WHAT DOES "CAGE FREE," "FREE- RANGE" + "ORGANIC" EVEN MEAN?

THE "CAGE FREE" BULL-CRAP

 

Rather than tell consumers their meat and eggs came from concentrated feeding operations where thousands of animals were housed in cramped, unsanitary conditions – marketers capitalize on the “positive” and label these product as being fed and “all vegetarian diet.” This creates the illusion that animal welfare was actually given ample thought and consideration … making the consumer feel like they’re making an informed choice and picking a high-quality product. The same often occurs in the case of the “cage-free” and “free-range” label for chickens and eggs. Sadly, the difference between what this label implies and what it actually means, seems to have consumers incredibly confused.

- www.onegreenplanet.org

In recent years, the campaign to replace the usual battery-farmed eggs with a ‘guilt-free’ version has gained extreme popularity. 

But unfortunately, just when we thought the dairy industry couldn't get any worse, they created a label so convincing, that we the consumer felt comfortable continuing to buy these tortured animal products. Turns out their animal friendly label aren't actually "friendly" at all. This industry began promoting supposedly ‘humane’ meat/dairy products to deceive many people into believing that these labels indicated improved conditions for the animals. However, it has become increasingly obvious that these labels are part of a carefully-planned public rep and advertising strategy - Which has completely whitewashed the animal cruelty that is continuing to be carried out each day. We must educate ourselves so that we are not influenced or swayed by the corrupt ideals of these big business corporations. 

In hundreds of investigations, labels that declare animal products to be "animal-friendly" have been shown to be nothing but a farce. The lives these animals are living is far from humane.  I have taken this excerpt from PETA.comand attached it below.

"“The reality? Millions of young hens standing shoulder to shoulder in huge enclosed warehouses, forced to dwell day and night in their own waste, enduring air so foul that workers sometimes wear gas masks to prevent permanent damage to their lungs. Just like their battery-caged sisters, ‘cage-free’ hens are brutally debeaked, force molted (starved for [up to 14] days to restart an egg laying cycle), and, of course, slaughtered when they are no longer of use. Or, as one investigator discovered, if no buyer can be found for their ravaged bodies, they might just be packed into steel drums and gassed, the piles of their lifeless remains sent to a landfill or used as compost.”

Not only are most of these hens killed at the same slaughterhouses as battery hens, but what many people are also not aware of is that ‘cage-free’ and ‘free-range’ hens are generally purchased from the same hatcheries. Half of the chicks born in these hatcheries, being male, and therefore useless to the industry, are considered a waste product of the layer-hen business. These male (and some female) chicks are killed in unimaginably cruel ways, including being ground up alive or suffocated.

In addition, debeaking (an extremely painful procedure routinely performed without anesthetic), is permitted under regulations that cover all of the following egg classifications:

American Humane Certified, Certified Humane Raised and Handled, USDA Certified Organic, United Egg Producers Certified, ‘Pasture Raised’, ‘Vegetarian-Fed’, ‘Cage-Free’, ‘Free-Range’, ‘Free-Roaming’, and ‘Naturally-Nested’.

As long as the increasing human population continues to demand animal products, eggs, just like dairy and meat, no matter how they are labeled, will be obtained from animals crowded together in intensive confinement and subjected to gross welfare and rights violations, including horrific mutilation and mass slaughter.

What about small-scale ‘backyard’ farming situations?

As explained by Christine Wells in the article What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?

“As we look more closely at the reality of the backyard chicken trend, it becomes increasingly clear that it is the same commodification of animals, packaged in niche marketing to appeal to the modern ‘conscious consumer’.”

Thankfully, there are now plenty of truly cruelty-free alternatives. Whether you use eggs for omelets or scrambles, pancakes or cakes and pastries, replacing eggs is easier than ever before. From fresh tofu omelets and eggless salad to the brand-new retail product called ‘The Vegg‘, there’s an egg-free version available."

WHAT ABOUT USDA "ORGANIC" PRODUCTS + POULTRY

According to PETA, "Many organic and free-range farms cram thousands of animals together in sheds or mud-filled lots to increase profits, just as factory farms do, and the animals often suffer through the same mutilations—such as debeaking, dehorning, and castration without painkillers—that occur on factory farms.

Organically raised chickens on some farms suffer from higher mortality rates than drugged chickens because extremely crowded, filthy housing conditions, coupled with a lack of antibiotics, can lead to even more parasites than are already found in drugged chickens.

Many “organically raised” cows are sent to factory-farm feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughter, where they are caked with feces and mud. Cows who are fattened on feedlots can still be labeled organic as long as they’re given organic feed.

Cows on organic dairy farms may be kept in sheds or filthy enclosures, where they spend their lives mired in their own waste, enduring the strain of forced yearly pregnancies and having their calves taken away from them. If their udders become infected from frequent milkings, which often happens, many farmers deny them medicine, because if they medicate the animals, they won’t be able to sell the milk as organic.

Cattle have their horns cut off and their testicles cut out of their scrotums, and many are branded with sizzling-hot irons, resulting in third-degree burns. Pigs on organic farms often have their tails chopped off and their ears notched, and some have rings forced into their sensitive noses in order to permanently prevent them from rooting in the grass and dirt, which is one of a pig’s favorite pastimes. Chickens on organic egg farms usually have part of their sensitive beaks cut off, causing acute pain and often times even death. None of these animals are given any painkillers.

At the end of their sad lives, the animals who don’t die on the farm are shipped on trucks through all weather extremes, usually without food, water or rest, to the same slaughterhouses used by factory farms. There, they are hung upside-down and their throats are cut, often while they are still conscious and struggling to escape. Some are still conscious when they are forced into the scalding-hot water of the de-feathering tanks or when their bodies are hacked apart.

