Intro to Veganism
Every year in the U.S., more than 25 billion animals are slaughtered for food. Raising animals on factory farms is cruel and ecologically devastating. Eating animals is bad for our health, leading directly to many diseases and illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Animals on factory farms are treated like machines. Within days of birth, for example, chickens have their beaks seared off with a hot blade. Male cows and pigs are castrated without painkillers. All of these animals spend their brief lives in crowded and ammonia-filled conditions, many of them so cramped that they can't even turn around or spread a wing. Many do not get a breath of fresh air until they are prodded and crammed onto trucks for a nightmarish ride to the slaughterhouse, often through weather extremes and always without food or water. The animals are hung upside down and their throats are sliced open, often while they're fully conscious.
For the environment
Today's factory farms use everything but the "moo," "cluck," and "oink" — but in the process, they leave behind an environmental devastation that generations to come will be forced to clean up. Raising animals for food requires more than half the water used in the United States and is the biggest polluter of our water and topsoil. Coyotes and other animals are poisoned and shot by western cattle ranchers who consider federal land to be their land for grazing. Our country's meat addiction is slowly poisoning and depleting our land, water, and air.
… And for YOU!
The only two researchers in human history who have successfully reversed heart disease, by far America's biggest killer, have included an exclusively vegetarian diet as a part of their programs. On the Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn programs, patients become "heart attack proof" (to quote Dr. Esselstyn, in the August 1999 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology) by getting their cholesterol levels to below 150 (the average vegan cholesterol level is 128), the level below which no one has ever been documented as having died from a heart attack. And people who consume animal products are also 40 percent more susceptible to cancer, and at increased risk for many other illnesses, including stroke, obesity, appendicitis, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, and food poisoning. Additionally, meat contains accumulations of pesticides and other chemicals up to 14 times more concentrated than those in plant foods.
Click here to read PETA's fact sheets on the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Click here for a longer essay, "Veganism in a Nutshell," which delves more deeply into each of these topics.
What you can do
Meat stinks for the animals, the Earth, and your health. Make the compassionate, environmentally sound, and healthful choice — go vegetarian! Download our leaflets, videos, photos, and factsheets, and give them to your friends, relatives, and the public (including any reporters you feel might be interested). Check out our "Resource for Activists" for more tips. If you can't download the information you want, you can order copies through the PETA literature catalog.