God Does Not Eat Meat
By Arthur Poletti
From All-Creatures
Book Archive

God Does Not Eat Meat

Chapter Seven: Before We Knew We Really Cared

“Today’s presentation, ‘Disease, Cruelty, and Death to Animals Prior to 2008, is based on information obtained from reference materials concerning the plight of animals mostly from 1850 until and through 2007. A desire to end that abominable cruelty to animals was the main reason so many humans adopted a vegetarian diet.

“For many years just about every living species of animal was used in grisly, torturous laboratory experiments. Healthy animals were often used like live pin cushions, causing great pain and suffering, and their bodies were often ripped apart during a variety of different experiments.

“Tests ranged from injecting animals with every kind of drug, even cocaine and heroin, to the painful and often deadly procedures of inserting electrical probes into every orifice of the animal’s bodies.

Testing the effects of chemicals caused many animals to go blind or deaf, or to suffer from chemical burns to their skin, leading to a horrible, painful death.

“In most factory-farms a percentage of the animals became sick or crippled. The industry called them ‘downers.’ Federal laws did not protect them. Downers were dealt with in the most convenient way.

Veterinary care was not wasted on them. If unable to walk, a downer was often dragged by chains or pushed with a tractor or forklift to slaughter. Some of these animals were left to starve or freeze to death.

“The Humane Slaughter Act that existed until 2008 required that animals be rendered unconscious with one swift application of a stunning device before slaughter. In reality that requirement was often not adhered to.

“Conveyor lines were pushed to breakneck speeds, frequently causing cattle, pigs, horses, and sheep to be shackled and throats slit without first being stunned. Animals were often skinned, boiled, and butchered alive.

“Most dairy cows lived with unnaturally swelled and sensitive udders, and most were never allowed out of their stalls. They were milked up to three times a day and kept pregnant nearly all of their abbreviated lives.

A female cow’s young were taken from her almost immediately after birth. The sole purpose for the cow’s life was to be bred, fed, medicated, inseminated, and manipulated to achieve maximum milk production at minimum cost.

“A male calf experienced even harsher measures. If he was not immediately slaughtered, a newborn calf was likely taken to a veal factory. There he was locked up in a stall and chained by his neck to prevent him from turning around for his entire life. Sounds like fun. He was fed a special diet without iron or roughage. Then he was injected with antibiotics and hormones to keep him alive and to make him grow.

He was kept in darkness except for feeding time. The result was a grown animal with flesh as tender and milky white as a newborn’s.

“Bulls that were castrated were much easier to handle than those who were not. Their meat was also more marketable. There were three castration methods, two of which shut off the blood supply so that the testicles either were reabsorbed into the animal’s body or simply fell away after a couple of weeks. In a third method, the scrotum was cut so that the testicles could be pulled out. Anesthesia was rarely given before any of these procedures, and sometimes operations were botched. The cruel procedures caused unnecessary pain and suffering and to often resulted in premature death.

“Animal agriculture routinely mutilated farm animals for its own convenience. Debeaking, branding, castration, ear notching, wing and comb removal, dehorning, teeth clipping and tail and toe docking were ever present tasks on farms and ranches. Not by veterinarians, but ranch and farm hands, who learned on the job how to perform the surgeries and procedures using restraint only, no anesthesia.

“Factory hens were forced to live in rows of cages stacked four high, by the thousands. Each hen was confined to about 48 square inches of space. After months of confinement, necks would be covered with blisters; wings bare, combs bloody, feet torn, and eyes and ears infected.

“When these hens became what the industry referred to as ‘spent,’ producers would truck the mutilated birds, often long distances, to slaughter. Or they would gas them, or grind them up while still alive, to be used as feed for the next flock. Most other birds were then hung on conveyor belts, terrified and screaming, as they began their journey through the final stages of their lives, including a low-voltage stunning and a throat-slitting. Nearly all commercial chickens died during bleed-out after a circular blade severed their necks. Poultry workers, who typically made the same movement up to twenty thousand times a day, suffered repetitive stress disorders at sixteen times the national average.

“Egg producers considered male chicks a liability. Chick sexers would divert them for expedient deaths. Humane methods were not required by any law. Most often, the little ones, chirping wildly for their mothers, were dumped into trash bins to die by crushing, suffocation, starvation, or exposure.

“Imagine the joy most families experienced on Thanksgiving, digging into the delicious dead flesh of a turkey. What the eager meat eaters did not realize or necessarily care about was that most of the turkeys were selectively bred for the kill. Their overgrown, huge breasts made it impossible for them to accomplish the sex act on their own, so the industry had to artificially inseminate them.

“The job was nearly as dehumanizing for the workers as it was for the tortured breeder birds that were essentially raped once or twice a week for twelve to sixteen months until the pleasant procedure of slaughter. How was that for kindness, especially so most Americans could properly celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving. Happy holiday!!

“To produce foie gras, male ducks were force-fed six to seven pounds of grain three times a day with an air-driven feeder tube. The torturous process went on for twenty-eight days until the ducks’ livers, from which the pate was made, bloated to six to twelve times their normal size. About 10 per cent of the ducks did not make it to slaughter. They died when their stomachs burst.

“In nature, swine avoid filth and will trek and root over 9 miles in a night. Before 2008 most factory internment provided a breeding sow cold straw less floors, noxious filth, deafening noise, and a space barely bigger than her body. The highly intelligent creature was often driven insane as she endured repeated pregnancies via artificial insemination. Her body was pinned in place to expose her teats to her piglets. When her productive capacity declined she was sent to a slaughterhouse.

