For the animals
Before I adopted the plant-based diet, I was a meat eater. Hunting and fishing are part of our Canadian culture, and I would've never felt guilt when eating a burger. I simply felt like eating meat is just the way things are, and certain animals, like cows, pigs, chickens were made to be consumed. I consumed omega fortified eggs, grass fed beef and humanely raised chickens and went about my day. It was only once I was already almost fully transitioned that my perspective on animal farming began to change. Once I realized that humans could live a long and healthy life without animal products, I began to question our usual animal farming practices. I started to realize that all animals are sentient, meaning that they have a central nervous system, and they feel joy, love their offspring, feel pain and want to avoid it.
I devoted some time looking into animal agriculture practices and learning how industries go long ways to market their products in a way that keeps us unaware of the horrible conditions in which they were born, raised, then slaughtered. I discovered the massive amounts of antibiotics they were given, in order to keep them healthy in their horrible living conditions, and the inhumane ways in which they were forcefully impregnated, then separated from their offspring. I discovered how moms moaned and cried, searching for the newborn babies that had been taken away.
Then I had my aha moment when I saw how practices are different around the world. Where we consume cows, pigs, chickens, others consume horses, cats and dogs. I always saw them as the ones in the wrong. Who on earth would eat a dog!? Then realizing we are no better when we consume the animals we farm in the western world. Those animals we consider domestic pets are really no different from the ones we eat. As this was getting clearer in my mind, I decided to watch the documentary Dominion. In this life and perspective changing documentary, hidden cameras reveal how animals are born, raised, fattened, then slaughtered for our taste enjoyment. I saw that whatever the animal, whether cow or dog, the practices were the same, and all had the same faith.
If meat was a health food, could we justify it? It's not a health food. If animal agriculture was a sustainable way of feeding the planet efficiently and without consequence, could we justify it? It's one of the most important contributors to global warming, tropical deforestation, water and resource abuse and antibiotic overuse and resistance. If animals were made to be eaten, could we justify it? They weren't. They are here through the same processes as we are, through evolution. They are sentient, they feel pain and want to avoid it and there are no ways we can ethically justify animal agriculture, when it is unnecessary, unsustainable, inefficient and ethically wrong. I do not want to sound hypocritical, I ate meat for 30 years, and never second guessed it, but once I really dived in the ethics and psychology of it all, it just confirmed that transitioning to a plant-based diet was the right thing to do, for my health, for the planet, and for the animals.