If you’re Vegetarian, you aren’t Vegetarian.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 8, 2012
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The blog that finally turned me vegan, 2.5 years ago? After 9 years of being vegetarian.

“Virtually all hens in commercial egg operations—whether cage or cage-free—come from hatcheries that kill all male chicks shortly after hatching. The males are of no use to the egg industry because they don’t lay eggs and aren’t bred to grow as large or as rapidly as chickens used in the meat industry. Common methods of killing male chicks include suffocation, gassing and grinding. Hundreds of millions of male chicks are killed at hatcheries each year in the United States.”


When we drink milk, we’re killing cows. When we eat eggs, we’re killing chicks.

If you eat eggs, watch the Video. If you don’t, spare yourself.

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Wherever eggs come from, this is what happens to all the male chicks (since they can’t lay eggs).

This is why I became vegan: Greg and others impressed upon me that eating dairy is the same thing, though better (less impact in terms of factory farming, killing) than eating meat.

“Male chicks are of no use to the egg industry,so they are either suffocated in garbage bags with waste, or shoveled together by the hundreds and conveyed into a grinder to be torn apart while still alive.”

Same with cows: thus, the veal industry. If you drink milk, your supply is demanding the killing cows.

“There is, unfortunately, no way to breed eggs that only produce female hens,” said spokesman Head. “If someone has a need for 200 million male chicks, we’re happy to provide them to anyone who wants them. But we can find no market, no need.”

[Different breeds of chickens that are used for eggs and meat. ~ ed.]

Via Reddit:

They’re also put in carbon dioxide chambers. Saw that on a Jamie Oliver special.

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Text from the video at top:

“Thrown, dropped, mutilated, and ground-up alive. This is the disturbing reality faced by hundreds of thousands of chicks each day at the world’s largest egg-laying breed hatchery Hy-Line International in Spencer, Iowa.

New hidden camera footage obtained at this facility during a http://www.MercyForAnimals.org undercover investigation gives a disturbing glimpse into the cruel and industrialized reality of modern hatcheries.

The warm, comforting, and protective wings of these newly hatched chicks’ mothers have been replaced with massive machines, quickly moving conveyor belts, harsh handling, and distressing noise. These young animals are sorted, discarded, and handled like mere cogs in a machine.

For the nearly 150,000 male chicks who hatch every 24 hours at this Hy-Line facility, their lives begin and end the same day. Grabbed by their fragile wings by workers known as “sexers,” who separate males from females, these young animals are callously thrown into chutes and hauled away to their deaths. They are destined to die on day one because they cannot produce eggs and do not grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat. Their lives are cut short when they are dropped into a grinding machine tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator.

Over 21 million male chicks meet their fate this way each year at this facility.

For the surviving females, this is the beginning of a life of cruelty and confinement at the hands of the egg industry. Before even leaving the hatchery they will be snapped by their heads into a spinning debeaker a portion of their sensitive beaks removed by a laser. Workers toss and rummage through them before they are placed 100 per crowded box and shipped across the country.

The callous disregard for animal welfare at this facility is not isolated. In fact, the conditions documented during this investigation are completely standard and acceptable within the commercial egg industry. Referred to by Hy-Line corporate leaders as mere “genetic products,” these chicks are treated just as they are viewed as inanimate objects, rather than the sentient creatures they are.

Driven by consumer demand, the egg industry will continue to exploit, abuse, and kill day-old animals as long as doing so remains profitable. Empowered consumers can put their ethics on the table by choosing kindness over cruelty at each meal by adopting an animal-friendly vegan diet.”


Some comments via Facebook:

Kristi Glaze word.

Timothy Hanley Vegans are pretentious and bad for our farmlands.

Ben Harper alarming video. but, if you are a meat eater, the fact that animals die in the process of producing food, is not really a deal breaker, ya know?

Scott Ely It’s time to render your own meat. Easier said than done, I know.

Vicky Allen Gomez Great- Thanks for sharing such important info! I encourage EVERYONE to watch: “FROM FARM TO FRIDGE” (12 mins “glimpse” into animal agriculture & why a plant-based diet is the most compassionate way to go). “EARTHLINGS” (90 mins) is a step further & fantastic documentary. BOTH are on You Tube. BOTH are serious game changers.

Kathy Wnuk You don’t have to be vegan (and vegans are not pretentious, btw) is to get a few backyard chickens and purchase meat locally if you must eat meat. Most meat eaters don’t want to know how their factory farmed chicken/eggs/beef is processed. And most don’t care, as long as the price doesn’t go up. So, sadly, they won’t purchase from a local, organic, humane farm, but from Walmart. I have a few chickens – I purchased them for $2 each, and raised them carefully making sure that they remained healthy. Right now they’re in my yard jumping up and picking blueberries off the bushes. The eggs are amazing, the chickens are happy.

