Decades ago, the brilliant physicist Albert Einstein said the following:
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”
These clear words seem even more amazing when one considers that they were spoken at a time when people knew little about how the food on their plate affected their health or how it was connected to the environment, the world’s climate, world hunger, animal rights and human rights. If Albert Einstein had been familiar with current scientific evidence, surely his words would have been a bit different:
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegan diet.”
A vegan diet is one that contains no animal products. If well planned and well balanced, it is, from a medical point of view, the healthiest diet one can follow, benefiting the environment, the world’s climate, animals and humans. Because following a vegan diet and a vegan lifestyle can bring such great benefits to each and every one of us, I have decided to publish this little booklet for the sake of society – especially for our children and grandchildren – as well as for the benefit of the environment, the world’s climate and animals. In order to make the healthiest decisions for ourselves and the planet, we need to have the best available information.
This brochure and the website www.ProVegan.info are a contribution in the fight against the unlimited madness of mankind. The resulting devastating effects are consciously or unconsciously ignored by most people. The majority of people are (still) willing to cause global warming, to torture and kill animals, to support the starvation of millions of people, to plunder the oceans, and to ruin their own health just because of their taste preferences for animal products.
Of course, it is also important to understand that following a vegan diet does not mean that we have to miss out on anything. Quite the contrary – a vegan diet is a pure feast, as numerous vegan cookbooks and restaurants have proved.
You can find the accompanying short film to this booklet at
Dr. med. Ernst Walter Henrich
The Healthiest Diet
Our diet influences our health tremendously: “You are what you eat.” A well-planned diet means that we have a wonderful chance to live a long, fit and healthy life. So if our diet is so important, shouldn’t we learn more about how to eat right from the standpoint of nutrition, working with reputable studies from all around the world?
We are all familiar with articles that urge us to eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat. Even so, meat is still considered a completely normal part of an allegedly healthy, balanced diet, despite the fact that numerous scientific studies have proved that consuming meat damages our health. The disastrous impact that milk, cheese and other dairy products have on our health is less well known or not widely known at all. The public is shocked whenever natural disasters or terrorist attacks kill hundreds or thousands of people. But will people react in the same way when millions of people suffer from and die of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity and other diseases that are related to diet and malnutrition? While the public is being misinformed and misled about a healthy diet, certain industries will profit from this situation.
Doctors, clinics, producers of medical instruments and pharmaceutical companies can only profit if people suffer from and are treated for chronic diseases. The animal industry only profits if people consume damaging foods such as meat, milk, dairy products, eggs and fish. What’s tricky is that the health consequences that result from consuming products derived from animals don’t become apparent immediately but only years later. Medical progress has been enormous, but we’re paying a high price for this situation in two ways. First, health costs rise and, with them, fees for health insurance. Second, people who have become sick because of ingesting unhealthy animal products now live longer because of our medical progress. But with chemotherapy, pills, state-of-the-art medical equipment, surgeries and other expensive invasive procedures, we don’t treat the cause but only the symptoms of chronic diseases, and we lengthen people’s lives and, in many cases, prolong their suffering. In contrast, the goal of responsible medicine that is truly in the interests of all people should be to help people lead a long life in good physical and mental health. This goal can be achieved only through prevention, which means through a healthy diet and lifestyle. But doctors, clinics, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of medical equipment don’t profit from healthy people. So who is really interested in keeping people healthy, anyway? In my experience, it’s not medical insurance companies, either – no matter how much health costs rise, the insured patient will pay for it by paying higher insurance premiums. Politics, too, is so closely linked to the profits of the health and animal industries that politicians won’t help, either.
But it gets even worse. Seemingly independent nutritionist organizations publishing official dietary recommendations to the public are partially financed by the meat, milk and egg industries around the globe. A lot of scientists in seemingly independent nutritionist organizations are, for example, offered well-paid consultant contracts or other profitable opportunities by the meat, milk and egg industries. Will these organizations and their scientists under these circumstances speak out against the products of companies that pay them or that they profit from in any other way? In politics, too, the animal industries’ interest groups are very active. And this is why huge amounts of money worldwide are paid to animal industries as subsidies. The EU alone every year spends more than 50 billion euros on subsidies for the agricultural industries. Most of this money goes to the animal industry. Additional export subsidies are even paid so that cheap animal products from the EU can flood the world market and destroy the livelihood of farmers in poor countries.
Around the world, many representatives of the animal industry sit on government councils that publish official dietary recommendations. Often, they are even in the majority. Usually, though, they cannot readily be identified as animal-industry representatives. Well-paid adviser contracts with the animal industry or other lucrative offers don’t attract too much attention as part-time jobs. T Colin Campbell and Thomas M Campbell II exposed this system in their book The China Study. Consider just one example from Switzerland, where representatives didn’t even attempt to hide their connections to the animal industry: until recently, the meat industry’s marketing representative was part of the Swiss food commission, which is considered the highest authority for official dietary recommendations in Switzerland and advises the Swiss government. As the meat industry’s marketing representative, this person was responsible for promoting meat. So how likely would this representative ever be to speak out against meat and the interests of the meat industry?
There is a worldwide and highly effective system of legal manipulation. Nutrition committees are full of lobbyists, nutrition scientists and doctors, PR and marketing experts financed by the meat, milk and egg industries. And these people work out the official dietary recommendations for the world’s human population, which is why recommendations often contradict the latest findings of reputable science that demonstrate the negative effects of animal products on our health. The Campbells write about this manipulative system in their book: “We know an enormous amount about the links between nutrition and health. But the real science has been buried beneath a clutter of irrelevant or even harmful information – junk science, fad diets and food industry propaganda.”
It is a popular and common method of manipulation by the animal agriculture industry and its supporters to question studies by reputable scientists that present clear facts about the health risks of animal products. In such cases, unimportant details of the studies are often criticized, like the methodology of a study. Although the criticism may be completely irrelevant and far-fetched and can in most cases be easily proved wrong, the animal industry nonetheless achieves its goal: since the study was criticized by a supporter of the animal industry, all of a sudden it is considered “controversial”. By using this underhanded and devious method, the credibility of reputable scientists and their studies can be effectively challenged. The average citizen has no opportunity to watch the whole process unfold and equates “controversial” with “wrong” or “dubious”. And it is this uncertain citizen who will often suffer for years from drastic long-term health consequences caused by that kind of manipulative propaganda.
Another popular and common method of manipulation is to focus selectively on certain substances from an unhealthy product, such as milk, which are undoubtedly important to our diet, and manipulatively represent the whole product only by these nutrients. For example, the dairy industry and its supporters have long been focusing on the calcium and protein in milk, which is supposed to be healthy and help you develop strong bones. However, animal protein, especially milk protein, can cause cancer, which has been demonstrated by several studies. Dr T Colin Campbell also studied this problem for The China Study – which was financed by American and Chinese tax money – and found: “What protein consistently and strongly promoted cancer? Casein, which makes up 87 % of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process. What type of protein did not promote the development of cancer even when administered in high doses? All safe proteins were those of plant origin, e. g. wheat and soy.” There are numerous further studies revealing the tremendous health risks associated with milk. But it gets even worse: According to a study conducted by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health in 2013, 92 % of toxic substances in food (including dioxins and PCBs) occur in animal products. Milk and dairy products make up the largest source of these toxins with a share of 54 %!
Calcium is better derived from plant foods. The bioavailability of milk calcium is relatively low compared to several types of vegetables rich in calcium (eg, broccoli), which means that whereas milk is rich in calcium, it cannot be absorbed and used by our bodies very well. Animal-protein sources, including dairy products, meat and eggs, can also cause a significant loss of calcium through the kidneys because of a high amount of sulfurous amino acids. The facts are clear: the protein content that milk is praised for makes the absorption of the calcium that milk is also praised for more difficult and even causes a net loss of calcium! In fact, the osteoporosis rates (bone atrophy) are the highest in countries where people drink the largest amounts of milk and lowest where people drink the least amounts of milk.
It goes without saying that the average citizen doesn’t know that milk contains several types of hormones (such as growth and sex hormones) that are otherwise only available with a doctor’s prescription at a pharmacy because of their health risks. Biologically, cow’s milk is produced to help a calf grow in very little time. When this hormone mixture is ingested by a human, who is not adapted for it, the unsurprising result may be a chronic and even fatal condition, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, strokes or obesity.
To praise the health advantages of milk because of its protein and calcium is just as absurd as praising toxic mushrooms for the healthy vitamins that they undoubtedly contain.
The animal industry’s fairy tales about the alleged health benefits of meat, eggs and dairy products often go unquestioned by uninformed consumers and uninterested politicians. But that’s not all: in the EU and in many countries elsewhere, unhealthy and cruel products are subsidized with tax money. It is scandalous that sales of plant drinks in Germany are impeded by a value-added tax of 19 % while cow’s milk is massively supported by a value-added tax of only 7 % in addition to subsidies. This political activity is absolutely unacceptable since it obviously places the interests of the animal industry above the health of the people whom governments should be representing.
