Letter to the Editor
I want to thank Bryn Woznicki for sharing her story of considering a vegan diet ("30 Days of Veganism: The Halfway Update," 11 March). More and more students are considering leaving meat, eggs, and dairy products off their plates to protect their health and the environment as well as to oppose cruelty to animals.
Pigs are kept in crates so small that they can't even turn around, eight or nine egg-laying hens are forced to live in tiny cages, and male chicks—of no use to the egg industry—are ground up alive, suffocated, or thrown into dumpsters just after being hatched. Dairy cows are kept pregnant so that they continue to produce milk, and their children are stripped from them just hours after birth in order to become veal. Animals have their beaks, genitalia, tails, and horns cut off, all without any anesthesia.
These horrible acts would merit felony cruelty-to-animals charges if inflicted on dogs or cats, but they are standard practice within the livestock industry, even though pigs, cows, and chickens are intelligent, social animals who are capable of feeling pain.
So-called "organic" and "free-range" food is scarcely better: "Organic" merely means a lack of hormones and other chemicals injected into animals, which may include painkillers for suffering animals. Free-range or cage-free chickens live packed against one another in giant sheds soaked with feces and urine and are given a small door with a few feet of gravel outdoor space.
Every time we sit down to eat, we can support cruelty by paying people to do this, or we can choose to eat food that spares animals this horrible suffering. Thankfully, as Woznicki points out, there are lots of healthy alternatives available in dining halls and our local grocery stores, such as veggie barbecue riblets and vegan pizza. To find out more about the benefits of a vegan diet and to receive your vegetarian/vegan starter kit, visit peta2.com.
College Campaigns Assistant