Kathy Wnuk Thanks, Vicky – and don’t forget Food Inc., and excellent documentary with a companion book. http://www.facebook.com/Foodinc
Food Inc
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food indus…See More
Page: 493,889 like this

Tom Frascone I love that self-labeled vegans think they’re not harming animals because of their selective lifestyle. Those who preach about their own righteousness while also shunning others for their personal choices are nothing but hypocrites.

The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to live any sort of modern lifestyle without using animal products in some way shape or form, even if you don’t know you’re using them. e.g. Ride in a car? Cars aren’t vegan. Live in a house? Houses aren’t vegan. Use a computer? Computers aren’t vegan. All of these things use natural and synthetic polymers and materials, many of which come from animals in some way (or were treated/processed using animal products). e.g. http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-everyday-products-you-didnt-know-had-animal-ingredients.html

Please keep your “vegan” lifestyle choices to yourself – the same way you probably expect religious people to keep their religious choices to themselves – and we’ll keep our non-vegan lifestyle choice to ourselves. No one is forcing you to eat hamburgers, please stop telling me how to live my life. lol
9 Everyday Products You Didn’t Know Had Animal Ingredients

If you thought that by quitting meat or at least going weekday vegetarian you were doing your part to avoid the horrors of factory farming,

Vicky Allen Gomez PLS WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzrRmB40l00
From Farm To Fridge
c’est pour ça on mange que du Halal…

Matt Jisa Veganism REDUCES animal suffering and that is the goal: LESS animal suffering. Vegans are used to heartless, defensive, and irrational comments made by people like Ben Harper and Tom Frascone on this comment thread. We are undeterred. The truth is there is NO down side to being vegan. Every single person on this comment thread would love being vegan.

Vicky Allen Gomez Exactly, Matt. Thank you. Precisely. The GOAL is to lessen global suffering for ALL sentient beings. It’s about bridging the connection & interdependence of all sentient beings. Going Vegan & becoming more aware of what I purchase in regards to ALL products, not just food, has made me happier as well as more compassionate & mindful in my daily choices. And in these very dark times that we all live in, there’s nothing wrong with being a bit more kind to one another & to ALL inhabitants on Earth.

Kristin Otten I think saying that “every single person on this comment thread would love being vegan” is a sweeping overgeneralization. I believe in vegan/vegetarian/omnivore unity! And I was vegan for a year – a well-researched vegan who did all the “right” things. I ended up with many health problems and had to start eating meat (local! organic! humanely raised!). It was difficult but my body thanks me for it. I made the switch after the recommendation of several alternative health care providers encouraged me to do so. I care so deeply about animals still and I had to decide that I am the most important animal in my life, which was a very important realization. I am still aware, compassionate, and mindful about my choices. Isn’t there room for all of us? I don’t “knock” vegans and I don’t appreciate being criticized for my way of eating. I call for unity on all fronts! We are all working hard to do our best.

Helen Stutchbury I agree with Kristin – awareness is the answer, not more boxes to put people in or judge them for. I also agree with LESS animal products, but that is the inevitable result of raising awareness. There is not a one size fits all answer to anything, except this: loving kindness to ALL beings, regardless of what they eat.

Vicky Allen Gomez ‎@ Kristin Otten- Yes, we are all trying to do our best with what we are individually given. But there is nothing “humane” about killing an animal. Period. Free-Range chickens aren’t in battery cages but they are still jammed packed in windowless, dirty & huge sheds, living with broken limbs & infections, etc. The same goes for meat of all kinds that are “organic”. They may be feed organic feed, not feed with GMO’s (70% of ALL American food is genetically modified to suit industry NOT health [except “certified organic”] ) but they are ALL processed by the same slaughterhouses & produces the same amount of CO2 gases, etc. It goes a step further by WATCHING: “MEAT THE TRUTH” on You Tube (environmental effects of meat eating & production) AND “FORKS OVER KNIVES” (health repercussions of eating meat). Yes, we will all choose our own path. Just offering more info & options in order to make critical decisions on how we want to live.

Laira Fonner i love compassionate people!!! yeah!

Kristin Otten Yup! @Vicky – I have watched them. :) I was a very informed vegan and very passionate too. Take good care!

Lisa Lentil ‎”I don’t feel superior because I’m vegan… the truth is, I’m vegan because I don’t feel superior to anyone”! (Michelle McOwen) Vegan For Life!!! (((♥)))

elephantjournal.com Matt, I’m Vegan—my point is sharing this essential info is precisely what inspired me to change from a 9 year vegetarian to vegan. And perfection isn’t the goal, and vegans aren’t all pretentious, that’s silly generalization!

