Living my UU values by adopting a Plant-based Lifestyle (article 4 of 4)Måleri. Vertumnus. Guiseppe Archimboldo.

by Linda Oaksford

Listening to my heart when I read the following four UU principles is one of the reasons why I have chosen to live a plant-based life style.

  • 1st principle:  The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • 2nd principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • 6th principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • 7th principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

After much reading and introspection, I understand that today’s industrial animal farming is not only cruel to animals, but also to the people who work in the industry.

Did you know that…

  • United States Department of Agriculture records show that 9.2 billion land animals were slaughtered in 2015.  Of that, only 7.5 billion support the US food supply. (The rest are exported, or discarded.)
  •  An estimated 3.8 billion finned fish and 43.1 billion shellfish were killed to support the US food supply in 2013.  (Although marine animal deaths are challenging to calculate since these lives are measured in tons, a very thorough analysis was completed by Counting Animals.
  • Therefore, 55 billion land and sea animals are killed annually to support the US food supply.  Adding in by-catch (sea creatures caught and discarded – injured or dead) and feed fish, the total number jumps substantially.
  • This calculates to 1,749 land animals and sea animals slaughtered every second.

In addition, baby animals are taken from their mothers immediately after birth, causing suffering to both the mothers and their offspring.  During their short lives, animals are confined to small living quarters and injected with hormones and antibiotics, which unfortunately are also passed on to the people who eat their meat.  Baby animals are often cast aside and killed, due to being the wrong sex.

When we see meat displayed in the grocery store everything looks neat, clean, and sterile. However, behind the scenes, it’s a perpetual assembly line of torment and cruelty.

These are just some statistics and examples of the cruelty and torture, which animals endure.   However, in addition to the brutality and ruthlessness enacted upon the animals, the humans who work in the industry have to bear witness and are a part of this callousness everyday.  I cannot even imagine having to work in this kind of setting.

Unfortunately, many people who work in these jobs do not have the choice to work elsewhere, but if more people adopted plant-based diets, industrial agriculture would have to change to growing more fruits and vegetables for people, rather than growing food for animals, or raising animals for food.

Just like I love my dog, and wouldn’t want a horrific life thrust upon my dog, I do not want to be a part of this kind of life for any humans or animals on our planet.

For more information about this topic, you may want to go to the following sources: The Food and Agriculture of the United Nations ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (

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