“In 1995, massive pork operations in North Carolina created twenty-five hundred open cesspools of hog manure. That summer, university studies estimated that half of the cesspools were leaking contaminants into the groundwater. In the same summer at least five cesspool lagoons broke open, letting loose tens of millions of gallons of hog urine and feces into rivers and onto neighboring farmland.

“As hog feces and urine collected in giant cesspools around factory-farms, the sludge was broken down naturally by bacterial digestion. Hazardous nitrogen was eliminated, but in the process it was converted into ammonia gas. Every time it rained, excess phosphorous and nitrogen from the animals’ urine and feces seeped into the waterways, causing algae blooms to spread. With subsequent rainfalls, the ammonia was returned to the earth, polluting rivers and streams. No mechanical method of retrieval existed to clean the contaminants; only nature could purify the land again. As a matter of fact, nature’s cleanup is probably still going on today in 2065.

“During this same period, waste from livestock in the United States amounted to 130 times the waste produced by people. Large amounts of animal feces and urine, which should have been categorized as hazardous industrial waste because of the bacteria, wormy parasites, and viruses they carried, continually ended up leaking into groundwater across the country.

“The slaughterhouse was the final stop for animals raised for their flesh. Animals were transported to their place of death in all weather conditions. When it was brutally cold, animals often would freeze right to the sides of trucks or become frozen in the urine and feces that would build up on truck floors. In hot weather heat stress killed many.

“It is hard to imagine the pain and terror described by those who witnessed what went on daily in any of the hundreds of slaughterhouses in the United States and other countries. Even worse, the workers inside also had to participate in the crimes of mayhem and murder. They were not on the job for long. Of all the occupations in the United States, slaughterhouse workers had the highest turnover rate, plus the highest rate of on-the-job-injury.

“People who had any type of contact with slaughterhouses could not help but be affected by what they saw and heard. Neighbors living nearby experienced the terrified, angry screams of the animals being led to slaughter. A major part of the horror inside a factory-farm was the noise. Hog factory workers often wore ear protection to ward off the sounds of squealing animals banging against their metal cages

“Often in the ghastly slaughterhouse, drains and sewers were backed up with guts and coagulated blood. Too often the pools that developed came up to workers’ ankles. The muck often splashed up onto the animals, spreading contamination. Sometimes dismembered heads from the shackled animals were dragged through urine, feces, and blood. Employees were often kicked or bitten by struggling animals that were not properly stunned, and there were many incidents of workers being crushed by animals falling off the line.

“From 1990 to 2000, nearly all of the roughly eight billion animals slaughtered yearly for food in the United States were the product of swift-moving assembly-line systems incorporating dangerous methods of efficiency. Animal farms had been allowed to grow into a grim corporate monstrosity, the scale of which is hard to believe or even comprehend.

“Unknown by most Americans, slaughterhouses processed enormous numbers of animals each year. In the United States in the year 2000, over 650,000 animals were killed for meat every hour. The average American consumed in a seventy-two-year lifetime approximately 11 cattle, 3 lambs and sheep, 23 hogs, 45 turkeys, 1100 chickens, and 862 pounds of fish! Bon appetite!”

Brad set his notes aside and looked up at the students in the classroom. He noticed how quiet and still everyone was, and the many grim facial expressions. He paused for a few additional moments then continued.

“Starting in 2003 it was reported that every day on average 600 people in the United States died so suddenly from cardiac arrest that they did not even make it to the hospital. Of the victims, 90 per cent had two or more arteries narrowed by hardening of the arteries, a disease inexorably linked to a meat-based diet.

“Every year, on average, each meat-eating American became sick and approximately nine thousand people died from something they ate. That something was probably of animal origin.

“In 1982 hamburger sickness or E. coli poisoning was rare. By 2002 up to 5 percent of cows harbored the deadly bug. Every year as many as twenty thousand Americans got sick from E. coli contamination and nearly five hundred died from it. Milder symptoms ranged from diarrhea and abdominal cramps to destruction of red blood cells. Those who survived a serious bout could still become blind; suffer from seizures, kidney failure, or paralysis; or need to have some or all of their bowels removed.

“Merely one to ten microbes of E. coli in a hamburger could kill a child. It was up to consumers to neutralize pathogens with cooking. Two types of bacteria, campylobacter and salmonella, accounted for 80 percent of food-borne illnesses and 75 percent of the nine thousand deaths that occurred from meat and poultry yearly from 1994 to 2008. One hamburger could contain the meat of a hundred different cows from several different countries. One infected animal could contaminate sixteen tons of beef.

“Once the majority of meat-eating people in the world were convinced that every animal deserved the right to live, and also realized to a large degree that meat consumption included the risk of major health hazards, laws were finally enacted to protect all animal life. Then we began to prove as a nation that we could survive perfectly well and consume much healthier food without killing animals. I would like to leave you with one last thought. Let me recite another Hindu scripture written by Jnaneshvari that I first heard when I was a young boy and that I think of often.

He who experiences the whole of creation as his very own self, who sees everything around him as the limbs of his own body, although he appears like an ordinary man to others, I consider him to be truly blessed. Strive to experience this sense of unity with all things, to feel yourself in the universe and the universe in you. I’m telling you again and again: There is no greater experience than the awareness of oneness.”

Brad slowly moved away from the podium and walked out of the room. 

Go on to Chapter Eight: Stop Hunting - Start Protecting
Return to God Does Not Eat Meat

The author obtained Copyright Certificate of Registration March 23, 2004

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