The only advantage that organic products have is that they do not contain antibiotics, hormones, or an arsenic-based additive (as many non-organic chicken products do). Although flesh from these animals might be somewhat safer than that from drugged animals, the healthiest choice is to avoid all meat, eggs, and dairy foods. Organic, “natural,” “humane” and free-range flesh, milk and eggs are still laden with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol, just as all animal products are."

Please, take time to consider where your groceries are coming from and the energy behind these foods when they were killed, transported or captured to be cooked and served on your dinner plate.

Take a moment to read the labels, ask any questions you may have at your local grocery store/superstore or market and feel free to request more plant based/vegan-friendly options restaurants and cafes in your town. Your voice will be heard! 

X

ANIMAL CRUELTY

Some of us are audible learners, some of us hands-on learners and many of us are visual learners. I respect and appreciate that each of our learning experiences are different and unique. They say "A picture is worth a thousand words." Well then this video is worth a million. Mahalo for being open minded, curious and interested in educating yourself. 

WATCH EARTHLINGS FOR FREE

 

Factory farming is this generation's genocide.

 By eating meat, dairy, poultry, or by purchasing leather, wool, chiffon, silk or cashmere you are (and most commonly unknowingly) contributing to the mass murder, torture, abuse, pain, mis-treatment, cruelty, rape, slaughter and violence that we as the consumers allow to be carried out onto these animals. Unfortunately we do all of this in order to feed one thing - Our ego. Our desire to be greedy. Our habitual actions of selfishness. Our lack of morals, respect, tolerance, love, compassion, knowledge and presence. By being a consumer of these products you are individuality contributing to this.

With every slice of pizza ate, cheeseburger ordered, Starbucks drank, late night pint of ice cream purchased and designer hand bag that you "treat yourself" to, you are contributing to a mass murder that is so much larger and more terrifying than you could ever imagine. And the worst part is, that no one ever told us. 

FACTORY FARMING

There are seriously no exceptions. There are so few small scale farms that consistently carry out "humane" procedures when it comes to raising, farming and slaughtering animals, that we have no right to consider them in our minds as the exception. In every factory farm, animals are crammed by the thousands into indescribably filthy, dark, bacteria-ridden and unhygienic sheds. For months and months on end, these animals are stuffed into rusted wire cages, previously-used metal crates, and numerous other torturous devices that we as humans have managed to consider a "shelter" for these beings. 

These animals, who are capable of seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, protecting, birthing, and caring for will never have the chance to raise their families. These living beings who have eyes, ears, mouths, lungs, central nervous systems and organs similar to our own will never be able to root around in soil, build nests, reproduce with a mate or do anything that is natural, normal and important to them. Most of these animals won’t ever have the chance to feel the warmth from the sun. That is, until the day they’re loaded by the hundreds onto trucks and transported immediately to slaughter.

The goal of factory farms is simple and clear.

This industry strives to maximize their overall output while minimizing costs. While always at the animals’ expense. However, the meat and diary industry hasn't mastered this act just yet - That is, because although they profit immensely from the millions of animals that pass through these buildings per year, (Big shout out to us and our infinite consumerism!) many of the animals will die from disease and infection. And then, more often than not are left for weeks on end to rot and die until another animal becomes ill and eats them or they are removed to create space. 

"Space." That's a funny word. Now that I see it typed on my computer screen I realize that my choice of wording is incorrect and inaccurate. Space is boundless, free, infinite and unrestricted. These animals are often given so little room that they can’t turn around, rest or sit down comfortably. 

ANTIBIOTICS IN YOUR FOOD


A plethora of antibiotics, medicines and vaccines are used during this process to make animals grow faster, bigger and to keep them alive longer in these unsanitary conditions. Research has shown time and time again that factory farms’ widespread use of these antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This acts as a threat to human health. Thats right, meat/dairy eaters. Us. Our health is at risk. Not theirs (even though its quite clear we don't particularly care about that anyways.) Our health is at immediate risk. 


Mostly all factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger faster or to produce more milk, eggs, flesh (thats what meat is - flesh) than they would normally. Many chickens grow so unnaturally large and wide that their legs and claws cannot support their outsized bodies. These birds often suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t physically walk to reach feed and water. They die in their crates and aren't removed until the farm is "wiped." This procedure usually happens once every 2-5 weeks. Meanwhile the rest of these chickens use these 5 weeks (and a mixture of hunger and mental/physical illness caused by living conditions) to eat the foul, infected, dead bird laying on the ground below them. Yup, they eat a dead, rotten and infected bird caracas, and then we eat them. Yum.

When these animals have grown large/wide/fat enough to slaughter, or their bodies are no longer able to produce breast milk or eggs (due to over milking/egg-laying) these animals are crowded onto large trucks and transported for hundreds of miles through all weather/traffic/temperature extremes. This transportation process is typically carried out without any food or water. Some road trip, huh? At the slaughterhouse, the few animals who have successfully survived the trip will be brought into the factory to have their throats slit. This often happens while they’re still awake and entirely conscious. If their throats are not slit, many of them are plunged into scalding-hot water. This process is carried out to speed up the de-feathering, and de-skinning process of the animals before their tortured bodies are hacked into pieces. 

ANIMALS USED FOR FOOD

 

Ducks & Geese

Ducks and geese are most comfortable when they are in water, on land and flying freely in the air. In their natural habitats, these animals have been recorded to fly hundreds of miles each and every year. It has also been observed that all ducks and geese fly and swim in formations that most efficiently reduce air and water resistance for the birds in the rear. Can't get much more considerate than that. Ducks always live in pairs or couples, and pairs of geese mate for life. They find their sole partner and are able to reproduce and create a family with that one mate. These animals are also known for mourning the death of their partner for lengthy periods. Sometimes even months on end. 

