel input than beef production.
WATER: Globally agriculture uses 70% of the world’s available freshwater supply. There is much controversy over exactly how much water is used in animal production systems but even conservative estimates suggest wheat is 18 times more water efficient than beef.
GLOBAL WARMING: Livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions from all human activities, measured in CO2 equivalent. This is higher than transport which accounts for 14%.
WILDLIFE: Wild animals are being killed at an enormous rate to provide us with food. Our continents and oceans cannot sustain the level of killing, and many species will die out if we don't curb our desire for meat.
GENETIC MODIFICATION: With ever-increasing demand for product and profit, animal-production industries are turning to genetic manipulation. Many scientists and others worry about the eventual effects of genetically modified animals.
Even reducing the amount of animal products you eat can make a difference!
Remember: A good, well balanced vegetarian diet is good for animals, good for the
environment, good for your pocket, and good for your health!
Long-time vegetarians testify to how much more they enjoy their food, and how varied and interesting a well thought out vegetarian diet can be.