5@5 - How animals are raised for food
July 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

As long as Eatocracy has been around, we've talked a lot about where our food comes from and how it's grown. Some of it's pretty and shiny and heirloom(!) - some of it, not so much.

Ultimately, how you choose to process the information is up to you and we welcome all to our table - whether vegan activist or meat-loving chef - but that doesn't mean there isn't room for passionate dialogue, which we'd love to hear in the comments below.

Bruce Friedrich is a well-known animal rights activist and senior director for strategic initiatives at Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization with a mission "to end cruelty to farm animals and promote compassionate living." He was the former Vice President for Policy of PETA.

Five Things You May Not Know About Animals Raised For Food: Bruce Friedrich

1. The average American eats more than 30 land animals, and countless sea animals
"According to the USDA, Americans eat more than 9 billion land animals every single year, and even more sea animals - the number for sea animals is unclear, because they are counted by gross weight, but all calculations put the number at well over 10 billion annually who are eaten by Americans.

What this means it that for most Americans, their primary interaction with animals is when they’re eating them. We’re a nation of animal lovers - 97 percent of us support laws to protect animals - and yet the place where we most interact with animals is when we’re paying for them to be badly treated on factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses."

2. The egg industry is even worse than the veal industry for animal welfare
"Roughly 95 percent of the nation’s 280 million hens are crammed into battery cages - 18 by 20 inch cages that are so small that their lives are void of any natural activities beyond breathing and defecating.

In these torture chambers, hens are given no mental stimulation and are unable to spread even one wing, so that they go insane from lack of mental stimulation, and their muscles and bones atrophy. Tens of millions of these inquisitive and interesting animals are starved for two weeks to shock their bodies into another laying cycle. Their suffering is beyond our worst imaginings, as you can see in this undercover video. (Editors' Note: Viewer discretion is advised).

Although cage-free egg production is better, it’s far from idyllic, as we discuss in our “truth behind the labels” campaign. Most cage-free producers cram the hens into massive, fetid, warehouses and although the animals can go anywhere in the barn (a huge improvement over cages), they are not allowed outside, and still can do little that is natural to them.

Because males are useless to the egg industry, the male babies are still ground up while they’re completely conscious, and even cage-free hens usually have their beaks seared off with a hot blade."

3.  Broiler chickens are given more drugs than any other farmed animal
"Roughly 70 percent of all antibiotics are fed to farmed animals, not humans, and most of these are fed to keep the animals from getting sick or to make them grow more quickly, not because they’re actually ill and in need of treatment. The problems with drugging up chickens (who get more than twice as many drugs as pigs or cattle) and other animals is manifold, including the breeding of super-bugs - bacteria that figure out how to beat known antibiotics, and which can kill people.

And it’s not just the drugs that are fed to farmed animals you have to worry about: Meat from factory farms is also often contaminated with PCBs, flame retardants, and all kinds of other chemicals (including arsenic—yes, arsenic) that collect in the animals’ flesh. So avoiding meat isn’t just good for animals; it’s also good for your health."

4.  There is no national legislation to protect 98.5 percent of farmed animals
"That headline kind of says it all, but I suppose it bears explanation: The Animal Welfare Act exempts farmed animals totally, and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) exempts birds. That’s right: There is no federal law at all to protect farmed animals before they reach the slaughterhouse, and the one law that tries to protect them at slaughter exempts birds.

This is a very big deal, because we eat more than 100 times as many chickens as pigs, and more than 200 times as many chickens as cattle - more than 98 of 100 land animals eaten in the United States are chickens. And yet anything goes with chickens, both on the farm and at slaughter - the way that all 9 billion of them are slaughtered would be illegal under the HMSA.

It’s worth taking a moment here to say that Americans are not happy about the way farmed animals are treated. More than two-thirds support strong legal protections for farmed animals, and when they’ve had a chance to vote, they have turned out overwhelmingly in support of animal protection.

The United Egg Producers has seen the writing on the wall, and they’re working on legislation with the Humane Society of the United States that will, when it’s passed (and we’ll be supporting it), represent the first federal law to protect animals on farms, the first federal law to protect chickens, and the first federal law to protect farmed animal welfare in more than 30 years.