Unfortunately, most people (myself included at one point in time) don’t immediately think of these animals when discussing cruelty and the abuse that is put forth on farmed animals. Wether we like to think of it or not, these birds are severely abused by the meat and foie gras industries by the hundreds of thousands each and every year.

Geese and Ducks raised for their flesh spend their entire lives forcefully crammed into dark, dirty, and small sheds, where they more often than not suffer from injury and die from infectious disease. These animals are deprived of everything that is natural, normal and important to them. At the slaughterhouse, many birds survive the electric stunning process. Meaning that they are still entirely conscious as their throats are cut and they are thrown into the scalding-hot water of the de-feathering tanks.

FOIE GRAS (iS FO' BULLIES)

Ducks and geese raised for foie gras suffer from the torture inflicted by humans the worst. No doubt about it. These animals have steel thick pipes, tubes and funnels forcefully shoved down their throats up to three times daily. These tubes ensure that four pounds of grain can be pumped into their stomachs quickly, and produce the diseased and desired “fatty liver” that many diners consider a "delicacy." Nothing too delicate about that, if you ask me. When their infected livers swell to up to 10-12 times of their normal size, these birds are sent to slaughter and de-feathered, slit and killed. Force fed, infected, killed. 

There are absolutely NO federal laws or regulations protecting ducks, geese, or any other birds from cruelty at slaughter. Not one. This means that we are entirely unable to mandate and regulate what type of conditions, treatments and procedures are carried out onto the precious lives of these beings. 

Chickens

According to PETA, Chickens are arguably the most abused animal on the planet. In the United States alone, more than 7 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year. Over 305 million hens are used and abused for their eggs. Over ninety-nine percent of these animals spend their lives in total confinement. This means that from the moment they hatch until the day they are maliciously killed, these animals have absolutely no access to sunlight, fresh air or open space. Their entire life is a combination of pain, mistreatment, malnourishment, abuse and death. 

More chickens are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined. Yet, not one single federal law protects chickens from this never ending abuse. With tens of thousands of chick and chickens packed into each building, the sheds become more and more crowded as the animals grow larger. Chickens more often than not have to walk on top of one another. And as mentioned above, frequently over the bodies of other birds who have previously died. This over crowding and abuse often leads to frustration and fear, resulting in chickens who peck at one another for days on end. Commonly causing injury and death.

So many of us do not realize that chickens are intelligent, inquisitive and interesting animals. These being are as intelligent as mammals such as cats, dogs, and even some primates. Which are most closely related to our own species. These birds are exceptionally social and enjoy being around other birds, taking dust baths, roosting in trees/bushes, eating and laying down to sun bathe. Sounds a little bit like me, actually. 

In factory farms, these birds are bred and drugged to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippling leg deformities common among many. Many become crippled under their own weight and eventually die because they can’t reach the water nozzles. When they are only 6 or 7 weeks old, they are crammed into cages and trucked to slaughter.

Here is an exert I took from PETA.com describing the conditions in which hens must endure on factory "farms." 

"Birds exploited for their eggs, called “laying hens” by the industry, are crammed together in wire cages where they don’t even have enough room to spread their wings. Because the hens are crammed so closely together, these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate on one another. The birds have part of their sensitive beaks cut off so that they won’t peck each other out of frustration created by the unnatural confinement. After their bodies are exhausted and their production drops, they are shipped to slaughter, generally to be turned into chicken soup or cat or dog food because their flesh is too bruised and battered to be used for much else." That's funny. I don't remember "exhausted, injured, abused hen meat" being labeled on the bags of Pedigree food at the pet store. 

MALE CHICKS

The male chicks of egg-laying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs. They are also not bred to produce excessive flesh/meat for these companies, so they are killed. To save space, money, resources and money. And money. Every single year, more than 100 million of these baby birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate. Remember how freaking adorable, innocent and excited those baby chicks you raised in 7th grade science class were? So do I. 

At the slaughterhouse, these bird's legs are forcefully clamped into shackles. Their throats are cut, and they are dumped in scalding-hot water, a technique designed to remove their feathers. Because they have no federal legal protection, nearly all of the chickens are still entirely conscious when their throats are cut. And on the off chance that they don't die then - Many chicks are literally burned to death in the feather-removal tanks after missing the throat cutter. 

Fish & Sea Animals 

When I hear people refer to fish as a "health food," I literally cringe. Every single time. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say "You'd be so proud, I gave up meat 6 months ago and only eat fish now," I would be exceptionally wealthy - and probably not sitting in my apartment working on this webpage, but rather vacationing on my yacht somewhere in the pacific.

Just because we cannot hear a fish scream, cry, wail, howl, growl or bark, does not mean that these beings are not feeling the same amount of pain, agony and distress as those who are able to physically voice their fearful emotions. These aimals have eyes, mouths, central nervous systems, organs, skin and the ability to mate and reproduce. Similarly to dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, cows, bird, rabbits, sheep and humans.  

Fish are exceptionally smart, interesting animals who withhold their own unique personalities. Fish feel pain. Fish feel pain.

Fish feel pain.

Scientists who have spent countless years reviewing studies are in complete agreement that a fish's pain response is basically identical to the pain response system in mammals and birds.

Fish are so much more intelligent than we are taught to believe. Did you know that fish are able to learn how to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group who swim ahead of them? Fish can also recognize individual “shoal mates.” Many fish gather information by eavesdropping on schools of other fish in the waters nearby. The South African fish has been observed to lay its eggs on leaves so that it is able to carry them to a safe place. Meaning that many fish even use tools to find and create safe shelters for their young.

