United Poultry Concerns <http://www.UPC-online.org>
21 April 2020
Take a GIANT STEP: Go Vegan!
By Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns
This article, excerpted from Life Can Be Beautiful – Go Vegan!
<https://www.upc-online.org/govegan.pdf>, is featured in
the April 2020 issue of *The Echo World: The Alternative Voice in the South*
Echo World appears in print and online.
*There’s never been a better time to switch to a diet free of animal
Animal-free eating gets easier every day as more and more people seek
delicious vegan foods and restaurant dishes. More and more supermarkets
range of easy-to-prepare products marked Vegan. With today’s culinary
and technology, we can enjoy delicious textures and flavors without worrying
about the cholesterol, type-two diabetes and other health issues linked to
unhealthy, animal-based diets. Let’s look at the arguments.
*Why Choose Vegan?*
As the human population grows, food-safety and environment problems grow,
animals raised for food get treated worse. They suffer more cruelly, grow
and pass their sickness on to us. By choosing vegan, we refuse to support
suffering of billions of animals while enjoying the health benefits
with plant-based foods.
Fortunately, the demand for animal-free foods is growing. People want meals
are healthy, better for the environment, and compassionate to animals.
vegan meat and dairy-free products are rising rapidly in the United States
elsewhere in the world, according to food trend analysts.1 Plant-based
a path toward a healthier, more sustainable and caring way of life.
Much of the destruction of our forests and wildlife is due to animal
agriculture. Our forests, especially our rainforests, absorb carbon dioxide
the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen. When we slash and burn forests to
graze cattle and grow soybeans to feed billions of poultry and pigs, we
our ability and our children’s ability to breathe fresh air. Currently,
to eighty percent of the world’s soy goes not into tofu but into food fed to
A plant-based diet helps to protect our forests and our environment. In
the Planet, One Meal at a Time,” American journalist and Presbyterian
Chris Hedges, writes: “With animal agriculture as the leading cause of
extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction,
vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to
the planet and its species.”3
*Animals Raised for Food*
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production reported that of
terrible things they witnessed in their investigation of farmed animal
facilities, “The most appalling was a facility that produces chickens for
eating. It was totally dark and the dust and ammonia smells were
Animals raised for food are treated badly and they are very unhealthy.
turkeys and ducks are crammed in filthy, dark buildings loaded with
flu viruses, toxic funguses and poisonous gases that burn their eyes, their
skin, and their lungs. With no fresh air, sunshine, or normal activities,
birds develop painful skeletal deformities, soft watery muscles, stress
and heart disease.
Chickens and turkeys go to slaughter with rotting livers (necrotic
“wing rot,” pus-filled lungs, and ammonia-burned skin. Rotting intestines
ulcerated flesh are removed at the slaughterhouse. Corpses are drenched in
chlorinated water to conceal flesh sold falsely to consumers as “healthy.”5
Former Tyson chicken slaughterhouse worker Virgil Butler and his partner,
Alexander, described their switch to an animal-free diet: “We just couldn’t
at a piece of meat anymore without seeing the sad, tortured face that was
attached to it sometime in the past.”6
*”Free-Range,” “Cage-Free,” “Humane Farming”*
These terms sound reassuring, but the reality behind the scenes is
soon as they are born, most hens used for “cage-free” eggs are painfully
debeaked, and all male chicks are destroyed at the hatchery since they
eggs. “Free-range” turkeys are violently “milked” and inseminated by hand,
newborn calves and piglets are torn from their mothers, and baby chicks,
and ducks are denied the comfort of their mother’s wings.
All animals raised for food – “free-range” included – are slaughtered,
or trucked to live animal markets and rendering companies when their
life is over. Farmers do not keep “useless” animals. The idea that billions
humans can have billions of “humanely-raised” animals is untrue.
*What About Fish?*
Fish are intelligent beings with feelings. When pulled from the water, they
suffocate in panic and pain, the same as humans and other land animals do
drowning. Being hooked in the mouth or caught in a net is torture for fish
are increasingly raised in huge aquatic factory farms as a result of human
overpopulation, overconsumption and ocean water pollution. They’re
genetic engineering, drugs and diseases the same as their terrestrial
counterparts. *The Guardian* reports that “the oceans are massively
with more than half now being industrially fished.”7
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the major foodborne
viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi – occur mainly in “meat, poultry,
seafood, dairy products and eggs.” 8 Foodborne bacteria such as E. coli,
Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria can migrate from people’s
other body parts – blood, bones, nerves, organs, and joints – to cause
illnesses later in life, such as arthritis. Salmonella and E. coli
of plants such as spinach, tomatoes and melons comes from animal farming
operations. Fruits and vegetables do not generate this contamination.
Farmed animals are fed massive amounts of antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant
bacteria remain in slaughtered animals even on the dinner plate.
infections (UTIs) caused by E. coli affect millions of women. These
correlate particularly with eating chicken. To reduce the risk, women are
encouraged to eat the plant-based chicken products available in stores and
fast-food franchises. These products taste just as good and do not present a
risk of UTIs.9
*The Good News*
When all is said and done, a plant-powered diet produces a legitimate
wellbeing in people. In “The Evidence for a Vegan Diet,” James McWilliams,
associate professor of history at Texas State University, writes: “For me,
most persuasive evidence supporting a healthy vegan diet is the everyday
that a dozen or so people with whom I eat have done extraordinary things as
direct result of intelligent veganism. They’ve conquered obesity, chronic
disease, depression, and a host of food-related disorders by exclusively
an exciting diversity of plants. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it is
the diet empowers.”10
1. Monica Watrous, “Plant-based foods go mainstream in 2019
*Meat + Poultry*, December 27, 2019.
2. Farhad Manjoo, “Stop Mocking Vegans
<https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/opinion/vegan-food.html>,” *The New
York Times*, August 28, 2019.
3. Chris Hedges, “Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time
*Truthdig*, November 10, 2014.
4. Robert Martin, executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial
Animal Production interviewed in *E Magazine*, July-August 2008.
5. Karen Davis, “Chickens: Their Life and Death in Farming Operations
*Encyclopedia Britannica*, October 1, 2018.
6. Virgil Butler & Laura Alexander interviewed in “Slaughterhouse Worker
Activist <http://www.upc-online.org/fall04/virgil.htm>,” *Poultry Press*,
7. Damian Carrington, “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to
your impact on Earth
*The Guardian*, October 30, 2018.
8. Buzby & Roberts, *FoodReview*, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Economic
Service, May-August 1995.
9. Martha Rosenberg, “Are Your Frequent UTIs From the Food You’re Eating?
*The Epoch Times*, July 27, 2019.
10. James McWilliams, “The Evidence for a Vegan Diet
*The Atlantic*, January 18, 2012.
Order printed copies of:
*Life Can Be Beautiful – Go Vegan*
*UPC Merchandise* <https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise>
KAREN DAVIS, PhD <http://www.upc-online.org/karenbio.htm> is the President
and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a
nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful
of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Inducted
the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to
Liberation, Karen is the author of numerous books, essays, articles and
campaigns. Her latest book is *For the Birds: From Exploitation to
*Essays on Chickens, Turkeys, and Other Domesticated Fowl* (Lantern Books,
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
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