At Farm Sanctuary, we would no more eat a chicken or her egg than we would eat a parrot or her egg (or a dog or her puppy), but we support positive change for animals, and encourage others to do likewise."

5.  Farmed animals are interesting individuals, just like the dogs and cats who we know a bit better
"At Farm Sanctuary, we spend our lives with farmed animals, so we know them as individuals. It’s amazing how transformational it can be for people to spend some time with chickens, pigs, and other farmed animals—they learn that these animals are just as interesting, and have the same range of personalities, that dogs and cats have.

Did you know that chickens have a capacity for foresight, and that pigs play video games better than dogs—and better, even, than some primates? It’s true. And anyone who spends time with farmed animals learns that just like dogs and cats, some are shy, and some won’t leave you alone.

For the same reason most Americans wouldn’t think of eating a dog or a cat, we at Farm Sanctuary wouldn’t think of eating any animal. They are, as the saying goes, our friends, not our food."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

Posted by:
Filed under: 5@5 • Animal Rights • Food Politics • Health News • News • Path to the Plate • PETA • Think

soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. rightisright

    So, while so many Americans can barely afford to keep food on the table for their children this doorknob wants to double the prices of the largest parts of our menus. Why, because chickens go insane? WHAT??? how can something with 10 brain cells, 8 more than the author of this story, go insane. It's that kind if idiocy and comparing animals to human attributes that we bestow on them (and they actually don't possess) that makes people tune this idiots out. We should treat chickens better because they beat pigs in video games, that must have been one heck of a tourney, sorry I missed that on ESPN 12. Get a life. Just because you are only capable of socializing with animals doesn't make them anything more than food. True, we should not be cruel to anything living without a reason but we also have to get real with the fact that production costs are going through the roof while our economy is rapidly dying on the vine and we can't afford to license and give citizenship to every farm yard animal and create a new class of people: Poultry-Americans!!

    July 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Brandon

      Well thank you for your rude remarks. Speaking of little braincells, it is clear to me than as you said the chicken possesses ten, the author possesses two and you must possess one because, if reviewed instead of just being a typical person with little connection to the outside world other than the shoe store, you may have noticed the error in every statement in your comment (whether that be grammatical or factual, because you had both several times.) Also, I have a cat and several chickens, the chickens are far smarter than my cat and have much more personality, in fact they kill more mice than my cat! You probably would not have guessed that though because as a typical person like yourself, you know with no actual recollection of an chicken other than the puree' of chickens in your 20 piece McNugget on your way to your office job where you have the time to mock and make fun of several heartfelt messages and attempts to make people see things in a different perspective, which you are obviously incapable of because like most people you think a pet is a dog and food is a chicken, well, some, like myself, see it a bit different, not saying the dog is food and the chicken is pet, but seeing both as possible companions instead of pets or food. Try seeing things a bit different if you think you could be capable of the complicated procedure in order to see things in a different light. Think about this on your next trip to McDonalds.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  2. d

    frustrating. Egg chickens have not had hormones or medicine in the food since the 1950s. Why do people still say it. It's false or a lie.

    July 15, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • FogHorn LegHorn

      I'm a crack addict. Shell we dance?

      July 15, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  3. HolsteinLover!

    Romans 14:1-3: 1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Goober Grape

      Wow. Cherry-picking passages out of the Bible DOES have some advantages. KUTGW.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
      • HolsteinLover!

        Why thank you! :) And spread the word! ;)

        July 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Danee

    What you eat is all about choice. You can choose to eat things grown locally or in season. You can choose to eat meat or not eat meat. You can choose red meat over white. And it’s all about personal choice. No one should push their “beliefs”, ideas or half researched “facts” on other people in hopes that they will make your same choice.

    Unfortunately too many people don’t research all sides of a story. Trusting one source (meat eating or not) is the WORST way to get information about your food. Many published articles are all or nothing and food is not so black and white. Anyone can make the numbers or “facts” or find an example to prove any point. I had a whole class in college about statistics management. Long story short there is a way to prove any point with numbers.

    No meat, no meat it’s cruelty to animals -and- eat more Meat, are not the only two options. Screaming either of these is a waste of time.