Unfortunately for the fish, and our rapidly depleting oceans (the U.S. fish industry slaughters more than 6 billion fish each year, while sport fishing and angling kill another 245 million animals annually) the killings have not declined. Without any legal protection from cruel treatment, these intelligent and complex animals are impaled, crushed, suffocated, sliced open and gutted, all while they’re fully conscious.

More than 40 percent of all the fish consumed each year are now raised on land - or ocean based aqua-farms. Land-based farms raise thousands of fish in ponds, pools, or concrete tanks. Ocean-based aqua-farms are situated close to shorelines, and fish in these farms are confined to cramped nets or mesh cages.

Fish on aqua-farms spend their entire lives in crowded, filthy enclosures. So many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Conditions on some farms are so horrendous that 40 percent of the fish may die before farmers can kill and package them for food. Fish who survive are starved before they are sent to slaughter in order to reduce waste contamination of the water during transport. That super fresh and delicious, low fat, high protein, wild alaskan (bullshit) salmon that you love, for example, those fish are starved for 10 full days prior to killing. Way to go out with a bang, huh?

In the wild, hundreds of billions of fish—along with “non target” animals, including sharks, sea turtles, birds, seals, and whales—are caught each year in ocean-ravaging nets or dragged for hours on long-lines for the commercial fishing industry.

Today, scientists, along with the United Nations, project that by 2050, our oceans will be so depleted of fish due to overfishing that seafood will be a soon forgotten thing of the past. How horrible it is to think that our children will no longer be able to swim, surf, scuba dive or snorkel in flourishing oceans, abundant with fish and natural marine beauty. What a tragedy it is to think that my own grandchildren may never be able to study and admire the countless fish I have only a few decades prior.

Cows

In the U.S. alone, more than 42 million cows suffer and die for the meat and dairy industries each and every year. When they are still very young, many cows are painfully burned with hot irons (branded). Their horns are gouged, cut or burned off upon their arrival to factory farms. Male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums ( commonly referred to as being "castrated")—all without painkillers. Not one. If you are a male and eat meat, or consume beef products in any way, shape or form, I'd like to hope that you can sympathize with these gentle beings and their gentle balls.  Please realize that the pain they must feel during this torturous time is in no way excusable for our desire to eat their flesh and blood. 

 

Once they have grown large enough, these gentle giants are immediatley sent to massive, filthy feedlots that are exposed to the elements. Here they will be quickly fattened before slaughter.

Female cows on dairy farms are repeatedly impregnated with bull semen by factory farm workers. These females have absolutely no sexual interaction with any male cows at all. They will have a hand/arm/rod or semen filled tube shoved forcefully up their vagina to implant the semen numerous time throughout their life. Like all animals, cows form strong maternal bonds with their calves. Constantly on dairy farms and ranches, female cows have been been heard frantically crying out for their cows for several days after separation. This traumatic experience is something they must undergo numerous times. Just as we humans do, these cows protect, nourish and provide for their young for months while inside the womb, only to have them stolen from them immediately after birth. Think of that traumatizing scene in "Blackfish" where we watched the mother whale mourn and cry over her stolen baby. Finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to be killed.

Cows are gentle giants—large in physical size but incredibly sweet in nature. They are curious, intelligent and clever animals who have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to escape from slaughterhouses. 

If you are a female, know a female, or have ever met a female and consume milk or dairy products, I ask you to take a step back. Please realize that our bodies are ours and no one else's to exploit or use for profit. Around the globe, trafficking women and young girls for sexual use is illegal. We do not find it justifiable to use these women's bodies in abusive, dangerous and potentially fatal ways. Why is it any different for these females? 

You wouldn't drink my breast milk, your sister's breast milk, your daughter's or your aunt's breastmilk. You wouldn't suck milk from a female raccoon, bear, horse, pig or a cat. Why have we decided that a cow's (who is also someone's sister, mother, daughter and aunt) milk is acceptable? 

Please. Know that a cow's milk is intended for one life and one life only - the life of her young calf. Cow's milk is exceptionally high in protein and even more so in fat (which scientists have proved is detrimental to our blood pressure levels and over-all health.) This fat is needed by a small calf to grow very large, very quickly (some up to 150 pounds in their first year- and usually around 350 lbs. by the age of adulthood.) Unless you have the desire to weigh upmost 350 pounds, there is absolutely no reason to consume the breast milk from this animal's utters. 

We have access to so many more healthy, logical and humane options. Please. Leave the cow milk for calves. Breast milk is for babies. Go find your own milk alternative and leave the nipples/utters for the newborns. Seriously - it's just weird and entirely unnecessary. 

SO NOW WHAT?

Healthier Alternatives

Eat something else. Anything else. Please. Eat fresh fruits, plants, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, starches, sprouts, fermented food and just about any other vegan food (cake, cookies, pizza, milkshakes, mac n' cheez and brownies) you can find on the market.

Eat natural, plant based, locally grown, seasonal and vibrant foods that feed your body and soul. Eat foods that our bodies were naturally intended to chew, swallow, digest and release - free of trouble and pain. Major scientific studies have linked the consumption of animal products to fatal heart disease, cancer, and other leading killers. These studies have suggested that it’s these components of animal foods—dense amounts of animal fat, animal protein, and a lack of fiber—that lead to a higher risk of developing many illness and diseases.

