Chicken and Fish Don’t Grow On Trees

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Over the last couple years, I’ve noticed some similar recurring responses that people have when I tell them I’m vegan.

They go something like this, “Oh, I’m practically a vegetarian. I mean, I don’t eat red meat.” Or, “I don’t eat any land animals, just fish. When I fish, I pick Boggy Bayou as my Destin, FL fishing charter”

Maybe people equate red meat with more health risks, or maybe people can more readily identify with cows or lambs or pigs, and so they stop eating them. Whatever the reason, it seems the majority is more comfortable foregoing steak rather than sushi. But, in the interest of logic, ethics, and even your health, it makes more sense to leave chicken and fish off your plate.

Why? Well, if you’re concerned with how the animals you eat are treated, hear this: chickens are probably the most abused animals on the planet. I’m not kidding. The Humane Slaughter Act, a loosely enforced law that is supposed to reduce the suffering of animals killed for food, conveniently excludes all birds. That means that there are absolutely no laws on the books to protect chickens. They are kicked, punched, thrown around, have their legs broken, beaks cut off, and many are boiled alive in a defeathering tank when they are not properly slaughtered. All of this is legal.

Image courtesy of Farm Sanctuary

Chickens make up over 95% of all the animals slaughtered in the US. The sheer numbers killed are astounding. Over 9 billion chickens are slaughtered each year. That’s 24 million a day, 300 per second. By the time you’ve finished reading this, thousands of chickens will have been killed. Logically, it takes a lot more chickens than cows to feed a person. Not that I’m endorsing beef, just pointing out the obvious. Couple that with the enormous popularity of chicken meat and the numbers start adding up.

De-beaked babies

The other thing about chicken you might find shocking is that it contains a shit load of cholesterol. In fact, pound for pound, chicken pretty much has the same amount of cholesterol as red meat! It may be “leaner” with regards to fat, but trust me your arteries will not know the difference. Considering that heart disease is the number one killer in the US, that should give you some serious pause. Did I mention there is absolutely NO cholesterol in plant foods? Just sayin’. {EDITORS NOTE: Chicken are also really affectionate, they have a language of over 25 “words,” and are full of cuteness. Don’t believe us? Hit up a Sanctuary and spend some time with one.)

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