    A great example of the many choices can be found in eggs and poultry . Just a few options include conventional, organic, cage free, or colony housing system. There are options in types of eggs, where they come from (California, US, or out of country) and where you buy them from (Whole Food, Raley’s or WinCo). And this is just chickens. Look at the options folks. Choosing what you eat is all about picking what options work best for YOU and, for some, what makes YOU feel best. Pushing what makes you feel best on others doesn’t help others looking for real answers.

    No one is going to say yes I support animal cruelty; I wouldn’t expect that. The problem is most typical farms and ranches are not what make headlines. Check out http://www.knowacaliforniafarmer.com to see real farms and ranches (shameless self promotion I know, sorry I can’t help it’s a great source!) Too often unreal, uncommon and unusual situations are featured to grab people’s attention. These videos and articles that “expose the truth” are exactly the opposite. They are unique cases that rarely happen on conventional farms and are not something the rest of the agriculture community supports or is proud of.

    I am excited that we live in such a great place with many different food choices. Choose wisely and educate yourself on your choices.
    “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility” –Eleanor Roosevelt

    See below for some sources that may help you making choices about your food:

    Happy Chickens:


    Happy Farm Animals:


    Curious Dairy Cows:


    Information about Pork Producers:


    July 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  5. Wakka Wakka

    Question: How can you tell when you are talking to a vegan?

    Answer: Oh, don't worry, they will tell you. Repeatedly.

    July 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  6. Logike

    Biased article much? I love how the farming population is such a tiny percentage of our total population, yet so many non-farmers think they know what they're talking about. I think a lot more people need to leave the farming to the farmers. I have no problem with having concern for where your food comes from or even how the animals are treated, but the media makes all of this so much worse than it really is. And it kills me. I think the US needs to take a big field trip to the farms and ranches that produce their food. And meet some of the health conscious, intelligent people full of integrity that care about their animals and the people (YOU) that eat them.

    July 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Danee

      Very, very, VERY well said! Thank you!

      July 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • The Witty One@Logike

      I actually took a field trip to a working farm when I was younger. It was an interesting experience.

      July 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  7. DarrenP

    What I got from this was that we need to reform the way we raise animals for meat – I didn't really see much of an ethical argument for not eating them. Also, how do I teach my dog to play video games, and where can I try a parrot egg?

    July 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  8. Dannyboy

    Epicmealtime FTW! And kobe beef cows are treated like royalty, they are fed beer, get daily massages and eat organic foods. And they taste delectable with gravy and mashed potatoes, wrapped in bacon.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  9. Name*sara e

    @farmerjean: Animals are more intelligent and have more feeling than you give them credit for. Thank God there are more people in the world who share my love and compassion for all animals. "Love all creatures, great and small, for the Lord created
    us, one and all."

    July 11, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  10. Kim

    If anyone wants to extoll the "intelligence" of chickens, Google "Mike the headless chicken"....a chicken that managed to live for a year and a half with only his rudimentary brain stem and one ear. Yup, super smart!

    July 11, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  11. Danzy

    Having farmed in the past (had to sell) I can tell you this: in our effort to bring down grocery prices (i.e. subsidies) this nation has pushed the small to medium farmer out. What does that mean? That means that instead of the local grocery store buying beef, pork, eggs from my farm, they choose to buy, under contract, from extra large conglomerate farms. The huge farms keep prices down on hens/cattle/hogs which from what they tell me, is what we need. Well, I can tell you that huge farms are the ones that can afford to produce the lower quality meats in quantity all in the name of the dollar. I had 150 head of beef cattle, 50 milkers, and at anytime about 100 pork bellies. I tried so many things to stay afloat...I could never sell enough at the prices I needed too. I was never charging really high prices, maybe $1 – 1.50 more per pound, but folks just wouldn't buy at that price point (strange though that they would pay alot more for some Flax, or even Egg Beaters, but not for quality meats and dairy...), which might I add was just under the break even point. Finally I decided after alot of years to throw in the towel and just go to work doing something else. Wouldn't you know it, I saw a sign on what used to be the "back forty" of my farm, "Summer Pines! Price starting in the $140's". Honestly I'm not upset about it, I am making more money now that I ever have and we are doing well. But instead of the morning latte, big screen TV, or newest phone, we buy our meats locally for about $2-$3 more per pound, as well as eggs and dairy. You should give it a try. Now as far as the vegan angle goes – please do not attach human emotions and/or human qualities to farm animals. They do not have "feelings". They do not sit down and scribble out future plans, or save for college. Look at it this way – let's say for instance we didn't domesticate the cow (this is a small for instance, not a thesis)
    . There would not be as many of them around (pressure for food/resources) and also I don't know if you know this but wild animals do not go about living their lives in relative comfort. There are other animals designed to eat them. Ever watch the Animal Planet when a pack of wolves sets on a deer or bison? THAT's far from humane... Move back to buying locally, and you start to force the collective hand(s) of the larger farms. But, if you can afford to form a retirement farm for cows all the more power to you, I just can't seem to figure out how you're going to stay afloat... My $0.02...