Even the media attacks healthy diets from time to time. In most cases, it never comes to light whether a journalist was simply uninformed or might have had close connections to the animal industry and therefore an economic interest. One example: in 2004, a toddler whose parents had reportedly fed him a vegan diet died. However, the child had not actually eaten any vegan food. In fact, he hadn’t eaten any food at all! He had lost his appetite because he’d contracted pneumonia and hadn’t received medical treatment for the condition. What’s shocking is that the child had not been fed at all and that his parents believed in a special diet called “Urkost” (primordial food), which has nothing to do with a healthy vegan diet. As is too often the case, the media did not think it was necessary to do proper research about the story or the nutritional basics of a vegan diet. Instead, the media condemned vegan diets in the interests and favour of the animal industry with the usual prejudices, even though this very case had nothing to do with veganism. What remains in the public mind, though, is a faulty impression about veganism which is completely in the animal industry’s interests.
Millions of people suffer and die because of extreme malnutrition caused by meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, and animal fats and proteins – from obesity, hypertension, heart attacks, angina pectoris, strokes, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases. In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated a connection between the consumption of animal products and these diseases. Studies have also shown that many fish are contaminated with shockingly high levels of environmental toxins, such as dioxin and heavy metals. The universities of Barcelona and Granada in 2009 conducted separate studies on the mercury levels of children and pregnant women and found a clear connection between fish consumption and mercury contamination. Elevated mercury levels obviously affected the children’s mental effectiveness (memory, language) and were connected with delayed development. Several studies, including a French one from 2007, indicated that fish and milk, in particular, are the most common sources for the intake of toxins (including dioxin, furans and dioxin-like PCBs).
Numerous studies have demonstrated a connection between milk consumption and a number of serious diseases, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, types 1 and 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Statistics published by the World Health Organization about the worldwide incidences of breast cancer correlate with the levels of milk consumption in the respective countries. The “EU-BST-Human-Report”, commissioned by the EU to show the effects of milk consumption on human health, concluded that hormones in milk can increase the growth of malignant tumors, especially in cases of breast and prostate cancer.
The fact that millions of people are victims of animal products is simply accepted as “normal” – it generates no outcry from the media. However, if one person dies because his irresponsible parents fed him a diet that people could only wrongly allege was vegan, the incident sparks a huge public outcry and outrages uninformed consumers and meat-industry representatives. The findings of scientists and the statements of renowned nutritionists and physicians strongly contravene the lyrical rhapsodies of journalists and animal-industry lobbyists. For example, in 2003, in a joint position paper, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or A.N.D. (formerly the American Dietetic Association), and Dietitians of Canada commented on the health advantages of vegan diets. Some of the most renowned dieticians in the US and Canada belong to these organisations. The A.N.D. alone has approximately 70,000 members. The position paper states, in part:
“Well-planned vegan diets and other forms of vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
In addition, Dr Claus Leitzmann, one of the most renowned dieticians in Germany, has said:
“Studies on vegans, which have been done worldwide, and also by us, show clearly that vegans on the average are healthier than the general population. Bodyweight, blood pressure, blood fats and cholesterol, kidney function and general health status are more often normal.”
In 2009, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or A.N.D. (formerly the American Dietetic Association) published an updated position paper on vegetarian and vegan diets and confirmed its support of them. This is outstanding, especially since the connections between the A.N.D. and the animal industry are well known – however, it is simply impossible to ignore the scientific data supporting a vegan diet. The A.N.D. concludes that well-planned vegetarian diets – including vegan diets – are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can even help prevent and treat chronic health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in July 2009, the paper outlines A.N.D.’s official position on vegetarian diets, including a vegan diet:
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (currently, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
Statements like these show that large organizations like the A.N.D. and DC unfortunately make compromises because of their members and their connections to the animal agriculture industry and call vegetarian diets “healthy” even though they are actually very unhealthy because they include unhealthy dairy products and eggs. The only healthy diet is a vegan diet.
The medical organisation PCRM (Physicians‘ Committee for Responsible Medicine) is a nonprofit organisation that supports preventive medicine, conducts clinical research and supports higher standards in research concerning ethics and efficiency. PCRM recommends a vegan diet as the healthiest diet and presents logical reasons for this:
“Vegan diets, which contain no animal products are even healthier than vegetarian diets. Vegan diets contain no cholesterol and even less fat, saturated fat, and calories than vegetarian diets do because they exclude dairy products and eggs. Scientific research shows that health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decreases, making vegan diets the healthiest overall.”
Dr T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, defends the benefits of a plant-based diet:
“In fact, these findings indicate that the vast majority perhaps 80 to 90 % of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented, at least until very old age, simply by adopting a plant-based diet.”
“Additionally, impressive evidence now exists to show that advanced heart disease, relatively advanced cancers of certain types, diabetes and few other degenerative diseases can be reversed by diet.”
Campbell, professor emeritus at Cornell University, has been one of the leading and most renowned scientists of nutrition research worldwide for more than 40 years. He has published more than 300 research papers, and his outstanding survey, The China Study, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever published. It was financed by governmental research funds from the US and China and therefore closely monitored by the authorities.
Here are some quotes from the book The China Study by Dr T Colin Campbell:
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.”
“What protein consistently and strongly promoted cancer? Casein, which makes up 87 % of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process.” What type of protein did not promote the development of cancer even when administered in high doses? All safe proteins were those of plant origin, e. g. wheat and soy.”
“Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.”
“The strong association of a high-animal protein, high-fat diet with reproductive hormones and early age of menarche, both of which raise the risk of breast cancer, is an important observation. It makes clear that we should not have our children consume diets high in animal-based foods.”
“Animal protein intake was convincingly associated in the China Study with the prevalence of cancer in families.”
“The people who eat the most animal protein have the most heart disease, cancer and diabetes.”
“These findings … show that heart disease, diabetes and obesity can be reversed by a healthy diet. Other research shows that various types of cancer, autoimmune diseases, bone health, kidney health, and vision and brain disorders in old age (such as cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s) are convincingly influenced by diet. Most importantly, the diet that has time and again been shown to reverse and/or prevent these diseases is the same whole-foods, plant-based diet that I had found to promote optimal health in my laboratory research and in The China Study. The findings are consistent.”
“The evidence now amassed from researchers around the world shows that the same diet that is good for the prevention of cancer is also good for the prevention of heart disease, as well as obesity, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, cognitive dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and other diseases. Furthermore, this diet can only benefit everyone, regardless of his or her genes and personal dispositions. All of the diseases, and others, spring forth from the same influence: an unhealthy, largely toxic diet and lifestyle that has an excess of sickness-promotion factors and a deficiency of health-promoting factors. In other words, the Western diet. Conversely, there is one diet to counteract all of these diseases: a whole foods, plant-based diet.”
“In short, it is about the multiple health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, and the largely unappreciated health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs.”
“I have come to realize that some of our most revered conventions are wrong and real health has been grossly obscured. Most unfortunately, the unsuspecting public has paid the ultimate price.”
“I want to condense the nutritional lessons learned from this broad range of evidence and from my experiences over the past forty-plus years into a simple guide to nutrition.”
“One of the most fortunate findings from the mountain of nutritional research I’ve encountered is that good food and good health is simple. The biology of the relationship of food and health is exceptionally complex, but the message is still simple. The recommendations coming from the published literature are so simple that I can state them in one sentence: eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salts and added fats.”
“Whether scientists, doctors and policy makers think the public will change or not, the layperson must be aware that a whole foods, plant-based diet is far and away the healthiest diet.”
Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn was included on the list of the best doctors in the US in 1994/1995. For example, he led former US president Bill Clinton to adopt a vegan diet. Dr Esselstyn wrote the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. In this book, he speaks about a study that he conducted in the 1980s and 1990s with patients who had severe heart diseases and who could not expect any improvements from medication or surgery. Many of them had not much time left. All the patients followed a strict low-fat vegan diet and not only survived until the book was finished but also won their health back.
According to the findings of Dr Esselstyn and other scientists, no one ever has to suffer from coronary heart disease, because all cases of the disease are caused by diet, including those that include meat, milk, dairy products, eggs and fish. Coronary heart disease, like heart attacks, is the most common cause of death in Western industrial nations, even more common than cancer. Dr Esselstyn also makes it clear why even a vegetarian diet is not healthy:
“What’s more, eating fat causes the body itself to manufacture excessive amounts of cholesterol, which explains why vegetarians who eat oil, butter, cheese, milk, ice cream, glazed doughnuts, and French pastry develop coronary disease despite their avoidance of meat.”
It therefore comes as no surprise that in some occasional studies vegetarians show an even worse health status than meat eaters – because often the avoidance of meat is overcompensated with the most harmful food products: dairy products. Dr Esselstyn, in all his public appearances and in his book, emphasises that only a plant-based diet without animal products is healthy and can prevent or cure heart disease. He opposes any deviation from a strictly vegan diet:
“And the key to success is attention in detail. In this program, we eliminate entirely the ingestion of all building blocks of atherosclerosis. There are no exceptions. Patients must erase the phrase “This little bit can’t hurt” from their vocabulary and from their thinking. As we have learned, the opposite is true: every little bit can hurt – and does.”