Remember that energy is everywhere. It makes up our bodies, our planet, our cells and our souls. The food you eat must contain the most positive and beneficial energy that you can get your hands (and mouth) on. When an animal is killed, it's life forces leaves the physical body immediately. That flesh is now entirely void of any health benefits whatsoever. You cannot expect to live a healthy, happy, positive, abundant and pure life while consuming the negative energy and karma inflicted into these animal's. You cannot except your body to live when the food you are eating is dead. Organic and free-range animals are killed in the same filthy slaughterhouses as the animals from factory farms, so their flesh is subject to the same potential for bacterial contamination and infestation from unsanitary conditions.

If you have any other questions, comments or concerns please, please leave a comment below. I would be more than thrilled to discuss this topic with anyone further. I feel so compassionate and strongly drawn towards the hope for the lives of these animals. I aspire to live by example and show as many of you as possible that plant based living has improved my own life in so many tremendous ways, physically, mentally and spiritually. I am an animal lover, and I am not a hypocrite. I am conscious, mindful, educated and informed. I can only wish that on each and everyone of you.

 If you have made it thus far in my blog, I genuinely thank you. It wasn't easy for me to write this post, and I am sure it wasn't all that easy for you to read it. 

Mahalo for taking the time, energy and effort out of your day to be here in this moment, and to be aware of the hurt, harm and violence that is being carried out each and every second. 

Make efforts to be more mindful, considerate, compassionate and thoughtful each and everyday. Always try to leave a person/live being/situation better than when you found it.

Food for thought.

x

Amelia

 

PS- The video I have linked below rocks! If you know anyone who's ego is currently larger than their heart and feels the desire to question, attack or criticize your dietary/lifestyle choices. Please let homeboy Gary Yorofsky show them whats up. Seriously. He's so great!

THE BEST SPEECH YOU WILL EVER HEAR

 

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

When it comes to what we eat, sometimes we have to take more into consideration than just our cravings and personal preferences. It is not just about eating to feed yourself or your family, it is about eating to thrive, and to guarantee the same opportunity for our planet and the generations that are yet to come. 

We have already done so much damage. So so much. It is almost unbearable to think about how far our destruction has come without being slowed or stopped. It can be difficult to go back and undue the wrong-doing when we are the ones inflicting all of this irreversible damage. We must focus on our energy on being proactive and learn to make more conscious dietary and life changes immediately. Or else we're hurting ourselves, and everyone else who we are fortunate enough to share this earth with. Seriously, everyone else.

I am not a vegan solely because I am an animal right's activist. I am not a vegan only because I refuse to incorporate chemically ridden and artificially made foods and beverages into my diet and life. I am not a vegan because I support environmental conservation and our ability to cease deforestation. I am a vegan because I am an animal right's activist,  a supporter of natural foods and an environmentalist. I am a plant based vegan for all reasons humane, thoughtful, healthful and proactive. In today's world, threatened by violence, crime, hate, destruction and pollution, we need as many superheroes as we can get, and in my eye's that's exactly what I am working towards: Men, women and children who do as little harm and provide as much care and help to other beings in need (Including, but not limited to: people, animals and our planet.) In my eyes, each and everyone of us has a choice. Make your choice one that is well educated, compassionate, helpful and self-less.

THE DAMAGE DONE

Did you know that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than there was at any point in the last 800,000 years?  And although Americans make up just 4% of Earth's population, we produce 25% of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning. This makes up the largest share of any country, by far. This air pollution didn't just accumulate naturally, either. We're the ones who are being caught red handed for the crime that is global warming. 

Our dramatically increasing population causes higher demands on natural resources, and increases the demand on our agriculture and livestock. There are so many negative impacts associated with our ongoing population explosion and increasing demand for resources. We are the consumers, and we are at fault entirely. 

Because we require so much food to feed such a large quantity of people, we have found ways to "cheat" Mother Nature's natural cycle and create more goods, faster, easier and cheaper. Without taking any time to think about what effects these cheap/fast/easy procedures will have on our air, water and land. By using mass amounts of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides to increase food production, we are polluting the air, soil and water with toxic chemicals and additives. We are responsible for the large scale toxic algal blooms that kill millions of aquatic animals each and every year- caused entirely by fertilizer run off. To keep up with the high demand we have created, we must increase cultivation - of animal products, dairy products and genetically modified plant products. This leads to the removal of billions of trees and acres of other plants to increase growing space (as if something wasn't growing there already.) Removal of these natural plants causes habitat loss and threatens the survival of thousands of species of animals and plants. All because of us. 

LARGE SCALE FARMING

Regardless of if you want to believe it or not, meat and dairy consumption has caused and created so much devastation on our planet. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the information. The livestock industry is destroying our planet. It is time we take a good hard look at the destruction that our dietary habits has created. 

While doing research on the computer, I came across these ariel shots of commercial agriculture compounds here in the U.S. Although the meat and dairy industries wish they weren't, these photographs can be found publicly on web resources such as Google Earth. Misha Henner located the image shown below, and shared her findings with inhabitant.com. 

She said “Massive waste lagoons, which waft up dangerous hydrogen sulfide fumes and can contaminate groundwater with nitrates and antibiotics, first resemble open, infected wounds. The land on which the feedlots sit is totally barren, brown and dry. Brightly colored waste from the poor animals housed there gives off an alien glow against the neutral backdrop of dying land. The cows themselves look like ants from the aerial perspective, crowded together with no shade or comfort from the harsh conditions." 

Here is another image captured from Google Earth of a lagoon on a cattle feedlot in Dalhart, Texas. See all of those small black specs? Those are herds of cattle. 

 

I read this article on  www.Care2.com and found it to be interesting and well written. I want to share with you all some of the facts from their webpage with regards to the damage caused by the livestock industry. A diet consisting of meat and dairy is unsustainable in the long term.  Read on and understand for yourself. 