Now read the blog, commenters!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


65 Responses to “If you’re Vegetarian, you aren’t Vegetarian.”

  1. manorama says:

    wow. that is horrible. glad i'm already vegan. I've thought I might eat eggs again if I had my own chickens, but the thought of what happens to all the male babies is awful.

  2. danceswithchihuahuas says:

    Speaking as a veterinary technician for the last 8 years, this is completely biased and Reading carefully between the lines sees where this "article" twists words and focuses on practices frequently used – and accepted – on chickens used as pets.

    For example, debeaking is done to prevent injury when chickens are placed together with limited space. The fact that it's done with a laser is more time consuming and less painful than just cutting them short, which they could do – just as legally, I might add – or by grinding them down.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Debeaking, just as declawing, can be incredibly painful—and is done solely because we're putting animals in such packed confines that they'd go crazy with aggression and fighting.

    • jaimie says:

      & why, exactly, is it o.k. to shove them together into such tight spaces as to "necessitate" chopping off part of their faces in the first place?!

    • traudy says:

      Oh, so are you saying that makes it's ok?….I feel your missing the point completely!

  3. danceswithchihuahuas says:

    "Sensitive beaks" – I've never heard such a ridiculous phrase. That's like saying sensitive fingernails. The only thing that's sensitive is the nerve inside, if they're cut too short. I've lost count of the number of beaks I've trimmed for pets under the supervision of a veterinarian – using a dremmel, not a laser that, in theory, would instantly cauterize the nerve.

    This is not to say there aren't uncaring or unacceptable practices; it's truly a tragedy that there's nowhere for these male chickens to go and that they are discarded as they are. But as long as there is as strong a need and market for them as there is as produce and the males are not profitable, conditions similar to these -will- exist.

    tl;dr Extreme animal activists are crazy, and PETA activists are batshit insane.

    • __MikeG__ says:

      The practice of debeaking on a factory farm is completely different than trimming a beak in a veterinary office. Because you do not understand the difference between a factory farm and a veterinary office your post is nothing more than a failure of logic.

      I see that you rely on name calling. Absolutely pathetic. People with nothing of value to say usually rely on ad hominem attacks.

    • Lynn B says:

      There is a HUGE difference between trimming a bird's beak in a vet office (in which in most cases a loving pet owner is being responsible and ensuring the procedure be done with out pain and done correctly) and factory farm de-beaking or "trimming"…go visit a farm sanctuary and you will see the residual effects…chickens and turkeys who can barely feed themselves due to this practice. And puleeze…don't tell me that your vet has never cut a dog's nails too short and drawn blood, causing pain. And that happens to people who actually CARE about the animals…__And as stated earlier…it says more about the over population and confined spaces that their beaks need to be trimmed in the first place. I really encourage you to go and see for yourself…and then tell me that these chickens don't have it so bad. For god's sake their feet often grow into the wire flooring because they can't move freely. __P.S. I see nothing Extreme or batshit crazy about expecting all beings to be treated with dignity and to live a painfree life (however long or short it may be).

  4. LibertyLover says:

    Why can't we still eat eggs and dairy if they come from quality sources? Local organic farms that care for their cows and chickens. It's as important to support these alternatives as it is to stop eating from dairy/egg factories. Just my two cents.

    • elephantjournal says:

      I asked that same question of my vegan friends when I was veggie. And yes, I agree, local and mindful sources are far better. Still, even with local, the male chicks and cows via the dairy industry are getting killed.

      • Diana says:

        Not if they are your own chickens. I raise 2 beautiful backyard chickens that give my family just enough eggs. Besides my understanding is that it is almost impossible to sex them at birth. Where I live the roosters often end up wild. Although I do know some people keep them for fighting roosters. I don't agree with that either. Wild is fine with me.

  5. So because I'm not doing enough for you, should I just stop doing anything?
    Why bash the people who care for not doing enough? Shouldn't you encourage the people who aren't doing anythign?

    • elephantjournal says:

      I love the middle way. The middle way, however, in this case, does include the killing of baby chicks. Knoledge and awareness is a good thing—are you afraid of it?

      If no, then this post should be welcome by all who eat, whatever our chosen diet.

      In any case, avoiding factory farmed meat is vital—I realize most of the world will not be vegan any time soon, and am fine with that—it's not up to me!

  6. Danielle says:

    you guys are all fantastically missing the point. lets just shove u in a cage with 20 other humans for the rest of your life. oh , but dont forget, if your male were going to ground u up alive. have fun.!

    Ahh but wait, no, lets concentrate on specific details like.. if the beak has nerve endings or not. forget about everything else. as long as the beak doesnt have nerve endings , everything's fine.

    grow up and have some compassion.

