[Inquirer.net - opinion]
I’M not as daring as those sexy sirens wearing lettuce (and only lettuce) while advocating vegetarianism. Nor am I as extreme as those dye-dousers preying on fur-clad supermodels. You won’t even see me hugging centuries-old trees in defiance of chainsaw-lugging loggers.
But what I do, and have been espousing for over a decade now, probably takes as much guts as those much-publicized environmental stunts. That’s because I, an average Filipino citizen making ends meet on an average urban salary, have taken the dietary course less taken. ...
Once and for all and for the record, I henceforth convey this answer: I have become a vegetarian to help end the following:
1. Animal genocide, or the endless cycle of violence and pain inflicted by humans upon millions, even billions, of cruelly treated livestock. Spend just one minute inside a slaughterhouse during a killing spree, and try not to flinch as you hear pigs crying in fear and pain. Try and look at a dying cow’s eyes, and it’s impossible not to see terror in their final gasps for breath. Pity the chickens: after being crammed mercilessly into wire mesh transports, their beaks are cut off just before their throats are slit. Utter heartlessness.
“On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other confinement systems. These animals will never get to feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter,” Bruce Friedrich writes in his “Top Ten Reasons to go Vegetarian.”
2. Animal revenge. There is a reason doctors ask us to go easy on meat when we’re diagnosed with chronic lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. When you gorge yourself on animal products, there’s no telling what chemical cocktails come with it.
3. Poverty on a global scale. Yes, believe it or not, as more humans eat more flesh, more humans will actually be the poorer for it. Food experts have observed that the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry. About one third of the world’s total grain harvest is fed to cattle and other livestock, while as many as a billion people suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition, according to Jeremy Rifkin in his book “Beyond Beef,” quoting data from the United States Department of Agriculture and the World Bank.
“Every time you eat a hamburger, you are having a relationship with thousands of people you never met. Not just people at the supermarket or fast food restaurant but possibly World Bank officials in
Washington DC, and peasants from Central and South America. And many of these people are hungry. The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock-food for the well-off, while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation...”