    July 11, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • rightisright

      very well put, and very sorry you lost your farm. I don't know how anyone does it other than the way it's being done now. I support local local producers and businesses every chance I get but the reality is if we don't do things the way the mega-farms are doing it, we will simply end up buying from across the border where they will. Sad really that REAL farmers are a thing of the past when this country was built on their backs.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Mudfoot

    Why do these people write this stuff? It shows complete lack of common sense and knowledge. They make themselves out to be simple dullards. Mental stimulation in chickens????? So, chickens can be intelligent creatures? I'd love to see the studies that back up these embarrassing lies!

    July 11, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Danee

      Bruce how do you suppose we mentally stimulate these chickens? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

      July 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  13. Mudfoot

    Bring on the red meat!!! And fish and fowl!!!!! Thank God for the farms, I wouldn't know how to raise and slaughter my next meal.

    July 11, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  14. Sci

    You lost me in the first paragraph. Is it 9bil or 10bil? If you can't get a statistic straight, why should I believe anything else you say?

    July 11, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Matt

      I read it to mean 9 billion land animals and over 10 billion sea animals.

      July 11, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  15. Buster Bloodvessel

    Why does anyone pay attention to these nuts?

    July 11, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Richard Simmons

      Because you can burn up to 500 calories an hour baiting trolls – especially when they bite!

      July 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Adam

    An animal that is to give up its life for your table should be treated with respect. Period. Decisions are make in executive board rooms to drive profits, and that is where the respect is lost is the name of driving profits. "Respect the Meat!" theres a slogan for you. (Would also make a great t-shirt.)

    July 11, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  17. Jerv

    Great read!

    July 11, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  18. alienmom

    @grease fire,good post,few will read and learn though.perhaps you have gluten issues.As for the grain problem you probably thrive on the caveman diet .You sound educated enough nutritionally to solve your problems.As good as grains are they bother some people.Don't forget the correlation between blood type and diet.

    July 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  19. The Grease Fire

    For many of us who are unable to eat grains because of allergies and intolerance and even blood sugar problems, it is difficult to avoid eating meat especially since your nervous system cannot function properly when starved of animal fats. Once you restrict your diet in such a way, depression can ensue and it may become difficult to function. I have close friends that had done their research and knew what to eat as vegans, yet still lost their hair and felt weak on a daily basis. Of course we need to pass laws to change the way animals are raised, and we should all raise a few of our own livestock, but one cannot expect the human body to be deprived of valuable nutrients. Also, there are many people who suffer from dangerous and potentially deadly seizures who would not survive if they had to eat grains since a diet high in animal fat and protein replenishes the cholesterol needed to keep the nervous system stable (and such carbs raise the blood sugar level hindering the proper absorption of cholesterol causing it to be dumped into the fat cells). These kinds of diets save human lives and allow people to live relatively normally. The purpose of everything living is to die and nourish something or someone else albeit, when possible, we should avoid torturing that gives us life. Certain animals eat insects, certain animals eat plants, certain animals eat other animals, and certain bacteria eat all of the above. I would think that eating the meat coming from an animal that was happy as opposed to stressed out releasing stress hormones into the flesh would be a better choice. Kill swiftly and as painlessly as possible but there is no need to turn farming into an industry. We also need to be aware of the rising global rates of diabetes in countries where pasta, bread and rice are staple.
    Being raised in Italy, I have always enjoyed eating pasta, but also loved to eat fish, lamb, chicken, etc... and luckily I was fed a more varied diet than many Americans. We also often use most of the organs of the animal and by doing so you can feed more people. By eating every single edible part of the animal you make the butchering of such animal more efficient and the best parts are the ones butchers usually throw away in the US. Also, insects seem to be almost completely absent from the American diet even though they are a very sustainable high-protein source of nutrition, and those who grew up on insects gather gleefully around as they are being prepared, especially children. It seems that we have severely limited our diet by making certain sources of food taboo which in the end puts unneeded pressure on the same usual three sources of meat we have been left as choices - beef, chicken and pork. I am now unfortunately unable to eat pasta because they cause anything ranging from severe digestion issues such as painful bloating (to the point I've almost lost consciousness several times) to dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar to yeast infections in the digestive tract. I am very healthy otherwise and do not suffer from any auto-immune diseases, yet every time I cook pasta or make bread and eat it, I suffer dire consequences. The fact that I used to eat a lot of pasta and vegetables in college has pushed me closer to being a diabetic even though I'm thin and was constantly on the move - walking, on my bike, up steep hills and in the hot desert heat. In fact, since I've restricted grains, I no longer have had to deal with chest pain in my lungs (though I have no idea how that is related). It isn't a diet that needs to change, but laws. And also, I'm pretty sure we could all do fine by eating meat a few times a week, and even every other day, as opposed to eating it multiple times a day as many seem to do.