Bill Clinton healed his serious coronary heart disease by adopting a vegan diet, strictly sticking to the principles brought forward by Professor Campbell and Dr Esselstyn. His disease was life-threatening and had required several surgeries before. In an interview, Bill Clinton explained:
“I‘ve stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all.“ He continued by saying: “I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”
Despite the clear and weighty evidence based on reputable scientific facts, large parts of the media, unwitting doctors and alleged “nutritionists” keep spreading incorrect and misleading facts about the animal food industry and archaic and faulty doctrines. Altogether, this is a major health scandal. The prevention of diseases should be considered at least as important as their treatment. But our health systems earn millions with the treatment of chronic diseases caused by unhealthy diets. A massive new health policy aimed at prevention might take away large parts of the health industry’s profits. So it comes as no surprise that the conflicting interests of the health and animal industries, combined with widespread misinformation, have led to a situation in which the prevention of diseases through good nutrition falls by the wayside. And so it completes a circle in which humans, animals and the environment suffer tremendously. It is therefore in the interest of all citizens to look after their own diet.
A vegan diet that is varied and carried out appropriately is the healthiest diet of all – and the only truly healthy diet for human beings. However, just leaving out meat, milk, cheese, eggs and fish won’t make it a healthy diet. A poorly devised vegan diet that is not varied and includes too much refined sugar and too much additional oils and fats is unhealthy, too! And this is despite the numerous scientific nutrition studies that found that the majority of vegans are healthier than meat-eaters and vegetarians.
It must be emphasized once again that a vegetarian diet offers no health advantages and, least of all, any ethical benefit. Although studies have shown a better health status for many vegetarians, this is primarily related to vegetarians generally leading a healthier lifestyle and developing increased health awareness. According to scientific studies, milk and dairy products are the unhealthiest of all foodstuffs (due to high levels of hormones, carcinogenic animal proteins, carcinogenic environmental toxins).
Anybody wishing to eat a vegan diet should be particularly aware of his or her vitamin B12 intake – a vitamin built only by micro-organisms (bacteria). It is therefore mostly found in easily perishable animal foods like meat and milk. It has been suggested that plant-based foods can contain vitamin B12 under certain circumstances, but as this source is too uncertain, I will not discuss this option further. Alleged “experts” tend to name a possible lack of vitamin B12 as the biggest argument against a vegan diet. And this is despite the fact that many omnivores are deficient in vitamin B12, too. In order to make veganism the healthiest diet, one has to make sure his or her diet is varied and obtain an appropriate source of vitamin B12.
For a vegan diet to be the healthiest of all diets, a few simple rules need to be followed. In my view, unfortunately, these principles are considered too seldom.
By analyzing scientific literature, we have established the following 7 golden rules for a healthy vegan diet which I strongly recommend:
The 7 Rules of a Healthy Vegan Diet
- Rule 1
Most importantly: A vegan diet should be as varied as possible
- Rule 2
Take vitamin B12 as a dietary supplement. You may want to add vitamin D in winter (vegan vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 derived from vegan sources). You will get iodine from seaweed or iodized salt – the latter, however, should not be used in large quantities
- Rule 3
Having drinks rich in vitamin C with meals optimizes iron absorption
- Rule 4
Avoid refined sugar and white flour/superfine flour
- Rule 5
Use only small amounts of additional fats or oils (cardiac patients should avoid additional fats or oils completely). This rule does not apply to vegan infants.
My advice: Omega-3 fatty acids are best derived from freshly ground flaxseed
- Rule 6
Industrially processed foods should be consumed rarely
- Rule 7
Aim to eat fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses, and wholemeal products
From a doctor’s perspective, an additional source of vitamin B12, in the form of enriched foods (juice, breakfast cereal, soy milk, etc), as well as vitamin B12 nutritional supplements must be recommended in any case. Alternatively, B12 levels in the blood could be checked regularly. However, if one compares these small precautionary measures to the proven and serious health risks connected with consuming meat, milk, cheese, eggs and fish, one will notice right away how absurd it would be to eat animal products just to obtain vitamin B12. Not only would it be extreme, it would also, in fact, be absolutely ludicrous to try to equate a possible lack of vitamin B12 – which is not even proven and can easily be solved by consuming enriched foods and a supplement – with the massive health risk associated with animal-based products.
Please read Dr Campbell’s book The China Study. Or, better yet, study this book! It will surely be the most important book of your life. This concerns not only your future health and future quality of life but also the health and life of your children – for whom you are responsible.
In his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr Esselstyn remarks that 70 per cent of 12-year-olds in the US showed fatty deposits in their arteries caused by the typical Western diet, including meat, milk, dairy products and refined sugar. These fatty deposits directly cause heart disease. In his book, Professor Campbell refers to a study of American soldiers killed in action who were only 22 years old on average. 77,3 % of the examined hearts had gross evidence of heart disease. At the age of 22! Overweight and unfit people were already rejected!
Every child deserves to have the best possible start in life with the best physical and mental health, and that can be granted through the healthiest nutrition possible. Therefore, every child deserves a healthy, varied vegan diet. It is one of the most important responsibilities of every parent or legal guardian to gain reputable, scientific knowledge of nutrition and to put this knowledge into practice – it’s in their children’s best interests.
However, a vegan diet is not only the healthiest option for humans. Please also consider the wellbeing and health of any companion animals you are responsible for. Dogs that are fed a vegan diet often enjoy better health and achieve a higher age. This can be easily explained, although the difference is not found in the nutrient content. Dogs and cats get all necessary nutrients both from a well balanced meat diet as well as from a well balanced vegan diet. Therefore, from a nutritional point of view, what matters is not the source of nutrients an animal needs but that the animal receives all nutrients to begin with. The difference between these types of diets along with the major benefit a vegan diet provides, are based on the fact that vegan food, unlike a meat diet, contains considerably less harmful ingredients.
According to research of the Federal Office of Public Health in Switzerland (Schweizer Bundesamt für Gesundheit) as well as studies carried out by French health researchers, about 92 % of toxins contained in foodstuffs for human consumption are derived from animal products! Animal feed additionally contains slaughterhouse waste unfit for human consumption.
Crucial research findings of animal tests carried out by Professor Dr T Colin Campbell and other scientists have revealed that animal protein fed to animals is the most significant catalyzer of cancer in animals. In addition, results of numerous scientific studies suggest that also hormones naturally contained in animal products strongly enable cancer growth. These natural carcinogenic substances are present in organic meat or organic milk as well!
Feeding your animal companion a vegan diet is vitally important. An excellent example is the world’s oldest dog who, with 27 years of age, earned himself an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, having been fed a strict vegan diet. For more information on the oldest dog in the world, go to:
My own dog was fed a vegan diet and reached the age of 19. He finally died of side effects from medication he received following an eye operation.
There’s one experience I had over and over again: everyone who speaks against a vegan diet either doesn’t know enough about it or profits from animal products. Concerning the switch to a vegan diet, Professor Campbell says:
“The first month can be challenging, but it gets much easier after that. And for many, it becomes a great pleasure. I know this is hard to believe until you experience it for yourself, but your tastes change when you are on a plant based diet… The bottom line is that you can eat a plant-based diet with great pleasure and satisfaction. But making the transition is a challenge. There are psychological barriers and practical ones. It takes time and effort. You may not get support from your friends and family. But the benefits are nothing short of miraculous. And you’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes once you form new habits.”
These references are highly recommended for further study:
- Vegan Gesund – sich besser fühlen und deutlich leistungsfähiger werden mit der gesündesten Ernährung
The cookbook and standard reference for healthy vegan cuisine by gourmet chef Raphael Lüthy and Doctor Ernst Walter Henrich (ISBN 978-3-00-047572-6)
- The China Study by T Colin Campbell, BenBella Books (ISBN-10: 9781932100662)
- Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Avery, Penguin Group, New York, 2008
- A brief report on health problems caused by dairy products: www.ProVegan.info/schaedigung-milch
- “Milch besser nicht” by Maria Rollinger, JOU-Verlag, ISBN 3-00-013125-6
- The Food Revolution, How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins, Conari Press (ISBN-10: 1573244872) (A fantastic book that I highly recommend!)
- The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, www.pcrm.org
- Vegan Nutrition by Gill Langley, 2nd revised edition, August 1995
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
position paper on the health advantages of a vegetarian and vegan diet, 2009; www.ProVegan.info/ada
- Film on DVD: Forks Over Knives (A very good and informative movie about the work of Dr. Campbell, Dr Esselstyn and other scientists)
- TV report of NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk, ARD) about the health dangers of milk: www.ProVegan.info/video-milch
- An essay about vegan nutrition by Gentle World author Angel Flinn:
- Earthlings is an impressive documentary about factory farming, narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix:
For Human Rights
Around the world, about 1 billion (1,000,000,000) people suffer from hunger. Every second, one person on this planet dies of starvation, 30 million (30,000,000) per year.