  7. veganfaery says:

    Before you attack the article, ask yourself: "Do I really need dairy and eggs in my diet?"
    Are you really opposed to what this article is saying or is it more that the article forces you to question what you consume and makes you feel defensive? We are the only species that consume another animal's milk- milk that is meant for a baby cow with four stomachs. Cow's milk isn't designed for human consumption. Eggs are loaded with cholesterol and fat. So why cause unnecessary suffering if you don't have to? Change is a good thing. Ditch the dairy!

    • Kira says:

      I beg to differ. I am following an ayurvedic diet and several people benefit from dairy. I say go with quality sources. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. If you can follow a vegan diet, great, but one diet isn't good for everyone, and never will be. Tolerance is a virtue.

  8. kim amlong says:

    Please Go Vegan Today: For Yourself, For the Environment, For the Billions of Tortured, murdered Animals:

    If people want more information on the importance of this issue:

    1. "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism" Slideshow by Dr. Melanie Joy. Please watch this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vWbV9FPo_Q

    2. Please watch: "THE WORLD PEACE DIET," AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. WILL TUTTLE and Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb-NzViPGnk&fe….

    3. Please have the courage to face the cruelty and suffering we perpetuate everyday with every dollar we spend by watching this informative video. Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.documentarywire.com/earthlings

    4. Please watch this beautiful video to better understand how the sentient, beautiful animals we share the plant with need and deserve our love and protection. Please Ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today! http://documentaryheaven.com/the-emotional-world-….

    5. “Today One Billion people are Hungry, 20 Million People will Die from Malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% could feed 100 million people and Eliminating Meat will End Starvation Forever.” Philip Wollen: Animals Should Be Off The Menu. Please Watch This and Ask Wanderlust to Take Meat off the Menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc&fe….

    6. Animal Agriculture is the number one Cause of Global warming. Watch this 5 minute video to learn the facts and Please Ask Wanderlust to take meat off the menu today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed…!

  9. kim amlong says:

    If people want more information on the importance of this issue:

    7. Please Read this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu Today!!
    "A PLATE OF AHIMSA PLEASE", by Bob Linden, GO VEGAN RADIO WITH BOB LINDEN http://www.goveganradio.com/filecontent/1079f_bob….

    8. Please take the time to be informed and help Wanderlust become the world's Greenest, most Conscious Festival. Watch Gary Yourofsky’s speech and Ask Wanderlust take meat off the menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIkC4OJEx3c&an….

    9. Please read this: The Ethics of Yoga and Veganism. Please ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu!! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/the-ethics….

    10. Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Michael Greger, M.D., offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers.
    Watch This and Ask Wanderlust to Take Meat off the Menu Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ&fe….

    11. I grew up in Montana a couple of miles from Howard Lyman's ranch. He is a great speaker and said "…I came from Montana. I would rather be caught riding a stolen horse than admitting to somebody that I was thinking about becoming a vegetarian." Please watch this and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the Menu today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCMWctmCCqU&fe….


    Care2 Earth Month: Back to Basics. http://www.care2.com/causes/save-the-planet-eat-l….

  10. kim amlong says:

    More videos to support Going Vegan:

    1. Watch The Peaceable Kingdom and then Ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at least Vegetarian. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1-oruwhSOM&fe….

    2. The strongest men in the world don’t eat meat. Watch these incredible Shaolin Monks and ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the menu Today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZwmluSn_T0&fe….

    3. Watch Paul McCartney’s “Glass Walls”. Then ask Wanderlust to take Meat off the menu today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTifP6idBPs&fe….

    4. Watch: Animal Protein–Meat and Dairy–Cause Cancer. Then ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at least Vegetarian Today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsT-qYeqGM&fe….

    5. Watch this great fact-filled speech: Conscious Eating Conference: Crocodile Tears and then Ask Wanderlust to Go Cruelty-Free or at Least Vegetarian Today !http://www.vegantalk.com/videos/1063-vasile-stanescu/video/204-conscious-eating-conference-crocodile-tears?groupid=0

  11. Edward Staskus says:

    Since you are clearly on the path to Jainism, you will undoubtedly in the near future begin respecting the views of others and accept multiple points-of-view about what is and is not acceptable to eat. Even though I do not eat animals, there is something about vegans writing about veganism that is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Humph. Sorry to disappoint. I'm not sharing my opinion, here, just simply that if you or I are vegetarian, our consumption of dairy still directly results in the killing of baby boy animals. See above.

      And thanks for using your real name—that's too rare.


      Waylon Lewis

    • karlsaliter says:

      Edward, are you confusing reporting facts with disrespecting? Sometimes the highest form of respect is to offer a challenge, don't you think? Views are mutable, and in this conversation, acceptance must allow for enslavement and killing. That is not opinion.

