Peaceable Journey

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If I care about animals, but still eat animal products, isn't it more compassionate to buy "humane" animal products?

It is admirable and important to investigate the impact our actions have on others, and when we find that there is a change we can make that will do less harm to others, it is right to pursue it. However, it is equally important to be realistic and well informed, and not to take actions in the name of compassion that serve to soothe our conscience while failing to adequately address the violence and injustice being experienced by others.

The animal-using industry has a decades-long track record of misleading the public, on everything from the health benefits of consuming their products to the living conditions and mode of death of the animals being used and killed. The statements of former farmers, animal rescuers, humane police officers and investigators featured on the Humane Myth web site attest to the industry's deception. While positive-sounding "humane" labels are guaranteed to increase sales of more expensive products, the evidence suggests that the marketing hype has little to do with reality. And the public's participation in this charade, however well intended, is only helping to perpetuate the injustice of breeding animals into existence to be used and killed.

That one or more well-known animal protection organizations may decide to endorse or applaud a "humane" labeling scheme doesn't change this reality. Just think about it. The most recent figures show that, worldwide, 58 BILLION animals are killed for food in a year, and that number keeps growing. Is it even remotely plausible that an orderly, trustworthy, and reliable system will ever be devised to ensure a given standard of treatment for any but a miniscule fraction of those individuals, most of whom are "worth" just a few dollars?

What the animal-using industry does not want the public to know is that the creation of all animal products unavoidably involves injustice. (To get a better idea of how true this really is, view as examples the Behind the Myth slide shows about "Happy Cows" and "Cage-Free Eggs.")

So, even if the claims being made about how a given animal was treated were credible and completely trustworthy, would they actually address the basic moral problem that arises when animals' lives are taken against their will in order to satisfy our palate? Do the claims being made address the confinement, social deprivation, mutilation, reproductive manipulation, indignity and premature death endured by animals being exploited? If not, then buying these products becomes a rather poor and misguided expression of our respect and care for animals.

In fact, the only way we can truly be sure that our dietary choices are not harming animals is to stop eating their eggs, milk and flesh. Each time we make the decision to use or consume a non-animal alternative, we can be confident we are making a real difference, that we are no longer contributing to a grievous injustice done to animals on farms as well as to wildlife (animal agriculture is the number one cause of habitat destruction worldwide). And since healthy, tasty, environmentally-friendly vegan alternatives are widely available, it's never been easier to do what is good for our health, good for the animals and good for our planet.

For more info, see this inspiring video presentation: A Life Connected

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