ou are a typical egg-laying chicken in America, and this is your life: You’re trapped in a cage with six to eight hens, each given less than a square foot of space to roost and sleep in. The cages rise five high and run thousands long in a warehouse without windows or skylights. You see and smell nothing from the moment of your birth but the shit coming down through the open slats of the battery cages above you. It coats your feathers and becomes a second skin; by the time you’re plucked from your cage for slaughter, your bones and wings breaking in the grasp of harried workers, you look less like a hen than an oil-spill duck, blackened by years of droppings. Your eyes tear constantly from the fumes of your own urine, you wheeze and gasp like a retired miner, and you’re beset every second of the waking day by mice and plaguelike clouds of flies. If you’re a broiler chicken (raised specifically for meat), thanks to “meat science” and its chemical levers – growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically engineered feed – you weigh at least double what you would in the wild, but lack the muscle even to waddle, let alone fly. Like egg-laying hens – your comrades in suffering – you get sick young with late-life woes: heart disease, osteoporosis. It’s frankly a mercy you’ll be dead and processed in 45 days, yanked from your floor pen and slaughtered. The egg-layers you leave behind will grind on for another two years or so (or until they’re “spent” and can’t produce any more eggs), then they’re killed too.
At Free from Harm, we work hard to dismantle popular arguments in favor of eating animals: we link to scientific reports from major public health organizations all over the world confirming that humans have no biological need to consume animal products. We promote vegan athletes and bodybuilders. Our contributing vegan doctor thoroughly debunks the protein myth, and we expose the gross inaccuracy of the “canine teeth” argument (herbivores have some of the largest and most ferocious canine teeth on the planet!). Father Frank Mann explains why a vegan diet is the only consistent expression of core religious values, and we introduce you to the most phenomenal vegan cheeses we have ever encountered (only 15 minutes and a few ingredients to prepare!)
Finally, we get up close and personal with the truth about so-called humane farming, exploring the hidden practices and routine cruelties that are inherent to all animal farming. We show you why there’s no such thing as humane dairy, and why animal agriculture is the number one human-caused driver of global warming and environmental destruction.
We’re grateful to be able to provide useful information from all of these perspectives. But sometimes it’s hard not to wonder why, when it comes to the question of eating animals, people need anything more than the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you —
In the U.S. alone, we kill more than 9 billion land animals every year for flesh and secretions we have no need to consume. Globally, nearly 60 billion animals are slaughtered every year. It is impossible to fathom such numbers. But one by one by one by one, in a never-ending, brutal stream, every second of every day animals are peering through the slats of transport trucks, feeling the last sunlight of their lives (which is very possibly also the first); one by one, every second of every day, entering the kill chute of the slaughterhouse and walking those final steps, defenseless and innocent; one by one looking up at the last human face they will ever see— and no kindness, no mercy comes.
When we have access to nutritious plant-based foods, and understand that eating animals is not necessary to good health, then the choice to eat animals anyway is a choice to intentionally hurt others we could have easily spared. No matter how much we may talk about kindness, no matter how much we may practice it elsewhere, as long as we demand that living, feeling individuals be harmed and killed for our pleasure — as long as we choose violence over compassion — then we do not live a good or just life. Far greater than the sum of our good acts is the trail of blood, suffering and death we willfully and needlessly leave behind us.