Every day, between 6,000 and 43,000 children die of starvation, while about 40 per cent of fish caught worldwide, about 50 per cent of the world’s grain harvest and about 90 per cent of the world’s soy harvest are fed to “farm animals” in the meat and dairy industries! Eighty per cent of the children who go hungry live in countries that have a surplus in food production, but the children remain hungry and die of starvation because the grain surplus is exported to be fed to animals. Using plant foods to produce unhealthy animal products is an absurdity, a scandal and the ultimate waste: to produce just 1 kg of meat, one needs – depending on the species – up to 16 kg of plant foods and 10 to 20 tons (10,000 to 20,000 litres!) of water. This means that vast quantities of plant-based foods are diverted into animal products and are therefore no longer available for human consumption.
Plant foods for “animal farming” are exported from the “Third World” to industrial nations even though children and adults in these poor countries go hungry and die of starvation. You might have heard the saying, “The animals of the rich eat the bread of the poor.” For example, the 1984 famine in Ethiopia didn’t happen because local agriculture didn’t produce food but because this food was exported to Europe to be fed to “farm animals”. It was during this famine – which cost tens of thousands of people their lives – that European countries even imported grain from Ethiopia to feed chickens, pigs and cows. Had the grain been used to feed the Ethiopian people, there wouldn’t have been a famine after all. In Guatemala, about 75 per cent of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. But still, more than 17,000 tons of meat are produced every year to be exported to the US.
Feeding these animals requires enormous amounts of grain and soy – food that remains unavailable to malnourished children. Instead of feeding the starving people of the world, we take their food to feed abused “farm animals” in order to satisfy our illness-inducing addiction to meat, eggs and dairy products. The animal agriculture industry’s enormous need for soy and grain drives prices for these food plants up, which means they become unaffordable to many in countries where people go hungry.
The British newspaper The Guardian clarified in 2002:
“It now seems plain that a vegan diet is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue”.
Dr W Bello, director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, says:
“... the fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock – food for the well off –
while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation”.
This quote from the WorldWatch Institute leaves no doubt:
“Meat consumption is an inefficient use of grain – the grain is used more efficiently when consumed by humans. Continued growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grain to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat-eaters and the world’s poor”.
Dr W Bello, director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, mentioned above, also emphasizes that breeding animals for meat production is a waste of resources:
“… [a] fast-food diet and the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry”.
Philip Wollen is the former vice president of Citibank and was included on the top 40 list of influential executives at the age of 34 by The Australian Business Magazine. He completely changed his life at the age of 40 because he wanted to contribute his share to stopping crimes against animals, humans and the environment:
“When I travel around the world, I see that poor countries sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock. So we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, should I be silent? The Earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed.”
Here are two more quotes from Jean Ziegler, former member of the Swiss National Council and UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food:
“The world‘s grain harvest is about 2 billion tons per year. Over 500,000,000 tons are fed to the cattle of the rich nations – while 43,000 children die of hunger in the 122 Third World countries every day according to UN statistics. I don’t want to participate in this horrible mass murder any longer: eating no meat is the minimum.”
“A child who dies of hunger these days is murdered.”
Murdered by whom? By everyone involved in this system. Also by consumers who finance it with their money!
The political system, especially the EU, subsidizes the meat and dairy industries with massive amounts of tax money. This flies in the face of any reason or morality. The EU’s agricultural subsidies account for almost half of the EU’s annual budget, which means more than 50 billion euros every year. One example of how absurd these EU subsidies really are is that, on the one hand, campaigns against tobacco consumption are financed, and on the other hand, tobacco farming was subsidized for many years, wasting tax money, until January 1, 2010.
Fishing fleets from industrial nations like the US, Japan or from Europe acquire fishing rights for areas surrounding poor countries in, for example, Africa and South America. After plundering these oceans, they move on and leave behind a devastated ecosystem and hungry locals. An article in the British newspaper The Guardian describes it this way:
“We can eat fish, but only if we are prepared to contribute to the collapse of marine ecosystems and – as the European fleet plunders the seas off West Africa – the starvation of some of the hungriest people on earth. It‘s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only sustainable and socially just option is for the inhabitants of the rich world to become, like most of the earth‘s people, broadly vegan.”
Every day, every one of us decides whether he or she wants to participate in the system of the farmed-animal industries by consuming meat, milk, cheese and eggs – including all the cruel consequences for the environment, the starving people and the animals of the world.
Recommended reading for further study:
- The Food Revolution, How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins, Conari Press (ISBN-10: 1573244872) (A fantastic book that I highly recommend!)
- Speech by Philip Wollen:
The Moral Reasons
In today’s society, it is considered completely normal as well as morally acceptable to exploit animals for human use (as in the raising of “dairy” cows), to torture them (as in vivisection) and to kill them (as in the slaughter of “beef cattle”).
Evolution gave humans the ability to realize this exploitation of animals. Mankind is tempted to use this ability to vest itself the so-called “right of the strongest”. This self-awarded right of the strongest is then used as the moral foundation for exploiting, torturing and killing animals.
To the contrary the moral standards of our society are just not based on the “right of the strongest”. A true ethical framework does not allow the strong simply to apply moral tenets randomly in order to suit their own interests. Therefore, the “right of the strongest” and true moral values are mutually exclusive. Although it is clear that the “right of the strongest” cannot be reconciled with our society’s moral values – in fact, moral values exist mainly to shield the weak from the arbitrary actions of the strong – it still needs to be examined whether the human exploitation of animals can ever be considered morally acceptable.
In attempting to morally justify the exploitation of animals, society uses a shaky “ethical” construction. The human species proclaims a higher intrinsic value for itself and simply excludes animals from the current ethical framework of our moral precepts. Simply the power of the so-called “right of the strongest” allows us to elevate our own “value” and devalue animals. This special construct, which people use as a moral justification for exploiting animals, needs to be logically examined so we can decide whether it is in any way morally defensible. However, as I said before, a true ethical framework cannot depend on the “right of the strongest”, and it cannot simply be based on the interests of the powerful.
Just imagine an intellectually superior “super being” which possesses much more power and higher intelligence and is more highly evolved than any human. (It is not unrealistic to think that scientists could one day create such a being through genetic engineering.)
This “super being” would likely have just as much power over humans as humans now have over animals. Naturally, the “super beings” would consider themselves more valuable than humans and humans would therefore be excluded from their moral value system and shunted off into a separate value system.
Would such “super beings” have the “moral” right of the jungle to ...
- torture humans on factory farms or in concentration camps for the humans’ entire lives?
- kill humans in slaughterhouses while many of them are fully conscious?
- artificially inseminate or rape and impregnate human mothers year in and year out in order to steal their milk?
- take these mothers’ babies away from them so the babies won’t drink their milk?
- kill the babies so they can turn them into sausages and other meats?
- kill BSE-infected people and their relatives in mass slaughter facilities?
- transport humans for several days without giving them food or water?
- conduct cruel tests on humans in order to gather information about new medications?
- conduct cruel “scientific” research on humans?
- test toxins on humans in order to ascertain fatal doses?
- celebrate their culture with deadly “human-fighting” rituals in arenas?
- confine humans to prisons and call the prisons zoos?
- force humans to do tricks and call the tricks circus acts?
- go human hunting and call it a sport while even claiming that it is an environmental protection measure?
- enforce a human welfare law that reasons that people can be killed – some while fully conscious – for eating their unhealthy meat and wearing their skins?
- conduct tests on humans in order to test medication that has been developed to cure diseases caused by the unhealthy intake of human meat?
Probably you would consider it as immoral if these “super beings” treat you and your loved ones like this. But why? These “super beings” would be in exactly the same position towards humans like humans towards animals at the present day. It is only the “right of the strongest” that creates the “moral” foundation for justifying the consumption of meat and all the cruelties that result from the purchase of meat, eggs and dairy products.
Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Compassion is the basis of all morality”. That includes compassion towards a weaker being who is at my mercy. Of course, you – as a compassionate living being – would claim that a “super being” is only acting morally if he or she spares you and your loved ones. However, if you think that it is unethical for super beings to exploit humans based on an arbitrary, self-determined “might makes right” values system, it is only logical to conclude that it is just as unethical for humans to exploit animals on the same “moral” construct.
Therefore, humans only act morally with respect to animals who are at our mercy when we spare them and refuse to exploit them or cause them suffering by buying meat, milk and eggs at the counter. Or do moral values only exist for you if they fall in your favour and protect you against “might makes right”? Or do moral values only exist for you if they fall in your favor and protect you against the “right of the strongest”?
If moral can be randomly applied, and depends on one´s own position of strength or weakness, then these “moral” constructions are not really morals but rather pseudo-morals to justify one´s own brutal and egoistic misuse of strength against the weak. Such pseudo-morals only serve to satisfy one’s own selfish interests at the expense of helpless, weaker beings and are simply psychological constructs that are used to clear one’s conscience and whitewash one’s own participation in crimes against weaker beings.
How legitimate is a system of morals that is accepted only if we selfishly profit from it but not if it would allow a stronger individual to exploit us, kill us or cause us suffering? These pretended morals are unmasked as pseudo-morals, double standards and moral crimes. In the end, these pseudo-morals are evidence of our moral ineptitude.