    July 10, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  20. alienmom

    And don't forget the garlic with that lamb,I ripped it out of the ground w/o regard for it's feelings.Yum.

    July 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Kim

      Lamb is delicious!

      July 11, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  21. alienmom

    Imagine if PETA put as much energy and resources into combatting child exploitation and health issues as they do about naming animals and providing gym classes for food stock.Seriously God provided these animals to nourish us.Regurgitating the same tired stories of abusive killing methods is just another scare tactic.It's on CNN for a reason ,where liberals just eat up this nonsense.Recently a PETA member told me of course she wears leather,should they just throw away those hides? Can you say hypocrisy? While in China I learned that if it swims,flies ,walks or crawls it is fair game for the table.There are more small farms now than ever before producing hormone free,antibiotic free animals.Find them and support them.I am also a member of PETA,people eating tasty animals .And yes we should eat dogs,better than having them defecate all over good play areas for children .Remember children? The future of our country.the ones who will pay your SS.Currently "Fuzzy" is racked out on my grill filling my yard with the aroma that only baby rack of lamb can provide.Bon Appetit!

    July 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  22. farmerjeani

    What bothers me the most about PETA is that these people disperse false information about the animals they seek to protect. I agree some chicken production facilities are abominable. I have owned chickens for a large portion of my life.
    Believe be a chicken cannot go insane-they don't have the brain power. They aren't interesting or cute. Although I have never used the practice of cutting off the tips of their beaks, there is a perfectly good reason for this. They will start pecking on an individual and continue to peck it until they have literally eaten it alive. Then they will start on another. There is no 'thinking' involved here. Chickens don't think, they operate on nerve endings which trigger instinct. Chickens will run to food. Period. They don't like you or love and if you were to lie down in their presence they would eat you. I had countless pet chickens growing up. I named them, carried them around, put little strings around their necks to lead them, and not once has a chicken ever returned the least interest or affection for me. My 'pet' rooster spurred a two inch gash in my leg for no reason other than I was in reach. I happen to love chickens. I like to feed them and collect eggs and watch them peck around the yard, but people! They have no brains! Its nice that Peta members want to set all of the animals free, but who will care for them? Are you going to adopt a cow and put it in your city back yard? Or do they suggest that all the cows, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep etc be set free? Who will feed them? Or should we just kill them all and proclaim how humane we are? They are totally off base in their approach. Animals aren't people and they don't have the same feelings you do-ever. Many livestock animals have affection for their owners, but it is based on your usefulness to them. You bring them feed, they love their feed and by association, you. They may enjoy your scratching, your soothing voice, your protection, but your favorite horse will deliver a killing kick for no reason you can fathom, my great grandfather was killed by a bull he raised on a bottle and you have all heard hair raising (but true)tales of some one's pet cat feasting on their body after they died. If you have ever seen your kitty torn to pieces by a dog, or a cat torturing a small animal, you should realize they aren't murderer's, they are animals; they did not have compassion or guilt, they aren't human and they don't suffer from being imprisoned in cages and pens. If they have food, water and shade they are happy. They don't have an imagination to long for freedom. They just want to eat and sleep. ANIMALS, people!