      If the resonance of these words changes some minds, the noise is worth making, cringes and all.

      I had to be told that milk contains pus from udder infection: there is a whole gross universe in dairy production, knowledge of which stops consumers in their tracks. People are compassionate: learning where our food comes from has impact.

      • Edward Staskus says:

        I agree that killing is killing. It is not an opinion. That is largely what led me to become a vegetarian. However, 97 percent of everybody eat animals, and 99.5 percent of everybody eat eggs and use dairy, cheese, milk, that kind of thing. I do not agree that painting them in broad swaths of killer red is the way to convince them to reconsider their eating choices. You and I both drive cars and live in the USA and use crazy amounts of energy to maintain our lifestyles. We are killing the earth. But, to frame the discourse that way may not be the best way to get us or most people to change. People do things that are in their own best interests. Calling them killers is not going to convince them to change, at least I do not think it will.

        • ann says:

          not sure about those figures…but i do see your point…i've written on EJ about veganism, but it's a really touchy and difficult subject – talking with anyone about how and what they eat (me included!) is the quickest way to get them on the defensive. get them on the defensive and that means by default, they're not on your side! and it's not gonna be any easier to get them there! so it's a conundrum…because vegetarians and vegans have a very important message, a message that comes from deep within their hearts, minds and souls…but that message is too often interpreted (correctly or otherwise) as holier-than-thou, patronising, and self-righteous! so, so tricky. full disclosure: i'm an ethical vegan of 15 years and a vegetarian of 20, and while i don't think the world's gonna go vegan tomorrow, i think we could do a lot better than we're doing right now to bring people to our side (i'm talking to you here, PETA)…

  12. Zoe Rei says:

    I think it is really important to allow people to tune into their body and decide for themselves what their body needs. Years ago I slowly became a vegetarian and when I did it totally it was because of a dream I had and it was just what my body needed. The eggs and cheese I consume come from local organic places where the animals are treated kindly. I.e. my neighbor has chickens in her backyard and that's where I go for eggs. Now, I never thought of it before but now I see that you're right, there isn't a huge need for a lot of roosters. I also suppose that in the case of my neighbor she isn't breeding so there aren't any little chicks period but those chickens did come from somewhere. But I digress. The point I want to make is that I'm vegetarian because my body needs me to be and I think that it should be okay for people to eat organic, free range, local meat, that may or may not be a product of my not being vegan. Some people's bodies simply need it in order to function. Now, I want to be clear, I do not support what is done to animals in the mass general industry. I support local sustainable farmers who treat the earth, animals, vegetables and minerals with care. If people are to change their diet, it really needs to come from a need from their body or else there is going to be a lot of cranky people not practicing ahimsa because they're not getting everything they need to function. Whatever we take in, whether that is vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat, air, ect. we should be grateful for it, Honor It and how it came to be before you and use the energy that has been given to you in the form of food to do greater good in the world.

    • elephantjournal says:

      I feel like you didn't read/watch the video above. Local organic places, as you say, still result in the killing of male chicks and male cows. Are they better? Much. Free range—truly free range, with outdoor access and reasonable living conditions—is to me the most important thing all of us can support, animal rights wise, right now, whether we're veggie or meat-eating.

  13. Marianne says:

    This is good information people need to know but I also cringe at statments around how people need to become vegan because it would be better for their overall health. I was a very well-educated vegan for over two years and, from all outward appearances, I was thriving. In fact, by most common health checks (blood work, blood pressure, etc), I was extremely healthy, with the exception of my hormones. No matter what I did, from multiple rounds of acupuncture, chinese medicene, herbs, or synthetic hormones, nothing changed.

    At the recommendation of multiple alternative practioners and traditional medical doctors, I added eggs and dairy back to my diet. This was a very challenging decision to make but our own health must come first and foremost. Within three months of adding small amounts of animal protein, my hormones regulated.

    I share this because there is no one size fits all in life, diet or otherwise. As several people have already stated, if someone makes choices that are based upon knowledge and gratitude for their own health, the land, and animals, and employs moderation, they should not have to face criticism for their decisions.

    • elephantjournal says:

      I don't think people should become vegan? Why? Because it doesn't matter what I think about your diet. It's your diet.

      That said, it is my job to share information, things I find challenging, relevant, or inspiring

  14. Melissa Parker says:

    I think the point is to be AWARE of where your dollars are going, be it to a factory farm or a sweatshop in China. LISTEN to other people's opinions or knowledge, even if you don't like what you hear and then make concsious, informed, ethical decisions. Perhaps you are not ready for a vegan diet but EVERYONE can reduce their animal product consumption. EVERYONE can buy secondhand goods over new. Don't get a new phone/car/computer/shoes/etc unless you truly need to. Treat others as you'd want to be treated. Smile at strangers. Commit random acts of kindness. Imagine the world we can create!