Now it has been proven that the “ethical constructs” of our society in relation to animals, as they are currently applied, are based on a wrong thinking and inconsistent “pseudo-morality” and are used to justify our crimes against weaker beings. The crimes that are “legitimised” by this pseudo-morality are also legalised through so-called animal “welfare” laws in order to make them appear morally correct and, at first glance, almost impossible to question. But the logical examination of the facts clearly reveals that immoral acts – which are easily revealed as such – are actually the foundation for animal exploitation, which is easy for everybody to understand.
The history of mankind is filled with moral crimes, all of which were legal at some point in time. Just think of slavery or racial discrimination. For this very reason, Dr Martin Luther King, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said:
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
It is legal to torture and abuse animals every day of their lives and to finally murder them. The fate animals are suffering is perhaps the most horrendous and worst atrocity ever caused by humans. John Maxwell „J. M.“ Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, commented:
“Let me say it openly: We are surrounded by an enterprise of degradation, cruelty, and killing which rivals anything that the Third Reich was capable of, indeed dwarfs it, in that ours is an enterprise without end, re-generating, bringing rabbits, rats, poultry, livestock ceaselessly into the world for the purpose of killing them.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jewish winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who lost many family members in the persecution of the Jews by Germany’s Nazis, puts it this way:
“As long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers à la Hitler and concentration camps à la Stalin. [...] There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.”
Romain Rolland (1866-1944), a Nobel Prize winner who lived before the crimes of factory farming were committed, wrote:
“In my view, the cruelty towards animals or even the indifference towards their suffering is one of the gravest sins ever committed by humankind. It is the foundation of human depravity. With man causing such enormous suffering, what right has he got to lament about his own suffering?”
“There is no impersonal reason for regarding the interests of human beings as more important than those of animals.” Bertrand Russell, mathematician and philosopher, 1950 Nobel Prize for Literature (1872-1970)
It is now up to you to decide: do you want to hide behind rogue pseudo-morality while taking part in the crimes that are perpetrated against weaker beings (by consuming animal products), or do you want to open a chance to a true and honest-to-goodness moral system in your personal life that considers the rights and welfare of weaker beings?
I highly recommend the following publications for further information:
- Food Revolution, How your diet can help save your life and our world, John Robbins (in English), Conari Press,
ISBN 978-1-57324-702-3 A fantastic book – highly recommended
For Animal Welfare and Animal Rights
At first glance, it is difficult to get a complete picture of the extent and severity of animal exploitation. It happens behind high walls in order not to spoil people’s appetite for meat, eggs and dairy products and not to confront customers with the devastating consequences of their shady delicacies.
From time to time, we get to see TV reports and documentaries that show the conditions endured by animals on factory farms, in slaughterhouses, on trucks, etc. However, the meat, egg and dairy industries – as well as politicians – quickly underplay these reports (saying that they are “fake”, “manipulated” and “not up to date” or that the conditions they reveal are “exceptions”, etc) in order to put consumers’ minds at ease. But anyone who looks closely at the facts quickly discovers that the animals’ suffering is really desperate. The best way to get the real story is to witness firsthand what happens on factory farms and in slaughterhouses or to watch films about what happens at such facilities. Unfortunately, words and texts can give an impression of the suffering only to some extent.
Dr Christiane M Haupt, a veterinarian, wrote a revealing report about her experience within the meat industry. The following is the unedited version of the full report, which is available (in English) at
“For a mouthful of meat ...”
A report by Dr. Christiane M. Haupt
The inscription above the concrete ramps reads: “Only animals that are transported in accordance with animal protection laws and that are correctly identified are accepted”. At the end of the ramp lies a dead pig, pale and stiff. “Yes, some die already during transport. From cardiac arrest.”
Luckily I have brought my old jacket. At the beginning of October it is already freezing cold. That, however, is not the only reason for me to shiver. I bury my hands in my pockets and try to keep a friendly face as I listen to the director of the abattoir. He explains that for a long time there has been no complete health check on animals, only an inspection. 700 pigs per day – how else could they cope? “There are no sick animals anyway. They would be sent back immediately, and the supplier would face a stiff fine. They only try it once and then never again.” I nod obligingly – stay calm. Keep a stiff upper lip. You have to get through these six weeks somehow – and wonder what happens to sick pigs. “There is a special abattoir for them.” I hear about transport regulations and how important the protection of animals is these days. These words, pronounced in a place like this, have a macabre ring to them. In the meantime a double-decker lorry has pulled up at the ramp. Screams and grunts emerge from it. It is difficult to distinguish details in the dim morning light; the whole scene seems surreal and is reminiscent of sinister television reports from war zones – rows of grey train wagons into which terrified, pale-faced people are being driven by armed men. All of a sudden I find myself in the middle of the horror. This is the stuff nightmares are made of, from which one awakes in a cold sweat, terrified – surrounded by fog and icy cold, in the dirty half-light of this repulsive building, this flat anonymous block of concrete, steel and white tiles at the edge of a frozen wood: it is here where the indescribable happens, that nobody wants to know about.
The cries are the first thing I hear when I arrive to start my practical training. It is obligatory; a refusal to participate would have meant five years of studies gone to waste and the end to all my future plans. Nevertheless, every fibre in my body, every thought in my head screams rejection. I am disgusted and shocked and feel utterly helpless. Being forced to watch, being unable to help. They are forcing me to participate, to soil myself with blood. As I get off the bus, even from a distance the screams of the pigs cut through me like a knife. For six weeks this sound will be in my ears, hour after hour, without respite. Stand firm. For me there is an end to this ordeal. For the animals, there isn’t.
An empty square, some refrigerated lorries. From a brightly lit doorway, half pig carcasses hanging from hooks are visible. Everything meticulously clean. This is the front. I am looking for the entrance, which I find at the side. Two cattle trucks pass, yellow headlights in the morning mist. A dim light shows me the way, brightly lit windows. A few steps – and I am inside. White tiles everywhere. Nobody in sight. A white corridor – there is the changing room for ladies. It is almost seven and I change: white, white and white again! My borrowed helmet is wobbling grotesquely on my straight hair. My boots are too big. I shuffle back to the corridor and almost run into the responsible veterinarian. A polite greeting: “I’m the new trainee.” Formalities before the start. “Put on something warm, go and see the director and hand over your medical certificate. Dr. XX will then tell you what to do.”
The director is a jovial man, who first of all tells me of the good old days when the slaughterhouses had not yet been privatised. Then, unfortunately, he stops and decides to personally show me around. I find myself on the ramp. On my right, some concrete holding-pens with iron bars. Some of them are already filled with pigs. “We start here at 5 o’clock in the morning.” The pigs are scrambling, a few quarrels here and there, a few curious snouts poke through the bars; smart eyes. Some animals are nervous and bewildered. A large sow insists on attacking others. The director grabs a stick and hits her several times on the head: “Otherwise there will be serious fights.” At the bottom of the slope, the loading ramp of the lorry is lowered. The pigs nearest to the exit are frightened of the wobbly and steep passage but the animals at the back are pushing because a worker is hitting them with a rubber hose. In [the] future I will not be surprised anymore when I see red marks on pig carcasses.
“It’s against the law to use electric prods on pigs”, explains the director. Some animals make the first steps, hesitant and stumbling. The others follow. One pig slips and its leg gets caught; the animal gets up and limps forward. All of them end up between iron bars leading them to the holding-pens. At every corner the animals get stuck and blockages result. The worker is furious and swears as he lashes out at the animals in the last rows. They panic and try to jump onto the backs of their fellow sufferers. The director shakes his head: “Brainless, simply brainless. How many times have I told you already that it’s pointless hitting the ones at the back?” While I stare at this horrible spectacle – this can’t be real, you must be dreaming – the director greets a lorry driver who has just pulled up next to the others and is getting ready to unload. This procedure takes considerably less time but with far more animal cries and I quickly see why: behind the stumbling pigs, a second man has appeared and when things aren’t going fast enough, the animals receive electric shocks. I stare at the man and at the director who shakes his head again: “Really, don’t you know that this is not allowed anymore for pigs?” The man looks incredulous but then puts the gadget in his pocket.
From behind, something nudges the back of my leg. I turn around and look into two intelligent blue eyes. I know many animal lovers who enthuse about the deep sentiments one can read in the eyes of a cat, or the unfailingly loyal and faithful regard in the eyes of a dog. But who has ever talked about the intelligence and curiosity in the eyes of a pig? Soon, I am going to see quite another expression in these eyes: quiet screams of fear, overcome with pain, empty eyes torn from their sockets, rolling on the blood-stained floor. A sharp thought hits me and it will continue to haunt me in the coming weeks: Eating meat is a crime – a crime: ...
A tour of the abattoir follows, starting in the staff room that has an open window towards the slaughter hall, disclosing a never-ending parade of pale and bloody pig halves. Indifferently, two employees are having their breakfast: sandwich and cold meat. Their white gowns are covered in blood. A bit of flesh is stuck to one of their boots. Here, the hellish tumult is somewhat muted, but that changes immediately as I am led to the slaughter hall. I retreat hastily when a pig carcass swishes around the corner and hits another. It brushes against me, warm and doughy. This can’t be true – it’s absurd – impossible.