    July 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Mudfoot

      Amen farmerjeani!!!!

      July 11, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  23. paul

    Subtle law of universe u eat animals I will be born animals to be eaten

    July 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  24. abbyful

    PETA is a horrid organization. They are DETRIMENTAL to both human and animal welfare!

    PETA's goal is the extinction of domestic animals and the end of interaction between humans and non-human animals.

    A few things PETA is against (far from a complete list):
    – pets
    – no-kill animal shelters (they want all shelters to be "kill shelters" only!)
    – service dogs for the blind
    – police dogs
    – meat, eggs, honey, and any other animal-product food even if the animals are unharmed (they even want people to make their dogs/cats in vegetarians/vegans!)
    – World Wildlife Fund
    – March of Dimes

    Some suggested reading/watching:

    PETA also prays on children, and tries to use children against their parents. In these comics they gave to kids, they say at the end that the parents are going to kill the family pets:

    I love animals. I am a strong supporter of animal WELFARE, and adamantly against animal rights.

    Animal WELFARE's philosophy is to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. Humans and animals can co-exist. If an animal is going to be killed for food, it should be as quick and painless as possible.

    Animal RIGHTS' philosophy is to end all human-animal interaction. No pets, no service dogs for disabled people, no using or interacting with animals for any reason.

    July 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  25. Dilemma

    If someone from PETA turns into a zombie, what would they eat?

    July 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  26. oldone

    It's amazing what you can do with selective editing. PETA could take pictures of our hens in their nests to "prove" the inhumane treatment. They are packed in so tight, that you can't see the ones buried under the others - much less stretch out their wings.
    They have enough nesting boxes so each hen could be solo - but **they** choose to pile up that way. (and no–it is not weather-related. It can be 30, 110, or somewhere in between- they still pack it in). Oh, yea - they have acres to run around in.

    July 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  27. TokyoBBQ

    as the name says i eat meat. If you don't want to eat meat that is fine with me just don't try to ban it (see Chicago and foie gras) as it is your choice not mine. I love animals grilled, sauteed, smoked, steamed, or even raw.

    Humans are omnivores and are designed to eat meat and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. If you don't believe me just look at our jaw and tooth structure.

    July 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  28. I am vegan

    Until I converted to vegan, I had no idea just how decadent and a delicious a vegan diet is/can be. I regret having eaten animals for so long before converting. I am proud to be able to show true respect for life in what I do everyday, three times a day.

    July 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • ChickenMan

      I take a crap three times a day yet,it's not a religious experience like yours.

      July 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  29. Susan

    Go to your local craigslist. Find a local producer who will sell you the live animal. Go see the conditions under which your animal has lived. Agree on a slaughter house. Go pick up packages. This is ethical, healthy, and not at all difficult.

    July 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  30. noelle

    Having visited numerous farms around the US, the animals that I have seen are very well cared for. The majority of them are on family owned farms. Farmers raise these animals as a passion and a business. The animals are healthy and given love.
    I have also been to the slaughter houses, and you should visit them- every precaution is taken to have these animals stress free. Read up on Temple Grandin and then make your opinion.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  31. magnus

    The fact is that humans do not need to eat animals to survive and thrive. And in fact, it is BAD for their health to do so. This is why cancer stills runs rampant. Humans were meant to live in the Garden of Eden and be plant eaters, humans are not built to eat meat. And the worst thing about eating animals is how they are treated with cruelty and disregard...this shows our real humanity more than other any other demonstration of kindness. Gandhi said that you can judge a society by the way they treat their animals = and you know that serial killers treat animals the worst.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Susan

      It is not bad for your health to eat meat. That is perfectly ridiculous. Eating meat is natural for humans and is how we evolved these brains – despite now that you are using yours to overthink everything and rewrite your biological history.