  15. Auki says:

    If you want to be an egg-eating milk-drinking vegetarian without killing animals there's a practical way: Keep a couple of backyard hens and a Nubian goat you can milk. Problem solved! 🙂

    • elephantjournal says:

      I asked about that when I was trying to find some ethical logic for continuing to be vegetarian. Personally, and you and others can of course make other decisions, I considered that since backyard hens are still sourced from chicken farms so the male chicks are still killed, I didn't want to be a part of that. That said, yes, backyard hens are awesome. Problem unsolved 🙁

  16. elephantjournal says:

    eather Minsky Nottingham
    The definition of vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat and sometimes other animal products for moral, religious, or health reasons. A person could be doing it strictly for their health and it could have nothing to do with animal cru
    elty. So if you are a vegetarian, you are still a vegetarian. Myself, I do it for both health and animal reasons and recently became a vegan, but I will admit I am not perfect. I think people need to find their own reasons for why they choose to do something and not because they feel bad. If everyone does what they can it all makes a difference!
    8 hours ago · Like · 3
    elephantjournal.com Heather, my definition of being a vegetarian, as a nine year vegetarian, was not killing animals for food or pleasure or any reason. Learning the above killed (pun intended) that logic for me. I'm fine with folks eating meat or no, but the above must be known: when we're vegetarian, we're still directly causing the killing of male chicks and male cows. Directly.

  17. guest says:

    the problem is that vegans tend to be overzealous in their proselytizer. And the ones who aren't are avoiding calling themselves vegans. maybe we need a term for compassionate vegans who don't try to convince everyone else.

    • ann says:

      problem is, if you're an ethical vegan, you can sit back and watch the world continue to eat the way they want, but you do so constantly aware of the suffering unnecessarily caused by the actions of those around you. it's tantamount to being angry with environmentalists for telling us how to conserve energy, or with children's rights activists for exposing the wrong-doings of child abusers and neglectors. i maintain that most people get annoyed with vegans because they don't like being told what and how to eat – why exactly this has become such a sensitive issue for all of us could take up volumes. incidentally, as an ethical vegan of 15 years and vegetarian of 20, i find your position a little bit overgeneralizing…

  18. juliahelenrice0110 says:

    Wait – this makes no sense. Why would male chicks be produced from egg production? The eggs we eat are unhatched – we're eating the potential chick, it had no time to gestate or grow. In the USA we don't eat cooked chicks in eggs, we eat the un-gestated egg. No chicks are produced from egg production, they're eaten before they're produced. Vegetarians should have no qualms with eating eggs from local, free range sources: a female hen lays one egg every 26 hours or so when she's in full swing and few of those eggs turn into chickens or roosters. They either rot, get smashed, or eaten. Raising chickens for meat would produce male chicks – but vegetarians aren't eating chicken meat so why post this?

    • perlite1 says:

      Julia, I think they are speaking of the production of the chickens who will produce the eggs. Male chicks who hatch out from that group are considered chaff. And it is horrible. 🙁

    • Guest says:

      The eggs we eat aren't just unhatched, they're unfertilized. There's no potential chicks in there.

  19. perlite1 says:

    Look, I get the point. I've gotten the point for years. I'm sick to death of being told, as implied by the title of this article, that the efforts I make daily to avoid cruelty are for naught. I do what I can. I do eat eggs. They are from chickens I've actually seen myself that roam and forage. Don't imply that the only chicken eggs on the planet are from factories. Yes, I know there's no way to function in this society without some cruelty occurring. But the fact that I do what I can has merit and I'm sick of being told I may as well begin eating supermarket crap again.

  20. karlsaliter says:

    Perlite1, did you read the article? Sounds like you might be reading below the lines.

  21. Angela says:

    Humans are a part of the food web, which means that organisms (plants, fungi, animals, etc.) must die if we are to live. And agriculture is inherently a violent act, whether one is vegetarian or vegan. Many organisms die in the production of any root crop and the tilling of the soil used to prepare fields that grow vegetables. As a former organic vegetable farmer, I would feel remorse every time I observed an earthworm that that had been torn in half when we harvested our fall leeks. (This was by hand with digging forks, mind you. No large-scale harvesting machines involved.) My feeling is that less violence occurs when food (vegetables or animal-based) is grown on a smaller scale and growers/eaters have some degree of relationship with their food before it becomes food. So growing one's own food or supporting local farmers who farm in a way that is kind to the land and the food that they grow is, in my opinion, the most ideal way of eating nonviolently, whether one is a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore.