Everything hits me at the same time. Piercing cries. The grating of machinery, the metallic sound of tools. The penetrating stench of blood and hot water. Laughter, casual remarks. Flashing knives, hooks in twitching animal halves without eyes. Chunks of flesh and organs fall into a gutter where blood flows in abundance so that the disgusting liquid splashes over me. Slippery lumps of meat on the floor. Men in white, blood dripping down their clothing. Under helmets and caps, the faces are just like any other that you might see on the metro, in the cinema or in the supermarket. You expect monsters but instead you meet the nice granddad from next door, the funny young man in the street, the well-groomed bank manager. Friendly greetings. The director quickly shows me the hall where cattle are slaughtered. It is empty. “Tuesday is the bovines’ turn.” He introduces me to a lady and disappears; he is busy. “Feel free to have a look around in this slaughter hall.” It will take three weeks before I have the courage to do so.
I am allowed to enjoy one day of grace by sitting next to the staff room cutting small pieces of meat from a bucket, samples that a blood-stained hand from the slaughter room refills regularly. Each piece – one animal. Individual portions are chopped; hydrochloric acid is added and boiled – for the trichina test. The lady introduces me to the system. Trichina is never found, but the test is obligatory.
The next day, I find myself part of the gigantic killing machine. A rapid introduction: “Here, you remove the rest of the pharynx and cut knots of the lymphatic glands …”. I cut. I have to work fast because the production line keeps moving. Above me, other pieces of carcass are cut out. When my colleague works too fast or when the bloody mess blocks the gully, the broth hits my face. I try to move to the other side but there, an enormous water-cooled blade cuts the pig carcasses in two: it is impossible to stay there without getting soaked to the bone. Gritting my teeth, I continue cutting. I must hurry and don’t have time to reflect at all on this horror. Furthermore, I have to be damned careful not to cut my fingers off.
The next day, I borrow a metal glove from a colleague who has already gone through the ordeal. And I stop counting the blood-dripping pigs that parade before me. I do not use rubber gloves any longer. It is absolutely repugnant to plunge your bare hands inside still warm carcasses, but because you get soiled with blood up to the shoulders and the sticky mixture of corporal fluids seeps into the gloves anyway, they are useless. Why does anyone bother to make horror films, when all this is right here?
The knife is soon blunt. “Give that to me, I’ll sharpen it for you.” The nice granddad, in reality a former meat inspector, winks at me. Having handed me back my sharpened knife, he starts to chat about this and that, and he tells me a joke before going back to work. From then on he takes me under his wing a little and shows me a few tricks that make the work on the production line a bit easier. “You don’t like all this, do you? I can tell. But it has to be done.” I do not manage to find him unpleasant. He goes through a lot of trouble to reassure me. Most of the others also make an effort to help me. I am sure that they find the endless parade of numerous trainees amusing, to see that we are shocked at first and then grit our teeth in order to complete our training. They are well-meaning people, there are no petty squabbles. I must admit that I cannot consider the workers as monsters, apart from a few exceptions. They simply become indifferent, just like me, as time goes by. It is self-protection.
The real monsters are those who order this massacre each and every day, and who, because of their greed for meat, condemn animals to a miserable life and an appalling end, and force other humans to do a job which is degrading and which transforms them into rough, coarse beings.
Me, I am progressively turning into a small cog in this monstrous automatism of death. The hours seem like an eternity but at some point the monotonous movements become routine – and exhausting. In danger of being suffocated by the deafening racket and presence of indescribable and omnipresent horror, comprehension retakes the upper hand on the dazed senses and starts functioning again. Differentiates, tries to make sense. Impossible.
When, during the second or third day, I become aware that burned and torn animal bodies still move and tiny tails are still wagging, I freeze. “They’re ... they’re still moving!” I stutter when a veterinary passes by, even though I am well aware that the nerves are bound to still be twitching after a while. He grins: “Damn, someone’s made a mistake, it’s not quite dead.” A spooky pulse makes animal halves tremble, everywhere. A place of horror, I am frozen to the very marrow of my bones.
At home I lie down on my bed and stare at the ceiling. Hours pass. Every day. People near me get irritated. “Don’t look so miserable. Smile. After all, it was you who insisted on becoming a vet.” Veterinarian, yes. Not a butcher of animals. I am cracking up. These remarks. This indifference. This matter-of-fact murder. I want to, I need to speak out, to get it off my chest. I am suffocating. I want to talk about the pig that couldn’t walk anymore and was crouching with spread legs and was kicked and battered until it was in the killing box. I have seen the animal again when both its halves dangled in front of me: The muscles were torn on both sides of slaughter number 530 of that day. I shall never forget that number.
I want to speak about the days when cows are killed, their gentle brown eyes filled with panic. Their attempts to escape the blows and the curses, until the hapless animal is finally imprisoned behind iron bars from where a panoramic view shows where the cow’s unfortunate companions are being skinned and cut into pieces. A deadly shot. A chain on the hind leg pulling the wriggling body up while the head is severed. A stream of blood spurts in profusion from the headless but still writhing body and its kicking legs. I need to talk about the atrocious munching noise when a machine rips the skin off a body, the automated rolling movement of a finger which pulls and twists, a bloodied and protruding eyeball from its socket before it is thrown into a hole in the ground where “waste” disappears. There is the aluminium waste chute, where the internal organs torn out of huge headless corpses, with the exception of liver, heart, the lungs and tongue, which are all destined for consumption, slide into some kind of rubbish collector.
I want to report that again and again in the midst of these sticky, bloody mountains a gravid uterus is seen. I saw tiny calves, already fully-formed, of all sizes, fragile and naked, their eyes closed inside the uterine envelope which can no longer protect them, the smallest as tiny as a new-born kitten, but nonetheless a miniature cow, the biggest with a silky coat of brown-white hairs, with long silky eyelashes, only a few weeks away from birth. “Isn’t it a miracle, what nature creates?” remarked the vet on duty that week, whilst throwing the uterus with the foetus inside it into the gaping throat of the rubbish mill. I am now certain that no God can exist because no lightning came down from the sky to punish the crimes committed down here, crimes which will be perpetuated interminably.
There is no God to help the pitiful skinny cow that on my arrival at 7 o’clock in the morning is lying in convulsions in the drafty and icy corridor in front of the killing box. Nobody has enough compassion to put her out of her misery with a quick shot. First the other animals need to “be taken care of”. When I leave around lunch time, the cow is still [lying] there, twitching. In spite of several appeals, nobody has helped. I loosen the rope which was cutting into her flesh and stroke her forehead. She looks at me with her huge eyes and I learn then and there that cows can cry. The guilt of watching a crime without reacting is as difficult to bear as the crime one commits oneself. I feel immensely guilty.
My hands, my gown and my boots are soiled with the blood of her species. I have been at the production line for hours, cut hearts and lungs and livers. I had been warned: “To cut up cows is a messy business.” I want to talk about all these things, so that I don’t have to carry this burden alone. But hardly anyone wants to listen. Yes, people had asked me: “What is it like in an abattoir? I couldn’t do it.” My fingernails cut into my palms so that I do not hit these commiserating faces or throw the telephone out of the window. I want to scream but the horror I have experienced each and every day suffocates me. Nobody has asked me if I cope. Embarrassed reactions to short answers show uneasiness: “Yes, all that is absolutely terrible. That’s why we eat meat only occasionally.” Often people encourage me: “Bite the bullet! Keep a stiff upper lip. It will soon be over!” This is one of the worst, most heartless and ignorant remarks! The massacre continues, day after day. It seems that nobody understands my problem is not to survive these horrible six weeks, but that monstrous mass-murder happens millions of times – on behalf of those amongst us who eat meat. Now I consider all those who pretend to be friends of animals and still eat meat as fakes.
“Stop, you’re making me lose my appetite!” More than once this remark stopped my report, followed by the escalation: “But you are a terrorist! Every normal person laughs about you”. One feels so terribly lost and alone at these moments. Now and then I look at the tiny cow foetus that I took home and which I put in formaldehyde. Memento Mori. Let them laugh, the “normal people”.
Perspectives change when one is surrounded by so many violent deaths; one’s own life seems infinitely insignificant. When I look at the anonymous rows of ripped up pigs being pulled across the hall the question springs to mind: “Would things be different if humans instead of pigs were hanging there?” In fact, the anatomy of the hind part of the animal, fat, dotted with pustules and red marks, reminds me strangely of what squeezes out of tight beach clothes in sunny holiday places. The never-ending screams that fill the slaughter halls when the animals feel death could also stem from women and children. Callousness is inevitable. At one point I can only think that I want it to stop. I want it to stop. Hasten with the electric stunning so that it stops. “Many don’t make any noise”, said one of the veterinarians, “others scream their heads off, without any reason”
I look at the scene – how they stand there and scream “without any reason”. More than half of the time of my course had passed before I finally ventured inside the slaughter hall to be able to say: “I’ve seen it.” Here is the end of the circle which started with the unloading ramp and the dismal corridor with capacity for 4 or 5 pigs. If I had to portray the concept of “fear” in images, I would do so by drawing the pigs huddled up against one another in front of the closed door, and I would draw their eyes. Eyes I shall never forget. Eyes that everyone who wants meat ought to see.