1. Deforestation – Farm animals require considerably more land than crops to produce a given amount of food energy. In Central America alone, 40 percent of all rainforests have been cleared in the last 40 years for cattle pasture to feed the export market, often for U.S. beef burgers. The World Hunger Program calculated that recent world harvests, if distributed equitably and fed directly to humans as opposed to livestock, could provide a vegan diet to 6 billion people.

2. Fresh Water – Without a doubt livestock has one of the largest water footprints on the planet. It may be hard to believe, but the standard American diet requires a whopping 4,200 gallons of water per day (including animals’ drinking water, irrigation of crops, processing, washing, etc.), whereas a vegan diet only requires 300. The easiest way to reduce demand for water is to eliminate the consumption of animal products.

3. Waste Disposal – Today’s factory farms house hundreds of thousands of cows, pigs and chickens and in turn produce astronomical amounts of waste. In the U.S. these giant livestock farms generate more than 130 times the amount of waste that humans do. This waste has polluted thousand of miles of rivers and contaminated groundwater, killing marine life and creating huge dead zones.

4. Energy Consumption – For that steak to end up on your plate it has to consume massive amounts of energy along the way. Growing the grain with a heavy use of agricultural chemicals to feed the cattle, transporting the cattle thousands of miles to slaughter and market, and then refrigerating and cooking the meat all amounts to an absurd use of resources. On average, it takes 28 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from meat, whereas it takes only 3.3 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from grain.

5. Food Productivity – The food productivity of farmland is quickly falling behind population growth, and the only option available to us short of stabilizing population is to cut back on meat consumption and convert grazing land to food crops. In the U.S. an estimated 56 million acres of land are producing hay for livestock, and only 4 million acres are used to grow vegetables for human consumption.

6. Global Warming – Global warming is driven by energy consumption, and as noted above livestock are energy guzzling, but that’s not all. Livestock also emit potent global warming gases into the environment. Cattle, in particular, produce a significant amount of methane. For example, a single dairy cow produces an average of 75 kilos of methane annually.

7. Loss of Biodiversity – Poaching and the black-marketeering of bushmeat is becoming a growing problem as our planet becomes more and more overcrowded and poorer populations venture into wildlife reserves to kill everything from elephants and chimpanzees to bonobos and birds. Hunters are using logging roads, which facilitate a more rapid invasion, that have been opened up by big multinational companies to poach every animal in sight to sell to people in the cities.

8. Grassland Destruction – As the herds of domesticated animals expanded, the environments on which wild animals such as bison and antelope used to thrive were replaced by monoculture grasslands to cater for large scale cattle grazing. Grassland has suffered such a massive lost. What was once a rich and diverse ecosystem is now is a single species monoculture.

9. Soil Erosion – With 60 percent of the United States’ pastureland being overgrazed, the acceleration of soil erosion and degradation of land is an increasing concern. It takes approximately 500 years to replace just one inch of precious topsoil. While fertilizers may be able to replace a small amount of nutrient loss, the large inputs of fossil energy to do so is completely unrealistic and unsustainable.

10. Lifestyle Disease – The excessive consumption of meat and dairy in developed countries combined with environmental pollution and lack of exercise is causing a wealth of preventable health problems such as heart disease. While western civilizations are dying from strokes, cancer, diabetes and heart attacks after gorging on meat, poor people in Third World countries are dying from disease brought on by being denied access to land to grow grain to feed their families.

OUR EVER-GROWING POPULATION

In today's world, we refer to our population growth as a "population threat," because thats exactly what it is - a threat. The current U.S. population is an estimated at over 285 million people and is expected to double in the next 70 years. As I mentioned above, Americans eat the most meat, by far when compared to all other continents in the world. Meaning our demand for meat and dairy is increasingly larger than any other. As if the toll that this type of agriculture has on our planet isn't bad enough, large scale farming of these animals also increases their susceptibility to numerous diseases (including Mad-cow disease and Avian flu.) The waste generated by these farms and meat processing plants is so large and constantly spreading. Our planet is exceptionally great at recycling natural waste, but we are creating far too much of it than it can handle. These high quantities of pollution impact our planet and all species who dwell on it. The negative effects of the meat and dairy industry combined with our growing population leads to an even greater stress being placed on our already limited natural resources. 

And that's just the U.S. alone. According to a 2015 census, there are over 7.3 Billion people in the world. Regardless of the role that meat and dairy have on human nutrition or your personal morals (with regards to the right's of these billions of animals being killed for our consumption,) the consumption of animal products is a looming problem for all of humankind.

Live a life that is low impact, and reduce your use of this world’s precious resources. They will run out and be unavailable for our children, our children's children and the generations to come. Go plant based. For yourself, for the animals, for health and for our planet. Opt for animal free food and beverage choices. Please.

Mahalo

Earth has enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed
— Mahatma Gandhi

MEAT + DAIRY

In my opinion, there should be a mandated law that states that just as alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription pills must label and identify every potential health risk and possible side effect from their product, so should the paper cartons of the our milk containers and the plastic packaging that covers our frozen animal products. 

 There is nothing more important than knowing how harmful and disease inflicting the foods we feed our bodies with can be. So many of us are entirely uniformed and unaware. It is within my goal to open some of your eyes, ears and minds, and to take the time from your busy schedules to be a little bit more aware and informed. It is time you know. It is time that we all know.