      July 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • farmerjeani

      Humans have been around for thousands of years, cancer is a fairly new disease. It began to proliferate as the world industrialized. The very chemicals that allowed man to improve farming production and eliminate the natural cycle of plant animal rotations may have been a trigger. If you believe in the garden of Eden, then you must also believe in God. God instructed the people to eat the flesh of animals. You can't have it both ways.

      July 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  32. kat b canada

    I believe that all animals should be raised in a cruel free environment and be killed in as humane a manner as is possible. I raise chickens for eggs as well as for meat, I also raise a large vegetable garden and fruit trees and shrubs. I try to buy responsibly raised and slaughtered pork and beef. It takes a lot of work to raise the food for my household. I think more people should raise some of their own food, a vegetable garden or even a patio pot with tomatoes or other vegetables in it. Perhaps then they would understand the effort that needs to be put into feeding themselves.

    Not all farmland is suitable to raise vegetables and fruit. These crops require huge investments in irrigation and are labour intensive. Some land is only suitable for grazing by animals, it can't be farmed for grain or vegetable production. People need to look around themselves and come to the realization that the earth is populated by animals and people and we need to ensure that everyone and every animal has the right to live as cruel-free life as possible. People are going to eat animals as we are supposed to, our bodies are made to do so. We do need to think about how the food gets to our table though.

    July 10, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  33. Catherine K

    I used to eat meat, wear fur and scoff at animal rights folks. Then, by accident or was it providence, I witnessed how farmed animals were living and then being killed for their body parts, I became accutely aware that the bird on it's way to slaughter was a living breathing being and not just a thing. That was the day I said "no" to the colassal & merciless buchery called the meat industry. I atopped eating animals.
    My first concern was the suffering of animals but as a bonus I also experienced great leaps in energy, my skin began to glow and I lost those nagging pounds. I can't tell you how good it is to not only loose flab but to experience life that is not so self absorbed. I spend far less on groceries and eat more interesting meals than the boring meat, potatoes and vegetables that I grew up on.
    My hope for anyone is to try to leave the animal off your plate for even one day a week to start.You'll make a difference..

    July 10, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • Michael

      Good luck with making that choice, it is a personal one. If you feel that has made you healthier, then kudos.

      owever, who would care for all the animals left off the dinner plate? What financial reason would tyson or any other meat processing company have to support animals tha are not being harvested? Are you willing to adopt a few cows or chickens, as it is most likely that these companies will either euthanize or abandon these animals en masse to avoid the cost of raising them.

      Also, do you have anyidea howmuch farmland would need to be added to the planet in order to make up for the lost animal food supplies? In all effects, all the planet would need to be converted, where do we put the animals then?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  34. Skill

    I've got a question for PETA. If they care sooooo much about "farm" animals and compare chicken and cows to dogs and cats, why dose your organization euthanize OVER 2/3rds of the dogs and cats you "rescue"?

    July 10, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  35. omnivore

    Should we torture animals, treat them poorly, and kill them for fun? NO.

    However, perhaps PETA should remember that even animals eat other animals. Should we make the rest of the world's animals go vegetarian/vegan too? Or do wild animals, for example, have the right to eat what they want? If we respect the natural food chain, perhaps we should respect the fact that humans, being the smartest, are at the top.

    P.S. the whole being-vegan-is-healthy thing is not necessarily right, as is personally made evident by the fact that every time I go for long periods of time trying to eat other forms of protein instead of meat, my stomach feels like it is about to explode and I am hungrier. Also, there are people with allergies (such as my brother) to basically every non-animal form of protein. Everything in moderation seems healthier to me. I know it feels healthier.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  36. Michael Mallon

    The federal government are the last people you should enlist to protect you from dangerous food, or protect animals from abuse at the hands of their owners. This is an issue better addressed at the state and local level.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  37. Clevon

    I don't understand what gives vegans the right to torture helpless plants. Shouldn't plants be allowed to roam free? Shouldn't plants be allowed to reproduce without having their lives cut short? Plants give us beauty, help cheer us up, and give us something to care about and nurture. Don't plants have a right to live a full and productive life just like animals?

