Monday, July 05, 2010

Way we eat

(Photo from Animals Australia)
A vast majority of Animal Rights Activists fight against typical attrocities towards animals like Using animals for research, Using animal fur for clothing, Using animals in circus etc... But the reality is that all of these measure very little when compared to the enormous amount of Animals killed for human consumption as meat/fish/eggs etc... The matters become far worst and horrifying when you find out how these animals are breed & raised in factory farms which provides an overwhelming majority of animal food for the world. All these done for the sake of creating efficiencies and making the cost of meat lower and lower.

The famous Australian professor Peter Singer and his American friend from a traditional farmer family Jim Mason has authored an amazing book 'The Way We Eat - Why our food choices matter" on the same subject. Importantly they put down some practical steps you can take to make a change. This is specially applicable if you live in the developed world which is the culprit for this inhumane and unsustainable act of cruelty to our fellow earth beings fir te

I will just put down some numbers I found while reading the book. I was astonished while reading the book and continue to be so while referring some other materials. I suggest you read it as well.

1. Amount of meat the world eat
The developed world has increased its meat consumption by a few folds during the past 50 years.

40 Million - Maximum number of birds and mammals killed for research each year within USA
2 Days - Number of days it takes for America's slaughterhouses to kill 40 million animals (See how trivial the impact of research compared to factory farming of animals when it comes to killings)
10 Billion - Total number of birds and mammals killed only in USA each year for human consumption

2. Cheap food and the hidden costs.
The industry has innovative techniques of producing cheap animal products to feed more meat to more people. But the hidden costs are beared by the innocent animals, environment and workers.

99% - Percentage of factory farmed chicken out of total sold chicken in USA
A4 Sheet - Total living area of a market sized chicken
120 - Number of chicken processed (killed) per minute in a typical process line (How can they handle them with care with such speeds)
22 - Number of chickens that is scalded alive per minute in a typical chicken process line
90,000 - Number of chicken a slaughter have to kill each shift in a typical chicken factory farm

3. Is seafood any better
One natural step out of meat is to go for fish. But fish is not far behind when it comes to inhumane treatments.

27 million Tons - Weight of by-catch (Sea creatures caught unintentionally while catching other fish) trashed each year
0.5 million - Number of Norwegian farmed salmon escaping each year from
14:1 - By-catch proportion of shrimp farming in Thailand

Although not so obivious our food choices are as ethical a problem as other choices like marraige, work, sex life, stealing etc... When choosing food it's not just ones personal health that matters, we have to think how it impacts on other beings as well. And most of the time that external impact is quite severe.

For people who can not find time to read a book, have a look at this video clip (pretty old one) narrated by Sir Alec Baldwin.
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