The pigs are separated with the aid of a rubber cudgel. One of them is pushed in the direction of a space enclosed on all sides. It cries, and tries to back up and escape from where it came, but there is no escape. At the press of a button, the floor of the pen is replaced by a kind of moving walk-way leading to another box. There the butcher – I secretly called him Frankenstein – activates the electrodes. A three-pointed stunning device, as the director explained to me. We see the pig bucking as the moving walkway is brusquely withdrawn and the twitching animal slides over a blood-covered slide. A second butcher plunges his knife under the front right of the pig; a flow of dark blood spurts and the body slumps forwards. A few seconds later, an iron chain closes around one of the animal’s rear legs and the animal is swung upwards. The floor is covered with a pool of blood at least a centimetre deep – a dirty, blood-spattered bottle of cola in the middle. The butcher grabs the bottle and has a drink.
I follow the carcasses that, swinging from their hooks, and bleeding abundantly, are directed towards “hell”. That’s how I denoted the next room. This one is high and black, full of smut, stench, and smoke. After several bends during which the blood continues to flow into pools, the row of pigs arrive at a kind of enormous oven. It’s here that the pigs’ bristles are eliminated. The animals’ bodies plunge into a crater in the interior of the machine. One can see inside. Flames flare up and for several seconds; the bodies shake and seem to perform a grotesque sort of jumping dance. They are then taken to the other side on a large table where butchers remove the remaining bristles, scrape the eye-sockets and separate the trotters. All this happens very rapidly: work on a conveyer belt. Hanging from hooks by the tendons of their back legs, the dead animals are then directed towards a metal flatbed containing a kind of flame-thrower.
In the deafening noise, the body of the animal is subjected to a jet of flames which, in the course of a few seconds, envelope it entirely. The conveyor belt then moves on again and transports the body into the next hall, the same one in which I found myself during the first three weeks. There, the organs are removed and placed onto another conveyor belt higher up. The tongue is examined, the tonsils and the oesophagus severed and thrown away, the lymphatic ganglions cut, the lungs put in the waste, the tracheal artery and the heart opened, the samples for the trichina analyses taken, the gall bladder pulled out and the liver examined for any sign of the presence of worms. Many pigs have worms and if their livers are full of them, it must be thrown away. All the other organs, like the stomach, the intestines, the genitals, are scrapped. On the lower conveyor belt, the rest of the body is prepared: divided into pieces; the articulations cut, the anus, the kidneys and the fatty parts surrounding the kidneys taken out; the brain and the spinal cord removed, etc., and finally a mark is imprinted on several bodies that are prepared, weighed and transported towards the cold room. The animals judged unfit for consumption are “provisionally confiscated”. The marking is a difficult operation for the newcomer because the warm, sticky carcasses hang very high up at the end of the line and care must be taken that the dangling animals don’t knock the workers out.
I can’t say how many times my gaze strays to the wall clock in the staff room. But it’s certain that there is no other place on Earth where the time passes more slowly than it does here. A break is granted in the middle of the morning, and with a sigh of relief I rush to the toilets and do my best to clean myself of the blood and chunks of flesh; it seems as if these stains and this smell will cling to me forever. Get out, just get out of here. I am unable to eat the smallest mouthful of food in this building. Either I spend my break-time, as cold as it may be outside, running around the perimeter fence, where I regard from afar the fields and the beginning of the woods and watch the crows. Or else, I cross the street and go to the shopping centre where I can warm myself up by drinking a coffee in a small baker’s shop. Twenty minutes later – back at the production line.
Eating meat is a crime. Never again will I be able to accept those people who eat meat as my friends. Never, never again. I think that all those who eat meat should be sent here, and be made to see what happens, from the beginning to the end.
I am not in this position because I want to become a vet, but because people insist on eating meat. And not only that: It is also because they are cowards. Their escalope, whitened, sterile, purchased at the supermarket, no longer has eyes that pour tears of fright before death, it no longer screams. All of those who consume these corpses of shame take great care not to face reality: “Really, I cannot watch things like that”.
One day, a farmer came and brought meat samples to be analysed for trichina. His small son who was with him pressed his nose against the window. I thought that perhaps if the children could see all this horror, all these animals being killed, then perhaps we could hope that things might change. But I can still hear the child call out to his father: “Daddy, look over there! What an enormous saw!” That evening, a television report talked about a “mystery still unresolved of the young girl who was murdered and cut into pieces.” I remember the general outcry and the disgust of the population in the face of this atrocity. I say: “The same atrocities, I’ve seen 3,700 of them in just one week in the abattoir.” Now, I am not only a terrorist, but I am also sick, up there, in my head. Because I feel not only terror and revulsion towards a murder committed upon a human being, but also towards those committed thousands of times upon animals, in one single week and in one single abattoir. Being human, doesn’t that signify saying no and refusing to be a silent partner in murder on a grand scale, for a piece of meat? Strange new world. It is possible that the tiny calves inside their mothers’ torn uteruses, dead even before they were born, had the best deal of all.
In one way or another, the last of these interminable days has finally arrived and I have received my training certificate, a scrap of paper, for which the price paid was so high. I have never paid so much for anything. The door closes behind me; a timorous November sun accompanies me from the heart of the abattoir as far as the bus stop. The cries of the animals and the sound of the machines fade. I cross the road as a large wagon transporting animals rounds the bend to enter the abattoir. It is filled on two levels with pigs, crammed one against the other.
I leave without a backwards glance because I have borne witness and, at present, I want to try to forget and to continue to live. It is up to others to fight now; myself, it is my strength, my will, and my joy of living that have been taken away from me and replaced by a sentiment of guilt and paralysing sadness. Hell is amongst us, thousands and thousands of times, day after day. There is one thing left however, and forever, for each one of us to do. Say, “No!”, “No, no and no again!” (End of Dr Christiane M Haupt’s report)
Renowned author and psychologist Dr Helmut Kaplan discusses Christiane Haupt’s report in his essay “The Betrayal of Animals” (full text in German only: www.tierrechte-kaplan.org/kompendium/a214.htm). The following is a short excerpt:
A 12-minute videotape released in 2001 proved in a gruesome way that Christiane M. Haupt did not just accidentally choose a particularly awful slaughterhouse at a bad time. It wasn’t filmed with “hidden cameras” but during an official video shoot at an EU-certified slaughterhouse in the border region between Upper Austria and Bavaria.
A key scene: “A huge bull was pulled up by his hind leg with an iron chain and now hangs at the assembly line upside down – seemingly stunned by the bolt gun. The slaughterer cuts his throat with a big knife; blood gushes out. (…) Suddenly, the spectator shivers: While the slaughterer whistles his way through cutting the bull’s chest open, the animal’s eyes slowly open up and shut again. Then the bull starts to scream – it is easily audible on the video: a horrible, coarse, gurgling moo drowns out the slaughterhouse noise. Finally, the animal – streaming with blood – even starts to rear several times. The slaughterer, who is busy cutting off the front hooves, has to take cover. The bull’s struggle continues for minutes.”
As I said before, these gruesome scenes are part of slaughterhouses’ everyday business (this slaughterhouse was even considered an “exemplary facility”; therefore, we have to assume that conditions are even worse in other slaughterhouses): Out of 30 animals who had been stunned with bolt guns over the course of one hour at this slaughterhouse, six woke up again.
A revised version of the video (which was shown by several German TV magazines) included more cruel scenes that had not been previously revealed: “The revised version features a scene that shows that the bull is not only screaming during his struggle. When the slaughterer cleans the blood from himself and the slaughter room with a hose, the suffering animal uses his last ounce of strength to try to reach the water jet with his tongue. The footage clearly documents that these animals are fully conscious. They are aware of their environment while being cut up and made into meat on the assembly lines.”
Please go to
to watch the entire video.
The reason that animals are sometimes insufficiently stunned – besides the ever-scandalous fact that workers have to deal with a set amount of animals in a certain amount of time and audits are rare – is that slaughter regulations are changing because of BSE cases: From the beginning of 2001, the use of so-called pithing was banned because it could potentially spread infected nerve tissue to the whole body. When pithing was used, a rod was inserted into the spinal cord through the bullet hole, causing irreversible brain death and ensuring that the animal would not feel any pain afterwards. Ingrid Schütt-Abraham of the German Federal Institute for Health-Related Consumer Protection and Veterinary Medicine said that with the ban on pithing, “insufficient results” were “bound to occur”. On the other hand, veterinarian Karl Wenzel of the Munich Consumer Ministry stated that the ban revealed that inefficient stunning really occurred or that for some animals the current bolt stunning was just not sufficient.
