I’m vegetarian, isn’t that good enough?

“No animals need to be slaughtered for my vegetarian diet”

Yes, that’s true, but unfortunately it’s not the end of the story…

As a vegetarian you are already not in the mainstream of today’s culture. So you probably made a deliberate choice to stop eating meat. That’s why I’m not going to go into why meat is not good for your health, for the planet or for your conscience.

Still, may I please ask: What reasons led you to choose a vegetarian diet?

Vegetarian diet and health

Did you stop eating meat for health purposes? If you are still eating eggs and dairy products, then you are sabotaging yourself. Eggs are much higher in cholesterol than meat [source needed] and cheese has many times the saturated fat of meat [source needed]. Finally, antibiotics and toxins are just as much part of milk, cheese and eggs as they are part of meat [source needed].

Vegetarian diet and the environment

Maybe you stopped eating meat for environmental purposes. But your eggs and dairy products are still coming from animals. It’s not the animal slaughtering, but raising the crops and disposing of the animal waste that has the largest environmental impact.

Unfortunately, as a vegetarian you have a very similar environmental impact to someone who eats meat.

Vegetarian diet and animal cruelty

Unfortunately, the same argument holds true also if you stopped eating meat out of compassion for animals. After learning about how the animals in conventional large-scale livestock farming live, to me personally it feels like the act of slaughtering, as cruel as it is, does not represent the highest cruelty. It’s the act of “forcing these animals to live” that is the most cruel.

And now here is the unexpected twist: Egg-laying hens and milk-producing cows live similarly painful lives [source needed] as their “for-meat-only” siblings. But they live much longer, so they are also suffering much longer.

A chicken raised for meat (called a broiler) is typically slaughtered around the age of 40 days / 6 weeks1. But a hen lays eggs typically between the ages of 20 and 70 weeks / 5 months up to 1 year and 5 months2. After this 12-month period egg production naturally declines. To reinvigorate the egg production, industrial farms sometimes subject hens to stress and deprive them of food and partially of water for 7-14 days. This is called forced molting, and it’s forbidden in the European Union, but widely spread in the USA[source needed]. During forced molting the hens lose their feathers and up to 35% of their weight. However they also enter a second, and sometimes a third, period of laying eggs.

From vegetarian to plant-based

In conclusion, I’m proposing that if you examine your reasons for becoming a vegetarian just a bit deeper, you might actually discover that a completely plant-based diet better fulfills your personal goals.

Possibly you already had these thoughts? Maybe you thought that going vegan is too difficult, too extreme [TODO: Write a separate post about this topic.] or possibly unhealthy? Well, the rest of this site is here to demonstrate that those assumptions are not true.

Let's discuss: Do you have a different reason for choosing a vegetarian lifestyle? Do you agree with everything I wrote? The readers of this blog would like to know, so please leave a comment below.

Information sources:

  1. Animals Australia, "Broiler Chickens Fact Sheet"
  2. eXtension.org, "Raising Chickens for Egg Production"

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