    July 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  38. Michael

    I think that it was rather uninformed and very shortsighted. One, if Americans and person around the world switched to vegan as PETA (admitted terrorist organization) wanted, there is no way the Earth could support half the population of humans, let alone the seven billion we currently have. How does PETA suggest we cure that problem. Then again some the rhetoric PETA is known for, I can guess that if they starved PETA would not care one iota. To meet those needs, or even come close we would have to turn nearly every inch of land into farmland. That does not bode well for what forests or areas for wild animals we have left.

    Also, I would pose this question, what would happen to the animals (cows, chickens other animals of such that PETA wishes to make into citizens)? Do you think that Tyson or King Cattle Ranch would continue to feed these animals at a loss or just let them die? I doubt they would pay for one ounce of grain or vet bills on them.

    Does PETA have even a single viable solution for starvation of humans? Lets face it, as omnivores we kill both plants and animals for our sustenance. There is no excuse for cruelty to the animals we do slaughter, that is criminal. But ask yourself this, which would you rather see, responsible farming of animals or starvation on level that would cost the planet billions of people.

    July 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  39. Vegetarian

    It's simple: if you have any issues with the way an animal is raised, transported or slaughtered, do not eat it. Do not knowingly purchase it's byproducts (it's nearly impossible to avoid all animal products, as they are used in soaps, cosmetics, medications, and on and on and on). If you don't care about how living, sentient creatures are treated, you need to examine your values, in my opinion...but don't trash the good people who do care and are trying to do something about it.

    July 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  40. MeetMeDon'tEatMe

    Love to see this kind of story on CNN, keep it coming!

    July 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  41. observer

    Every vegan I know is a retard. Case closed.

    July 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Jim

      Wow... intelligence at its finest.

      July 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  42. Pablo

    This is nonsense. Animals are treated better in the US than anywhere else in the planet.

    I have worked on farms, butchared animals and hunted, and animals are treated more humanely than many humans get treated on this planet. We were careful how we slaughtered the animals and frankly, in my state it requires about 12-24 hours of hunter safety classes and trainging to hunt. Hunters are responsible and CARE about nature. MOST of us donate money to habitat programs. We read about wildlife and are aware of it.

    We KNOW that all species in an ecosystem are important not just the game species and our magazines even discuss this.

    We are part of the environement and frankly the Earth is going to be a MANAGED Planet.

    There really are NO wild places left that are NOT impacted by humans or at least impacted by our visits or even overflight or pollution.

    The Humane Society of America is gradually becoming an radical Animal Rights organization. People are omnivores and we NEED to eat animals of all kinds.

    We also need to be good stewards of the envirnonment and wildlife.

    It is unrealistic to think we won't eat animals. Death is NOT pleasent. But animals eat animals and so do we!

    Humans are NOT herbevores. It is not our natural state.

    July 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • MeetMeDon'tEatMe

      Pablo... I've heard all of your arguements before, none of them honestly work logically. We are Omnivores... and we also have this thing called Choice. We could do a lot of things physically that we shouldn't because they are not in line with our true values. We are decades behind many other countries when it comes to animal welfare, you obviously are not informed in this area. Most other countries won't buy our meat exports because our animal ag industry is basically self-regulated and disgusting. Hunting is usually more humane than paying other people to torture and kill animals via factory farms which is where 98% of food animals come from.... but it's still killing an innocent animal that has a will to live and life worth living. Might doesn't make right. There is no fundamental difference between us, our dogs, a deer, or a pig... food/companion/wild/entertainment are man-made categories. Just be honest, you eat meat because maybe you don't want people to look at you weird or make fun of you but probably because you LIKE the taste of meat. You eat meat to make yourself happy or comfortable or both and everything else is a justification so that you can go on living in your bubble. I used to say the same exact things you are... less than two years ago.... but I realized I was wrong. My husband used to hunt and now he's a vegan because he couldn't come up with a good explanation as to why he loved our dogs but killed other animals for sport.

      July 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  43. RJStewartIII

    I find it ironic how the former VP of PETA wants to tell us about how interesting the animals we use for food are once you get to know them, when there is no effort to get to know the pets that are euthanized at PETA headquarters. That's right, PETA euthanizes most (90%+ per annum) pets that are dropped off to them at their headquarters in VA than adopt them out. I wonder how much time was taken to get to know these animals before they were put down.

    July 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
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