A conscience can be a depressing thing at the dinner table. But there are three types of cruelty-reducing lifestyles which help reduce animal suffering and will alleviate that pesky inner voice. The first is the pescatarian lifestyle which omits all meat except for fish and other seafood. Next, there is the vegetarian lifestyle which eliminates all types of meat, but still includes animal products like milk, eggs, honey, wool, etc. Finally, there is the most cruelty-free lifestyle which is the vegan lifestyle. A vegan lifestyle excludes any type of animal product, like meat, dairy, eggs, etc. While there are many types of cruelty-reducing lifestyles, some are more comprehensive than others, and each lifestyle has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Pescatarianism has benefits as well as drawbacks. Pescatarians save furry animals and feathered animals like cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, deer, turkeys, ducks, and other terrestrial animals from slaughter. This is much better than being omnivore, but still contributes to our ocean’s overfishing problem. In addition, studies show that fish feel pain. Fish can only breathe in water, so when a fish is caught on a hook, not only is the fish in excruciating pain, the fish is also drowning at the same time. Fishing kills more animals than one might think; marine mammals become entangled in fishing nets left in the ocean. Other animals killed for seafood also experience trauma like lobsters, crabs, and octopuses which boiled alive.
Vegetarianism also has pros and cons. Vegetarians eliminate all types of meat. This means that vegetarians save cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, turkeys, ducks, fish, and other animals killed for meat. Vegetarians do reduce animal suffering, but still support the dairy and egg industry. One might ask, “Whats wrong with milk and eggs? They don’t kill animals!” Unlike what most people were taught in school, the dairy industry is not a bunch of smiling, happy cows on a outdoor farm with lots of room to walk around. The dairy industry does not care about the well-being of cows; they just do what will generate profit. The cows live in small, dirty, and cramped places. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated, and when the calf is born, she/he is immediately taken away from their mother, never able to see their mother again. If the calf is male, he is sent to live in a very small crate where he cannot move, and later is slaughtered for veal. If the calf is female, then it has the same destiny as its mother, to be forcefully impregnated over and over again, given hormones to produce a painful amount of milk, and eventually, be slaughtered for beef. Horrible conditions exist in the egg industry, too. Female chickens are given so many hormones that they lay an unnatural amount of eggs, about 300 a year, while in the wild they would only lay ten to fifteen eggs per year. This leads to painful infections. Even with “cage-free” eggs, chickens live in cramped places and are barely able to move around. When a male chick is born, it is considered a waste product, and left to suffocate or it is thrown into a macerator (which is like putting a human into a Vitamix blender). Chicks in the egg industry also have their beaks cut off to stop them from pecking out each other’s eyes which occurs due to the cramped space where they exist.
Finally, the most cruelty-free lifestyle is being vegan. Although a single vegan saves over 100 animals per year, there are some drawbacks to a vegan lifestyle. Shopping at the grocery store can sometimes be expensive, usually when buying vegan cheeses, meat replacements, and other substitutes. Also, vitamin supplements are sometimes necessary and very pricey. It can be hard to eat at most restaurants and at parties where non-vegan food is being served. There are still some restaurants that offer good vegan food, and others even have all-vegan menus. But they are hard to find, especially if one does not live in an urban area.