Vegan FAQs
Frequestly Asked Questions. Answers provided by PETA

“Animals kill other animals for food, so why shouldn’t we?”
Most animals who kill for food could not survive if they didn’t, but that is not the case for humans. In fact, we would be better off if we didn’t eat meat. Many animals, including some of our closest primate relatives, are vegetarians. We should look to them, rather than to carnivores, as models of healthy eating.

“The animals have to die sometime, so what's wrong with eating them?”
Humans die, too, but that doesn’t give you the right to kill them or cause them a lifetime of suffering.

“Don't farmers treat their animals well so they'll produce more milk or eggs?”
Animals on factory farms gain weight, lay eggs, or produce milk not because they are well cared for, comfortable, and content but because their bodies have been manipulated with medications, hormones, genetics, and management techniques. In addition, animals raised for food are slaughtered when they are extremely young, usually before disease and misery decimate them. Factory farmers raise such huge numbers of animals for food that it is less expensive for them to absorb some losses than it is for them to provide humane conditions.

“What will we do with all the chickens, cows, and pigs if everyone becomes a vegetarian?”
It is unrealistic to expect that everyone will stop eating animals overnight. As the demand for meat decreases, fewer animals will be raised for food. Farmers will stop breeding so many animals and will turn to other types of agriculture. When there are fewer of these animals, they will be able to live more natural lives.

“If everyone became vegetarian, many animals would never even be born. Isn't that worse for them?”
Life on factory farms is so miserable that it is hard to imagine that we are doing animals a favor by bringing them into that type of existence and then confining them, tormenting them, and slaughtering them.

“If everyone only ate vegetables and grains, would there be enough to eat?”
Yes. We feed so much grain to animals to fatten them for consumption that if we all became vegetarians, we could produce enough food to feed everyone on Earth. In the U.S., animals raised for food are fed 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow. The world’s cattle consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population.

“Don’t vegetarians have difficulty getting enough protein?”
In Western countries, our problem is that we get too much protein, not too little. Most Americans get at least twice as much protein as they need, and too much protein, especially animal protein, can increase your risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease

You can get enough protein from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, or broccoli—almost every food contains protein. Unless you eat a great deal of junk food, it’s almost impossible to eat as many calories as you need for good health without getting enough protein.

“Don’t humans have to eat meat to stay healthy?”
Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Dietetic Association have endorsed vegetarian diets. Studies have also shown that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels than meat-eaters and are far less likely to die of heart disease or cancer. The consumption of meat and dairy products has been conclusively linked with diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, clogged arteries, obesity, asthma, and impotence.

“Aren't humans natural carnivores?”

Actually, a vegetarian diet suits the human body better than a diet that includes meat. Carnivorous animals have claws, short digestive tracts, and long, curved fangs. Humans have flat, flexible nails, and our so-called “canine” teeth are minuscule compared to those of carnivores and even compared to vegetarian primates like gorillas and orangutans. Our tiny canine teeth are better suited to biting into fruits than tearing through tough hides. We have flat molars and long digestive tracts that are suited to diets of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Eating meat is hazardous to our health and contributes to heart disease, cancer, and many other health problems.

“Don’t dairy cows need to be milked?”

In order for a cow to produce milk, she must have a calf. Each “dairy cow” is impregnated every year so that she continues to produce a steady supply of milk. In nature, the mother’s calf would drink her milk, eliminating the need for her to be milked by humans, but on factory farms, calves are taken away from their mothers when they are just a day or two old so that humans can have the milk that nature intended for the calves. Female calves are slaughtered immediately or raised to be dairy cows. Male calves are confined for 16 weeks to tiny veal crates that are so small that they cannot even turn around.

Because of the high demand for dairy products, cows are genetically engineered and fed growth hormones to force them to produce quantities of milk that are well beyond their natural limits. Even the few farmers who choose not to raise animals intensively must get rid of the calves, who would otherwise drink the milk, and send the mothers off to slaughter when their milk production wanes.

“I know a vegetarian who is unhealthy. Is vegetarianism really good for people?”
There are healthy and unhealthy vegetarians, but doctors agree that vegetarians who eat varied, low-fat diets stand a much better chance of living longer, healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.

“Why should I feel bad about eating meat? I didn’t kill the animal.”
You may not have killed the animal yourself, but you hired the killer. Whenever you purchase meat, the killing was done for you, and you paid for it.

“If you were starving on a boat out at sea, would you eat an animal?”
I don’t know. Humans will go to extremes to save their own lives, even if it means hurting someone innocent. (People have even killed and eaten other people in such situations.) This example, however, isn’t relevant to our daily choices. For most of us, there is no emergency and no excuse to kill animals for food.

“Chickens lay eggs naturally, so what's wrong with eating eggs?”
The real cruelty of egg production lies in the treatment of the “laying” hens, who are perhaps the most abused of all factory-farmed animals. Each egg from a factory farm represents about 34 hours of misery and came from a hen who was packed into a cage the size of a filing-cabinet drawer with as many as five other chickens. At factory farms, cages are stacked many tiers high, and feces from the top rows fall onto the chickens below. Hens become lame and develop osteoporosis because they are forced to remain immobile and because they lose a great deal of calcium when they repeatedly produce egg shells. Some birds’ feet grow around the wire cage floors, and they starve to death because they are unable to reach the food trough. At just 2 years of age, most hens are “spent” and are sent to the slaughterhouse. Egg hatcheries don’t have any use for male chicks, so they are suffocated, decapitated, crushed, or ground up alive.

"Can fish feel pain?"
Research has shown that fish can feel pain. According to Dr. Donald Bloom, animal welfare advisor to the British government, “Anatomically, physiologically, and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals.” Fish have fully developed brains and nervous systems and very sensitive mouths. Fish use their tongues and mouths like humans use their hands—to catch or gather food, build nests, and hide their offspring from danger. Fish also experience fear. An Australian study found that when fish are chased, confined, or otherwise threatened, they react with increased heart and breathing rates and a burst of adrenaline, just as humans do.

“Isn't seafood healthy and low in fat?”
Contrary to popular belief, fish is not a health food. Fish flesh contains toxins from the water that fish live in, and those toxins get passed on to people who eat fish. Fish raised on farms are given antibiotics, which are also passed on to consumers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 325,000 people in the U.S. get sick or die every year from eating contaminated fish and other sea animals. Even if you could be sure that the fish you eat were free of chemicals, the flesh of some sea animals, especially shrimps and scallops, contains even more cholesterol than beef!

“Why Should Animals Have Rights?”
Supporters of animal rights believe that animals have an inherent worth—a value completely separate from their usefulness to humans. We believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering.

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