Everyday, more and more people are making the choice to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Vegans abstain from partaking in all animal products, including honey and dairy products. Vegans do not use goose down, silk, wool or leather. The American Vegan Society (AVS) says that vegan is describing a lifestyle that avoids all forms of animal life, not just a diet (Krizmaniac 8). The definition of a true vegetarian is a person who does not eat any meat products or gelatin, but does eat dairy products (Krizmaniac 6).
People who choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle may have several reasons for making that choice, including animal rights and health reasons.
One of the two most common reasons people choose to be vegan or vegetarian is due to harsh living conditions, mistreatment and slaughter of animals on industrial farms. Factory farmed animals are giving many types of hormones to reproduce more, grow larger and faster. As for cows, many people believe it does not hurt them to be milked; however it is unprofitable to keep a cow once its milk production declines. Therefore, dairy consumption leads directly to slaughter. By using these hormones, cows on industrial farms are forced to produce 8.
2 tons of milk per year, whereas a normal cow would produce 3.5 tons of milk per year, naturally (Vegan Outreach 4). As for birds on farms, they are the most overcrowded. They are kept in cages stacked one on top of the other, so that the feces falls from the top to the cage below. Since they are kept in wire cares and cannot move, it is common to find the skin of their toes frowns around the wire bottom (Vegan Outreach 4). Also, to get the hens to reproduce more often, they are starved for eighteen days and kept in the dark to shock them into another egg laying cycle, which causes about ten percent to die (Vegan Outreach 4).
The average hen should produce about seventy eggs a year, but on industrial farms, the count has been up to tow-hundred and seventy-five per year (Vegan Outreach 4). And because they have been manipulated to lay such large eggs, the hens uterus is often expelled along with the egg. Pigs are also extremely crowded, living on hard floors, commonly covered with feces and vomit. Because of this confinement, pigs become aggressive and will fight and bite each other so the farmers have to cut off their tails and castrate them. However, farmers find this as an unnecessary expense and dont bother to use anesthesia.
The second of the two of the most popular reasons for being vegan or vegetarian is health related reasons.
Meat eating is linked to many types of cancers such as colon, breast, prostate, cervical, lung, uterus and ovarian because the heterocylic amines found in meat (Teisler 1). Plus, people who consume animal products are ten times more susceptible to cancer. In addition, men who eat meat are at a 3.6 times greater risk of prostate cancer and women who eat meat and dairy are at a 3.8 times greater risk of breast cancer (How To..
2). According to A Teens Guide To Going Vegetarian, America is too fat. And fat contributes to heart disease, hypertension, liver disorder, cancer and other diseases (62). According to Pamela Teisler, heart disease accounts for nearly fifty percent of all the deaths in the United States making it the number one cause in the world (1). Dairy products contain a lot of cholesterol, which builds up on arteries, restricting blood flow to the heart and results in heart attacks (Teisler 1).
Regardless of whatever a persons reasons for these eating habits may be, they do not necessarily want to change their entire lifestyle.
As a vegetarian, I still want to go out to dinner with my family and friends, but so many times I find myself with little or no choices and I am sure that other come across this problem daily. Some restaurants have become more vegetarian friendly, such as TGIFridays and Ruby Tuesday both carry veggie burgers and Tripps sales vegetable wraps. However none of these nation wide establishments offer any items .