One Person’s Reasons for Not Eating Meat


Photo Credit/Pigsels

Michelle Glennon, Contributing Staff Writer

Respecting different opinions about the diet one chooses isn’t just good manners; it makes sense. Reasonable people – all with a good conscience – come to different conclusions regarding diet, but here are my reasons for not eating meat.

Over 95% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Factory farms are industrial operations that produce mass amounts of meat by focusing on profit and efficiency over animal welfare. Animals are often confined indoors, with very little space, and are fed an unnatural diet. Some are forced to live without doing the things that are natural and important to them, such as roaming in a field, breathing fresh air, or building a nest.

When I was 14, an inner reasoning became very clear to me, and the choice to stop eating meat was obvious. I believe that all sentient beings have the right not to be treated as a means. I also believe that the practices of the meat industry do not follow this principle.

As various studies have shown, farm animals are sentient. This means that they have the capacity to be aware of different states of being, and they feel sensations such as suffering and pleasure. Ph.D Mark Berkoff states that pigs are capable of affectionate bonds with people, just as a dog may have with a human. Also, cows show signs of pain and sadness when they are treated violently.

Berkhoff says, “I’m frankly astounded that this data and many other findings about animal cognition and animal emotions have been ignored by those who decide on regulations about the use and abuse of other animals.”

Although one may expect U.S. laws to protect farm animals, regulations do not prevent them from being subjected to cruelty.

There are only two federal laws regarding factory farms, and neither of them apply to poultry. One requires animals transported across state lines for slaughter to be unloaded every 28 hours for food and water, but it is weakened by lack of enforcement and low fines. The other requires that livestock be made insensible to pain before being slaughtered. Among individual states, only 12 have passed laws to banish extreme measures of confinement.

As Paul McCartney says, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

From a young age, we are given an inaccurate representation of farming. Our early perception is influenced by the lush green pastures and the red barns that we see in storybooks, and the reality of factory farming remains unseen or unconsidered. Some may argue that the animals would die anyway, so we may as well make use of their remains. However, farm animals are bred by the mass, and nearly 25 million are slaughtered each day in the United States.

There are other sources of protein and nourishment available to humans, and it is not necessary to rely on an industry with such dire effects. If we decrease the demand for meat from factory farms, farmers will be more likely to eventually change or end cruel procedures. Many people have the choice to remove meat from their collective diet, but they do not realize making this choice can truly save animals from suffering. We have the choice to stop eating meat, and we can use it to have an impact on the cruel practices of the meat industry.