Things That Kids Can Do To Help
ABOUT THE FOOD YOU EAT***
Most of us grow up eating animals without realizing
where meat comes from and how it gets to our plates. Meat is a funny word because it
doesnt tell you much about your food. For example, what does a hamburger
animal look like, or a hot dog animal? Or a bacon animal? Hamburger is really
ground up cow and bacon is really strips of pig flesh and a hot dog is really a mishmash
of dead animal parts. When you think of food that way, it certainly makes a
difference, doesnt it?
Some people think that the animals they eat were raised on farms
where they lived their days basking in the sun, munching on tasty food and running around
enjoying themselves. But today most animals are raised on factory farms in dark,
crowded, smelly sheds, usually unable to even turn around because there is so little room.
Their babies are taken from them almost as soon as they are born, frequently never
allowed to play, stretch or feel the sunlight.
Cows are branded with hot irons that burn a mark deep into their
flesh so people can tell them apart. They dont give them anything to kill the
pain. Have you ever burned yourself? Do you remember how much it hurt?
To mark pigs, some people cut off pieces of their ears!
Many pigs go crazy from having to live inside the smelly, crowded
sheds. Sometimes this causes them to bite each others tails. To keep
this from happening, people cut off their tails without any pain killers.
Before they are transported to be killed, pigs sometimes get
their noses broken with baseball bats or sledge hammers. People think that this will
keep them from biting each other when they are crammed into the trucks.
Chickens, turkeys and ducks all have the ends of their beaks and
bills cut off or burned off and chickens and turkeys have their toes cut off all
without painkillers. People do this to keep them from hurting each other because
they fight when they are crammed into tiny cages in filthy, smelly sheds. It is not
natural for them to live like this and they get all stressed out over the terrible way
they are forced to live.
When cows and pigs are taken to slaughterhouses where theyre
killed, theyre often forced onto crowded trucks with an electric prod. This is
a big stick which gives them a very painful shock. Those who are too weak or sick to walk,
are dragged by chains or pushed with bulldozers.
Killings animals to eat kills us too! The top diseases in the
United States are heart disease, cancer and strokeall of them strongly linked to
meat. Your chances of getting these diseases when you are older are very small if
you stop eating animals early in life.
Using animals for food is also very bad for the environment.
When land is used to raise animals instead of crops, precious water and soil are lost,
trees are cut down to make land for grazing or factory farm sheds, and chemicals are used
to fatten up the animals quickly and then end up in streams and in the earth.
Besides that, pigs and cows produce a lot of waste that pollutes the environment.
People who dont eat animals are called vegetarians. More
and more people are becoming vegetarians today because they dont want to be a party
to the cruelty involved in producing meat, they are concerned with the environment and
their own health.
Some people become vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) and dont use any
animal products at all including milk, eggs, leather, wool, etc. They know that
animal products cause great suffering to the animals. For instance, egg-laying hens
have an awful life even worse than the chickens who are raised for food!
These hens are crammed into tiny cages six to eight in a cage. The cages are
stacked on top of each other in huge factory farm buildings. Hundreds of thousands
of chickens live in just one building. The buildings smell so bad that you can barely
breathe in them, but the chickens have no choice. Many die in their cages because
they cant get to their food or because other chickens trample them.
Male chickens cant lay eggs, so when chicks are born for
egg-laying, the males are thrown into the garbage alive or are ground up while still alive
to make chicken feed.