    • kim amlong says:

      The best we can do to cause the least amount of harm since we do have to eat to remain in this physical form is to follow a vegan diet.
      Everyone who is not a vegan, please watch this video: Farm To Fridge–The Truth Behind Meat Production. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THIODWTqx5E Please understand and face up to the fact that you are responsible for perpetuating this horrendous cruelty and suffering. Supporting this violence perpetuates the violence in our society. Please don't turn your head and ignore the Animal holocaust that could be ended in a nanosecond if everyone would wake up. Don't be offended by the term Animal Holocaust. Issac Bashevis Singer recognized it as such. "In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought." — Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel Prize 1978

  22. […] As baby chicks gather at the feet of one whom, with outstretched and loving hand scatters seeds, so do your own children gather in a cheap plastic booth & eagerly devour the pulverized remains of baby chicks. […]

  23. […] something such as veganism, or vegetarianism, or any kind of ‘ism’ when one integrates it into ones life without […]

  24. […] sunlight. No fresh air. Enclosed in darkness to plump up in an insanely artificial way. That’s the reality for most chickens being farmed today. And if the farmers under contract with the Big Boys do not agree to raise their livestock that way, […]

  25. Aurelie says:

    It would be beautiful if we could all live eating only fruits and vegetables but we are not designed this way. So many vegans end up getting really sick.. I was a once a vegetarian who ended up vegan for the same reasons as you. I ended up so sick although i was researching heaps and trying to eat all the right things. Now I look and observe traditional societies, none of them were vegans. One of the rare vegetarian people on the planet, in India, eat tones of raw dairy product and cook everything in plenty of clarified butter.Why do you think the cow is sacred to them? There is a reason for this. Traditions were build over thousands of years and have so much wisdom. WHy not support traditional farming method instead of rejecting everything in a block? i understand your disgust towards the industrialisation of food (and everything else) but going vegan is not a long term solution and is not health wise. Go and tell native americans they are not wise. Tell the indians they are not wise. tell the massai he is not wise. tell the beduin he is not wise. People have been eating animals and their products for a very long time remaining respectful to them and the environment and still being highly spiritual. thats what we should aim for. The natural ecology, the natural food chain, the world is all about death and being born again. Don't live in fear, embrace your nature as a human but respect the world.

    • Cassie says:

      As a nurse I see people who are very ill, sick and dying every day from diseases related to Meat & dairy, I have yet to see a person sick or die from being a vegan. Please watch Forks Over Knives for a better understanding of the health benefits of going vegan. You can also read The China Study for more info.

      • Aurelie says:

        Hello Cassie, i have watched fork over knifes which is based on the China study. I really do not think very highly if this book, which is really bad science. The people you see in hospital might be sick from very different reasons. The main ones in industrial societies being : eating processed food (vegetarian or not), living stressful and unnatural lives and being exposed to toxic chemicals. Certainly not because they ate meat or other animal products. Most traditional societies did eat meat and did not get any of the degenerative diseases modern people get. I highly respect vegetarian people and i was myself vegetarian for a long time and also vegan for a shorter time. I used to have the same emotions and opinions on meat eating and also dairy etc.( I worked on dairy farms). But now i really do think that it is more productive to support small scale ethical farming methods as opposed to reject the all lot. Humans have been living in harmony with nature while eating animals for a very long time. We can do this again. Peace

  26. Susan says:

    I wish vegans would see themselves as diplomats slowly leading folks closer to their point of view without expecting meat eaters to go full on vegan asap. It's just not reasonable and does not do much good in the name of progress towards a healthier planet and a more compassionate consumer. It's a process to change eating and cultural habits that have been lifelong ingrained in oneself. The process can take years, but one may never begin the journey if turned off by what I see as sometimes verbally abusive tactics. I know meat eaters on this thread and everywhere participate in verbal abuse too, but I think the burden to rise above it, will always be the responsibility of those who are truly in the right. Although I do not eat an entirely veggie diet, I try & I know we can clean up our planet and our conscious if we were all to adopt a more animal free diet. Vegans, to me are so passionate, so smart, so well informed, but miss the mark on being diplomatic. I love the idea in this article and thread, of doing better, not doing perfect; it must be applied in all parts of our lives, why would it be any different with food? I think if vegans could represent the middle ground better in the belief that many who meet them there would finally cross over, this transformation that is so necessary to our society, would happen much more quickly.

  27. Bholenath says:

    Indian yogic diet are vegetarian, Ayurvedic as well. Rishis who founded yoga as spiritual tradition dont thought that consuming milk products are violation of Ahimsa. Of cource, its not about mass-killing food industry of vodern world. Its horrible and i`m pity that founders of American yoga festivals, as Wanderlast or Bhaktifest serving meet food to people. I think because their main goal is not yoga or bhakti but $$$.
    But i`m suprising, why in such vegetarian vs vegan discussions most of people ignore an idea of ethical farming, like Aurelie mention in previous post? Hare Krishna people doing this from 70s, a lot of Hindu farmers in India doing this – its possible to take diary from well treated cows who will not be killed after. And its completely according traditional yogic, vedic and ayurvedic approach to diet. So why not to promote idea of eco and ethical farming?