At the end of the day, what is most important to me is that my audience realizes that the less meat and dairy products they consume, the better. Seriously, every serving you don't eat, every dish you don't order and every purchase you don't buy contributes to creating a larger outcome.  There are hundreds of conflicting ideas behind all "diets," -vegansim and vegetariansim included. I realize that. I have spent hours reading up on other's theories and personal beliefs. Before I begin this post, I want to say that I am fully aware that there are circumstances where meat or dairy may be more necessary in someone's diet than it is others. I know that there are thousands of people who do not live in very populated and advanced cities and towns. I am aware that in some areas around the globe men and women get a large majority of their calories from freshly caught salmon, hand collected eggs and home-made milks and cheeses - which allows them to live and provide their bodies with the an adequate amount of calories to survive.

More importantly, I also realize that 99.9% of my readers do not fall under that particular category. 99.9% of my readers who do eat meat and dairy do not do so because it is the ONLY option they have during certain seasons and times of the year. If you eat meat and dairy in today's world, it is not because you have absolutely no other options or choices. Chances also are that you are not raising your own steer, cattle and chickens. You are not slaughtering these animals yourself, or milking their breast-milk from their utters with your own bare hands. In fact, chances are that for most of you who do still consume meat and dairy today, you are simply purchasing it frozen or packaged from your near by grocery store or supermarket. Stores that supply their meats from large scale factory farms which are contributing to habitat destruction and global warming. These foods are filled with hormones, chemicals, toxins, preservatives and prescription antibiotics that are intended for the Cow/Pig/Chicken and Fish, not for the human. They are detrimental to your health and can cause side effects and symptoms that do not appear to the human eye before it is too late. Before you are told to remove the tumor,clear the artery, loose the weight or take "X" prescription drug, you should cure your body of the illness and kill off the infection through nutrient dense, plant based foods.

We are surrounded by ample amounts of plant based foods. Some of us don't even realize that. I have never once stepped foot in a grocery store (and I have done a fair share of traveling and food shopping internationally) that didn't sell some type of fruit, vegetable, grain, bean, nut or seeds. Wether those foods be fresh, frozen, cooked, canned, pre washed or pre prepared. We have so many more options that many of us make it seem. I understand that unforunaltey, "food deserts" still exist in urban areas here in America (and many other parts of the world,) but I also realize that many of us are not aware that very simple, affordable and accessible foods (such as rice, canned vegetables, canned beans, potatoes and corn pasta) are in fact healthier options than highly processed and modified meat and dairy products. 

WHERE I STAND

I want to inform and share the knowledge that I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to. I have spent too many hours reading too many books to not share this with so many of you who are unable to do the research I have done. I want to encourage health, happiness and living a life without constant doctor's appointments, surgeries, x rays and toxic medications. 

Here is some information you may not know about the meat and dairy you eat...

Because I live in America, and because I have done most of my research/reading on the increasingly poor health of Americans due to the standard american diet, (S.A.D) I have decided to direct most of this information to the people that make up my home country. 

 

MEAT ME AT THE DOCTOR

Americans eat more meat per person than any other people on our planet. 

At 200 pounds of meat per person per year, the high meat consumption of Americans is hurting our national health in monumental ways. I personally have read dozens of books, hundreds of articles and reviewed numerous scientific studies with regards to the correlation between our high consumption of meat and increased rates of fatal diseases.  Hundreds of clinical studies in the past few decades showed us that the consumption of meat and dairy products consumed in this country can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and a plethora of various other illnesses.

As a population, we are overweight, unhealthy, unhappy and suicidal (though we may not realize it jut yet.) Americans have twice the obesity rate and nearly three times the cancer rate than any other people in the the world. As if that's not crappy enough, we also have twice the diabetes rate among all other countries. In the words of Joe Cross, we are "fat, sick and nearly dead." 

 

WHY PLANT BASED EATERS ARE DOING IT BETTER

Time and time again research has proven to us that both Vegans and vegetarians live longer than their meat-eating, dairy-consumer counterparts (Approx. 9 years longer to be exact!)

Here are some reasons why we're out here living it up (literally!)

1. Lower blood pressure: Researchers found that not only do vegans and vegetarians have significantly lower blood pressure on average, but that veg diets could be used to substantially lower blood pressure among people who need an intervention.

2. Lower risk of death: According to Heather Moore, from PETA Prime,  2013 study of more than 70,000 people found that vegetarians had a 12% lower risk of death compared with non-vegetarians. Vegan and vegetarian diets contain none of the saturated fat and cholesterol that diets with meat and dairy do. These processed fats quickly clog arteries, which is also why vegans and vegetarians are at a lower risk for chronic diseases overall. Whoop whoop!

3. Lower risk of cancer: Researchers at Loma Linda University in California compared different versions of the vegetarian diet and compared them with the cancer risk among people partaking in their study. , It should be no surprise that the vegans had the lowest risk for cancers, specifically cancers most common among women, like breast cancer! This is because when you remove processed and man-made foods with natural whole foods, our bodies immune system strengthens tremendously and is more able to fight off and reduce those cancer causing cells. 

4. Less chance of chronic heart disease: During a study done in 2013 with over 44,000 people, scientists reported that vegetarians were 32% less likely to develop ischemic heart disease. Gotta ♥  that!

5. We're happier: During a 2012 study, doctors randomly split participants into a three separate diets: all-meat allowed, fish-only allowed, and vegetarian no-meat allowed. The researchers found that after two weeks, the men and women on the vegetarian diet reported more mood improvements than those on the other two diets! 

6. Lower risk of diabetes: Studies have shown that vegans and vegetarians are at a lower risk for developing diabetes. Diets without meat and dairy can lower your risk by helping you maintain a healthy weight and improve your blood sugar levels.

