Why save Farm Animals?
Human beings have had a very long history using domesticated wild species as farm animals. Domestication involves controlling a species’ breeding, habitat and food supply for the benefit of humans. Humans have been using domesticated species for food, textiles, and labor for only 15,000 years or so. Domestication is not a natural state for animals. Because modern human civilization emerged in tandem with the domestication of species, it is commonly accepted that the practice of using animals for food, textiles and labor is natural for humans.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In our modern society, the domestication and use of animals is directly tied to profit rather than basic survival of humans. Overconsumption and the factory production of farm animals has led to widespread abuses, including poor living conditions for the animals, horrifically efficient but unnecessarily painful slaughter methods, unnaturally shortened animal life spans, the breakup of animal families, and the pollution of vast acres of soil and our waterways with animal feces. There is also a well-documented, but poorly understood phenomenon of climate change. More and more evidence points to the production of farm animals for food as being a leading contributor. Deforestation for grazing areas, and the consumption of fossil fuels by the factory farm industry are thought to be major causes of climate change, and these human activities are negatively impacting other, non-domesticated species, even leading to their extinction.
To focus on Farm Animals means to focus on the most harmful aspect of modern human civilization, and to eliminate a primary source of suffering, disease, social and economic inequity and environmental catastrophe. We are compassionate people who care.
Don’t you care about the hungry and the poor, why the emphasis on Farm Animals? What about compassion for humans?
Even though our primary focus is on ending suffering for animals, and we proudly give a voice to the voiceless- we do care about the human species as well. There is a terrible inequity among human beings, where the majority of humans do not get enough to eat or are food insecure, and a small minority are vastly wealthy and live in morbid obesity. Meanwhile, vast amounts of grain, water, fossil fuels and land are wasted producing animals for food. We advocate diverting those resources into producing plant-based food for humans. If greed and cruelty were taken out of the equation, there would be more than enough food to feed humans, many times over, and it would be produced far more efficiently, compassionately and cleanly.
Also we care very deeply about the suffering of our fellow human beings due to diseases related to the consumption of animal products. The World Health Organization cites cardiovascular disease as the number one killer of human beings every year, killing about a third of all people who die every year – 17 out of 55 million people. It is well documented that the modern Western Diet, with it’s emphasis on processed animal products, is the number one contributor to heart disease in human beings. Other deadly preventable diseases like colon and breast cancer, diabetes, infections stemming from animal products like E.Coli and Salmonella all have the consumption of animal products as causes or contributing factors. Migrating to a plant-based diet is the single best thing a human being can do to save farm animals, and save themselves!
For more information (from Physicians!) on the relationship between a plant-based diet and your good health please visit:
What will happen to the millions of Farm Animals if everyone stops eating them?
There are millions of farm animals because people keep eating them. No one expects humans to stop domesticating and using animals overnight. Becoming vegan is a process of awareness, waking up to what products and services harm animals, and gradually eliminating or replacing them with humane and plant-based options. As more and more people become aware and eliminate animal products from their lives- the laws of supply and demand will kick in, less animals will be bred for these purposes and less animals will suffer. Our relationship with nature will be redefined and we will have many more resources to devote to feeding all humans with plants and solving other problems that plague all life on Earth.
Weren’t Animals put here for us to eat by God?
NYFAS both embraces and transcends religious belief. There are many devout religious people who care very much about the Life that shares the planet with us. No matter what God or Goddess one believes in, it would be hard to believe that He or She would approve of the waste, pollution, misery and gluttony that is inherently embedded in the Farm Animal industry as it exists today. Most religions have at least some laws and restrictions regarding animal life and against animal cruelty, even if they allow for consuming animal products. Most have laws against greed, gluttony, usury and slavery as well. We encourage all compassionate believers to look deeply into their own belief system and really examine whether a Creator of All Animals would really approve of the relationship human beings currently have with Farm Animals.
Humans are famous for wanting to do something for selfish reasons, doing it, and then saying it was because God wanted them to do it. No religion has any laws forbidding a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. But many ancient religions have very strange practices and ideas that may have made sense to some at the time, but that we no longer adhere to or approve of. For instance, some ancient religions command that a woman be forced to marry her rapist. Some have laws that punish rape victims, even more harshly than their rapists. Most modern societies recognize how unfair and cruel this is, and we like to think that we have progressed to the point where rape is a crime where the rapist is always appropriately punished, and the victim is dealt with compassionately. No modern compassionate, religious person would ever try to claim that he be allowed to rape a woman or a child because some ancient religion gave him permission to do so, or as a means of obtaining a wife. Some religious belief systems promote racism, sexism, homophobia, slavery and other practices that the majority of modern human beings have decided are wrong, and for which strict laws have been designed.
