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Teach Children to Love & Respect Animals

I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. Agriculture was an important part of the livelihood of the people of this region, especially with the presence of the Amish community and others who supported their farms and businesses. My father was one who supported the Amish community through offering his butchering services as well as his land for farming wheat and corn.

As a child, I witnessed the slaughter of many farm and wild animals, and I was told a myriad of untruths to help me reconcile what I witnessed, what I was being served at the dinner table and what my place was as a human being on the “food chain”. The excuse that had the most “staying” power for me was the idea that animals were not able to feel pain. Yes, this did make me feel better as a child, but it was a lie, a lie that perpetuated my passive acceptance of violence toward animals in the name of generating an agricultural economy for farmers.

Eventually, as I entered young adulthood, and my mind allowed me to begin to question my parents’ understanding of things, I realized that animals felt just as much pain as I did. It was this realization that set me on the course toward veganism, but it was a long road full of misunderstandings and lies perpetuated by people wracked with their own guilt for sacrificing a cow, to gain a few minutes of sensory pleasure, while they play fetch with their beloved family dog.

Every day, I hear things like:

“You look pale and weak!”

“Vegans are killing the soil!” (yes, that is an actual argument floating around the internet)

“Your body needs animal proteins to function properly!” …and the like.

While all of these things are easy talking points for those looking to disparage me for being vegan, I am vegan for one specific reason: I don’t want to kill another living creature. End of story. I couldn’t care less about your false argument over plant protein versus animal protein, or the absolutely insane “soil health” argument, but I would like to debunk that tin-foil hat theory anyway.

Let us review the argument from the “anti-vegan” troupe. Most articles that I have read claim that land used for growing crops for human consumption takes away land used for grazing cattle. Grazing cattle, and other animals used for meat consumption, create a cycle of biodiversity that enriches the soil. The anti-vegan stance is that removing these animals from the land creates soil that is totally “dead” and unable to grow crops.

For more information on this stance, check out this article:

The issue with this argument, that no one seems to take into consideration, is that 80% of the WORLD’s agricultural land is used to grow feed for the animals we eat. No cattle graze these lands, most do not use animal waste as fertilizer for these lands, and the USA leads the world in feed production for animals we eat:

Also, farmers have always had to deal with the issue of soil viability, which is why they rotate their crops when planting…another conveniently overlooked fact by the anti-vegan groups.

I will never compromise my belief that animals have just as much of a right to life as I do. In fact, we need animals for our planet to survive. We should teach children the truth about these ideas so that we have a viable planet for them in the future. Teaching your children the truth is one thing, but lying to them to feel better about your choices is a completely different form of teaching.


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