7. Less likely to be overweight: Numerous of studies have reported that vegans and vegetarians tend to be leaner than their meat-eating counterparts, aaaand that they also tend to have lower cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Vegans and vegetarians are also more likely to maintain their healthy weight and BMI easier than those stinkin' meat eaters. 

 

THE HUSTLER OF THE CENTURY: THE MEAT + DIARY INDUSTRY

 Every single day we are manipulated and bribed into spending our hard earned money on supplements, vitamins and diet drugs. Now were not only in bad health and overweight, we're broke too. Spending over 20 BILLION dollars a year on the weight loss industry and their diet books, drugs and weight loss surgeries. According to ABC News, at this current moment 108 MILLION people in the United states are dieting. Right now. That really, really sucks. It has also been shown that dieters typically make four to five attempts to successfully detox/loose weight each year. Constantly dieting for months on end of every year? In my opinion that sounds like one seriously miserable way to live your seriously marvelous life. 

Heres an idea, how about we take a moment to think about what it is we are hoping to remove and "detox" from our systems? Could it possibly be the disease-inflicting, parasite-hosting and weight inducing high-fat flesh of the animals that we consume so often? Could it be the the packaged, the artificial, the toxic, the chemical ridden and the fast food that we consume on a regular basis? 

Are we detoxing our bodies and organs from the dead bodies and organs that we eat 365 days of the year? 

I'll let you be the judge of that. 

It is sad. It is scary. It is unfair. How is it that the food we have been told is healthy and "balanced" since childhood is actually what is killing us each and every day? Why is it that our parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents grew up eating this food and we now must be the one's smart enough to make these long term changes? Why are these companies able to falsely advertise and unjustly promote these products on television screens, in newspapers, magazines and on the subway? 

 

LYPO WON'T CUT IT 

There is nothing extreme or obsessive about thriving abundantly off of a whole foods plant based  diet. There is however, (in my eyes) something exceptionally extreme about 220,000 people with morbid obesity in the United States who had bariatric surgery in 2009 alone. 

A  is not "too expensive" or un realistic when it comes to setting goals for the future and the rest of your life. What is un-afforable and unrealistic? How about the $11,500 to $26,000 that the average bariatric surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach, costs in the US. 

Just because someone promotes their successful weight loss, re-gain of health, clearer skin, fitter body or healthier life does not mean that their ideals and beliefs and always correct. Or truthful for that matter. It is easier than you think to falsely promote a certain diet or supplement when you have the financial drive behind the bribe. The average amount of money celebrity endorsers earn per pound lost in the US? $33,000. Read for yourself, learn for yourself and think for yourself when it comes to choosing how and what you eat and do. This is your life. Not Jenny Craig's and not Kim Kardashian's. 

 

SUPPLEMENTATION

 The average American diet is lacking many of the nutrients that support optimal human health and recovery. With the fast pace lives we all are inundated with; little sleep and high stress can and will take its toll on the mind and body - quickly and sometimes permanently. Vitamins and decaffeinated detox teas will not make up for the inadequate diet and lifestyle that you may have been providing your body with for the past few moths/years/decades.

Whole, healthful, vibrant, natural, fresh and organic foods will however, do the trick. The more of these foods you eat, the less supplements you will need to take. I mean that. How incredible is it to realize that we were gifted with all of the health foods/ natural remedies we need by mother nature all along? 

  •         According to The Dietary Guidelines for America, many adults lack essential nutrients such as:
  •    Calcium (Found in dark leafy greens, Kale and Turnips)
  •  Fiber (Found in all water rich fruits including raspberries and avocado, vegetables, like broccoli and beans such as lima or chick pea)
  •   Magnesium (Found in Cacao (As if you even needed a reason to incorporate this into your diet,) Spinach, Avocado, Bananas and Coconut)
  •  Vitamin E (Found in Raw Coconut Oil, Maca Powder and Olives)
  •  Vitamin C (Commonly found in citrus fruits and Camu Camu Powder)
  • Vitamin A (Found in Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale + Spinach)
  • Potassium (Asparagus and Bananas provide loads of Potassium) 

The good news? All of these nutrients can be consumed in a healthy vegan diet. ALL of them. The bad news? This is where the average American diet falls short. 

We are killing ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers children and pets. We are eating foods that create an environment for disease to flourish and conquer within our own bodies. There is too much evidence. Too many scientists, and too many doctors who have spoken out. Too many informative movies and documentaries filmed. We have all of the information and resources to make conscious choices that are beneficial and proactive. Our resources may not be as dominant or wide spread as those created and shared by the diet industry, but there are there none the less. We have the facts. Now all we must do is the math that equates to a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.  

 

What to read now:

THE CHINA STUDY, BY T. COLLIN CAMPBELL

EAT TO LIVE, BY DR. JOEL FURHRMAN

WOLD PEACE DIET: EATING FOR SPIRITUAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL HARMONY, BY WILL TUTTLE

THE END OF DIETING: HOW TO LIVE FOR LIFE, BY DR. JOEL FURHRMAN

CLEAN GUT: THE BREAKTHROUGH PLAN FOR ELIMINATING THE ROOT CAUSE OF DISEASE AND REVOLUTIONIZING YOUR HEALTH, BY ALEXANDER JUNGER

WHOLE: RETHINKING THE SCIENCE OF NUTRITION, BY T. COLLIN CAMPBELL

 

What to watch now: 

FOOD, INC.

FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD + FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD 2

FORKS OVER KNIVES

FED UP

 

Want more? 

DOCUMENTARIES

BOOKS + BLOGS

 

Cheers to a life that is filled with health and happiness, for the long haul.

Mahalo

P.S. 

Vegan Pizza. It exists. It has cheese on it. It tastes incredible. 

No excuses.