More and more people are realizing that Factory Farming and the use and misuse of animals is morally and ethically wrong, and this realization fits quite nicely with many traditional systems of belief. Many see themselves as caretakers of Creation, and feel that showing Compassion for all living things brings them closer to God.
Also if God really meant for us to be carnivores, why did he not create us with anatomical characteristics of other carnivores? Humans have neither the speed, the fangs, the teeth, the venom, or the intestinal tracts of other carnivores in nature. The animals we most resemble are primates: chimps, gorillas, monkeys, all of whom are almost exclusively vegetarian. Occasionally monkeys will eat insects and in rare cases, other monkeys. Vegans do not advocate cannibalism, which is also accepted in some religions.
What about Organic/Grass-Fed/Free-Range/Humanely-Raised Animals for Food?
We are thankful for anyone who cares about this issue enough to want to make changes in their lives that help save Farm Animals. We understand that compassionate consumers want to do the right thing, and that the food industry has responded to them by offering and marketing these kinds of choices to them. It says a lot about the rest of the Factory Farm industry which is so harmful to animals that there would have to be an entire cottage industry set up to respond to the compassion that many consumers have. We see this as the first in many steps that the food industry will have to go through in order to reach our goal, which is the abolition of the Factory Farm industry. Many of these products are more expensive, and it is not always easy to find them. If making these choices and buying these products is a way for you to start down that path to a vegetarian or vegan diet and for you to feel you are making a difference, we thank you for your efforts, and hope that you keep examining your life and the choices you make.
We also hope that you take the time to examine these food industry marketing labels. Are the labels really representing a more humane treatment of Farm Animals? What do these labels really mean? Many people comfort themselves with the thought of animals peacefully grazing in a grassy meadow, drinking from a beautiful river and cared for by a family of farmers before they are humanely slaughtered for food. But this is of no comfort to the animals who still live their lives as commodities and slaves to human beings. In the end, they are all put to death before their time. And the food industry often gets to use these comforting labels while still engaging in horrific practices that do not qualify as ‘humane.’ There is very little legal regulation when it comes to marketing and labeling animal products. We do not want to see compassionate people be fooled by clever industry marketing terminology. It is often a surprise to many who find out that their favorite brand of ‘humane’ animal product is raised and subjected to many of the same industry-wide inhumane practices as other brands. Animals for food is a big business, and big business has been known to misrepresent themselves in order to maximize profit.
There are now so many other choices in addition to these, we hope that you ask a vegan you know for more suggestions! And ask your local market if they plan on carrying these for you!
What if I hunt my own animals for food?
We do not want anyone to think that we want people to starve. We want all beings to have life and to be happy. If it were a matter of survival, we would understand if someone felt they had to take a life to feed themselves or their family. In most countries there is enough agriculture available that modern humans can sustain themselves on a plant diet, and it is often easier to find edible plants in areas that people would often look for animals to hunt.
But modern hunting is not all about food for survival. Hunters often equip themselves with expensive, sophisticated weaponry in order to give themselves the ultimate thrill and advantage. Hunting is viewed as a ‘sport’ and hunters often get bored of hunting certain ‘common’ animals and spend lavish sums of money on trips, or ‘safari’s’ to hunt exotic animals, many to the point of extinction. These hunters upset the natural balance of things and wastefully keep only certain parts of the animals as trophies, rarely eating them. Hunting is a luxury for most that engage in it.
In some cases governments will take it upon themselves to authorize hunting to control animal populations. Humans are constantly attempting to ‘fix’ nature, when it is humans that keep throwing nature out of balance. Often wild animals are killed because they are a ‘nuisance’ or they present some real or imagined danger to human activity. Some animals are killed merely because they prey on animals that humans also like to prey on.
I like meat and cheese, and that is my personal choice. Why are you trying to take away my personal choice?
Most people consume animal products because they come from a family or culture that consumed them. How much of that is personal choice? If you decided as a child that you no longer wanted to eat turkey for Thanksgiving, how much choice in the matter would you have? Most of the time people eat a limited and unhealthy diet because that is what it is expected of them to eat, it is what is advertised to them as being ‘good,’ or it is what is convenient for them to eat. About the only people actually following their own conscience and making a compassionate personal choice are vegans!
Having the right to make a personal choice like eating animal products assumes that you are the only species who has rights, and that your rights are more important than the rights of others. This is a dangerous process of thought. It has led to slavery, the oppression of women and children, genocide, and racial and ethnic discrimination. When one group assumes superiority over another group, and exerts that without any regard for their rights, it always leads to misery and death. This is exactly what we see in Factory Farming.
Saving farm animals represents progress for human beings. The abolition of unnecessary breeding of animals, the preservation of planetary resources, the end to animal suffering- Saving Farm Animals is the right and compassionate thing to do.