  28. Bholenath says:

    And somebody compared vegans point of view with Jainism conception of Ahimsa here. But Jain people in India are not vegans. Actually no one traditional or religious vegan society in the World, only in over-produced Western countries. Of course its good to fight with this horrible food industry, especially in country which have probably more food than any other country in the World. Much more than population actually need. But some people according to their prakriti (ayurvedic constitution) could not be vegans without health problems. (if you are pure vata dosha for example). Also for traditional yogic practice on the level of advanced pranayamas pure raw milk and ghee are very useful products (look at Hatha Yoga Pradipika). So i think its better not only fight against killing industry, but promote positive desicions as ethical farming as well. Make reports about Hare Krishna cow farms for example and publish them in Elephant. Show people different points of view – not only duality of straight vegan vs meat eater 🙂

  29. @dicooley says:

    it's interesting how defensive people get about this issue. (Why the anger and vitriol towards vegans?). Eat what you want but be informed. If you see this and you have no problem with it, fine. Personally, I am glad that I saw this because it has informed me and enlightened me. Some of you people sound like you're NRA card holder and Obama is coming for your guns. No one is trying to take your food away from you.

  30. Jennifer says:

    what do you suppose they would do with these chicks male and female if not used for eggs or food? Just keep allowing them to reproduce until the world is over ran by chickens? Doubtful/ Another thing, these are laying hens do you really think they are hatching 21 million chicks a year? Every chick that hatches is an egg that can't be sold.

  31. Lauren says:

    Veganism is not necessarily the answer, though it's fine if that's what you want to do. Instead of shunning all animal products, like eggs and milk, why not simply STOP giving your milk and egg money to the industrial farms and track down a small-scale family farm to support in your neighborhood? This, in my mind, is a far more powerful form of activism. Instead of choosing a lifestyle that is 'against' the factory farms, why not instead make a positive choice 'FOR' the small-scale, sustainable farm?

    I produce both eggs and dairy on my farm. My goats create awesome raw milk for drinking, cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc. They like their job, as evidenced by the fact that they wrestle each other to be first in line every morning to go to the milking stand. Also, we don't kill and eat their babies! Our mama goats raise their little ones from day one, while also giving us milk every day. In fact, they have the intelligence and sensitivity to know how to manage this situation! In the morning, they graciously give me a certain amount of milk, and withhold the rest for their little ones to eat immediately after milking time. It is quite amazing!

    And regarding egg production, I know of no small-scale farms that make a practice of grinding up male chicks. Rather, most folks keep a flock of laying hens for egg production, and every few years, simply purchase a few more hens to supplement the flock and keep the eggs coming. Often, roosters are sold to homes that desire one for breeding purposes. We keep a rooster because he gives us fertile eggs for our hens to hatch, and he also protects our girls very well from predators. He is the tender of the flock!

    The real problem lies in the assembly-line, factory animal systems. I agree, there is no place in this world for that paradigm. It needs to go. But please, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you truly want to see humane treatment for animals, support the people who are doing it right. Don't just campaign against the bad guys!

  32. Jenn says:

    The comments from bholenath and aurelie are spot on, respectful, and have produced the most knowledge on this page (including the article). I just want to say there is a big difference in the videos shown here and my neighbor with his backyard chickens. I am sorry that Waylon and others here do not see the difference perhaps it is you blinded by your own light. Big industry farming is disgusting in most of all they do and grouping everybody who eats meat with them is a cheap unresearched lame thought especially when the title makes your readers think this article is about you (like really I thought this was going to be a personal one not an agenda) but really it’s about how bad those of us who eat locally sources loved and cared for meat are and how we should change. Well I am glad you are vegan and I am not. Balance is a beautiful thing.
    * o yes and don’t think I didn’t notice that elephantjournal did not have a reply for the most thoughtful and intelligent comments on this post.

  33. zensor says:

    does anybody care about the well being of plants/vegetables? is the animal kingdom superior to the plant kingdom? so much about cruelty towards animals, what about plant cruelty? as pointed by a few, the real problem resides on the industry itself, either of animals or plants… is it healthier to gmo lettuce to free-range chicken? im just throwing my peeble into the pond. I am on a continuous search on how to find a balanced diet that can sustain me and the environment. I have no hopes for a perfect world, for a perfect diet or even a perfect society, for all is in constant change. However, awareness is important and any kind of extremism is dangerous, either vegetarian or not.

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