Klaus Troeger of the German Federal Institute for Meat Research in Kulmbach said that before the EU regulation of January 2001 (ie, before the pithing ban was enforced) “problems caused by wrongly placed applications of the bolt gun” were “concealed”
Dr Kaplan continues:
Some of us have had the painful experience of being betrayed by someone. It can take years to recover from the shock of realizing that one has been deceived in the most egregious manner. For some people, the shock remains for a lifetime. But this is nothing compared to how we betray animals! Animals now in slaughterhouses might have been well cared for by someone in the past. Organic farmers, for example, are always keen to assure people how close they are to their animals. We have all seen the pictures of farmers “lovingly” petting their animals. And then, all of a sudden, these animals find themselves in hell, surrounded by people inflicting unbelievably cruel suffering on them. Veterinary intern Christiane M Haupt experienced the betrayal of animals firsthand – and broke down: “I bore witness and now I want to try and forget in order to be able to continue with my life. Others can fight now; in that house, they took my strength away … and replaced it with guilt and crippling sadness.”
Gail A Eisnitz’s book Slaughterhouse proves that the suffering described so far is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what happens every day in slaughterhouses in the “civilised” world. The author talked to slaughterhouse workers who had a combined 2 million hours of experience at the stunning box. The following excerpts from interviews with slaughterhouse workers were published for a presentation of Eisnetz’s book on 18 September 1999:
“I’ve seen beef still alive ... I’ve heard them moo when people with air knives were trying to take the hide off. ... I think it’s cruel for the animal to be dying little by little while everybody’s doing their various jobs on it.” “The majority of the cows they hang up … are still alive. They open them up. Skin them. They’re still alive. ... Their feet are cut off. They have their eyes wide open and they’re crying. They’re yelling, and you can see their eyes popping out.”
“An employee recently told me about a cow who got her leg stuck when the floor of a truck collapsed. ‘How’d you get her out alive?’ I asked the guy. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘we just went underneath the truck and cut her leg off.’ If somebody tells you this, you know there’s a lot of things nobody’s telling you.”
“Another time, there was a live hog in the pit. It hadn’t done anything wrong, wasn’t even running around. ... I took a three foot chunk of pipe and I literally beat that hog to death.”
“If you get a hog that refuses to move, you take a meat hook and clip it into his anus. ... Then you drag him backwards. [You’re] dragging these hogs alive, and a lot of times the meat hook rips out of the bunghole.”
“One time, I took my knife – it’s sharp enough – and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of lunch meat. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing its nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt left on my hand and I stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”
“After a while you become desensitized. ... When you got a live hog, you not only kill it, you want to make it hurt. You go in hard, blow the windpipe, make it drown in its own blood. A live hog would be looking up at me and I would just take my knife and (…) take its eye out while it was just sitting there. And this hog would just scream.”
(End of excerpt. Go to www.tierrechte-kaplan.org/kompendium/a214.htm to find the complete text and references.)
The perpetrators of abuse and their political supporters downplay these reports about cruelty to animals as exceptions to the rule, claiming that the Animal Welfare Act protects animals. However, the opposite is true. In reality, worldwide “animal welfare” laws are merely “animal use” laws that cause animal suffering and exist purely in order to legalize cruel animal exploitation.
“Dairy cows” typically become completely worn out by continuous milk production quickly and are slaughtered when the emaciated animals are no longer able to give enough milk. Instead of living for about 25 – 30 years, which would be their normal life span, emaciated “dairy cows” are usually “discarded” by the time they are 3 – 5 years old. This is because these suffering “high-output cows” were not made for such extreme exploitation. They are susceptible to a painful udder infection called “mastitis” that is either treated with antibiotics or causes the cow to end up in the slaughterhouse. Pus, antibiotic residues and residues of other medications in dairy products therefore come as no surprise.
The cows are artificially inseminated (raped) and impregnated each year so that they will continue to give milk; because cows only give milk after having given birth to a calf. After a cow gives birth, mother and calf are separated, traumatizing them both. Because of their natural instincts, this separation is so traumatic that the cow and her calf will cry out, moo or bellow for days. However, for these calves, the suffering does not end there. Female calves are used in milk production to replace their exhausted mothers. They, too, enter a vicious circle of forced pregnancy, physical exhaustion through intensive milk extraction, giving birth and suffering from the separation from their calves during their abbreviated lives. Male calves are fattened for meat production in tiny, dark barns where they often live in stalls hardly bigger than their own body. But because too many calves are “produced” in the milk industry worldwide, they are simply destroyed in so-called “Herodes slaughterhouses”. Such cruelty only exists because consumers want to consume milk and dairy products – although the severe health consequences of dairy consumption have been proved by numerous scientific studies.
Most people know about the cruelty inherent in the production of eggs in facilities where so-called “laying hens” are exploited. Even the German Constitutional Court (as part of its so-called “laying hen decision”) determined that the treatment of hens in these facilities constitutes cruelty to animals. Still, the cruelty continues. The intensive farming of laying hens who live at the ground level in organic farming systems also denies the animals the opportunity to fulfill their basic needs and clearly amounts to cruelty to animals.
Whereas only female chickens lay eggs, male chicks are considered useless to the egg industry and are typically gassed or shredded alive. Only some breeds are raised for meat production. Even among organic farmers, the daily destruction of young animals is considered normal and is allowed under worldwide “animal welfare” laws because consumers crave for cholesterol-laden eggs.
Countless videos (both overt and undercover) taken in slaughterhouses all over the world show that animals are not only exposed to the inevitable terror and torture of factory farming and mass slaughter but also deliberately and sadistically tortured by workers in the animal industry and in slaughterhouses with shocking frequency. For me as a physician with expertise in psychology and psychiatry, such extreme cruelty to animals in slaughterhouses and farms is not all that surprising. After the evaluation of numerous film documents, farms and slaughterhouses seem to be ideal settings for sadistic perversions to be acted upon (almost always with impunity). Any consumer of animal products should be aware of this. By the way, exhausted milk cows and laying hens are killed in the very same slaughterhouses as animals raised for meat once no more profit can be squeezed out of them. So ultimately, there is no real ethical difference between the consumption of meat and the consumption of milk and eggs.
Organic animals are killed in the same slaughterhouses and face the same horrors as all other slaughter animals. Labeling an animal product as “organic” is merely a marketing trick aimed at manipulating compassionate people into consuming meat, milk and eggs while keeping a reasonably clear conscience.
Our so-called “Animal Welfare” fails miserably when it comes to protecting farm animals. In reality, it merely offers protection for “cuddly animals“, such as dogs and cats. The journalist Ingolf Bossenz put it in a nutshell by saying:
„In a civil society Animal Welfare is clearly defined. People cuddling a dog with one hand while stuffing themselves on meat with the other hand are schizophrenic prototypes.”
Every consumer – each day at the counter – decides whether to support, to induce and to cause the cruel exploitation and the endless suffering and killing of animals by buying meat, fish, milk, dairy products, cheese or eggs.
- The Food Revolution, How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins, Conari Press (ISBN-10: 1573244872) (A fantastic book that I highly recommend!)
- Earthlings is an impressive documentary about factory farming, narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix: www.ProVegan.info/video-earthlings-en
For the Climate and Environmental Protection
The 20th century’s greatest genius, Albert Einstein, said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”. Had Einstein been aware of recent scientific findings, he would surely have said something slightly different: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegan diet.”
But Einstein also said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I‘m not sure about the former”. For that reason, survival on Earth is in great danger.
Raising animals for food and the production of meat and milk cause more greenhouse-gas emissions (such as methane and CO2) than all the world’s traffic combined (cars, trucks, ships, planes) and all of the world’s industry and are therefore the primary contributor to climate change and the climate crisis. Rain forests, which are fundamental to stabilizing the Earth’s climate, are cut down in order to create grazing land or fields that are used to grow crops for farmed animals. Mother Earth’s “lungs” are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate.
Even the German Federal Environmental Agency called on consumers to adopt a climate-conscious lifestyle and eat less meat. The agency’s chief executive, Dr Andreas Troge, told the Berliner Zeitung, “We should reconsider our high meat consumption”. This would benefit not just our health but also the climate. “And it would hardly cause a drop in quality of life”, added Troge. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, called on consumers to eat less meat because of the harm that meat production does to the environment. He referred to studies that showed that the production of 1 kilogram of meat results in 36.4 kilograms of CO2 emissions.
“The human, environmental and financial cost of climate change is fast becoming unbearable.” Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General (September 23, 2014, at the opening of the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York)
As early as 2006, the UN organization FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) found in a study that global animal farming was responsible for 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, i.e., that it caused more greenhouse gases than the worldwide traffic with cars, trains, ships and planes combined.
Source: FAO (2006), Livestock’s Long Shadow www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM
I know from private conversations with UN employees that governments and lobbyists of the animal industries put the FAO under a lot of pressure after this study was published. Maybe this is why the FAO study does not include all the factors that would otherwise have led to a much higher contribution of animal farming to climate change.
The renowned WorldWatch Institute in a study published on October 21, 2009, concluded that the figures presented by the UN or the FAO respectively were much too low, as many factors and consequences of animal farming were not considered in the FAO’s study. It finds that the consumption of meat, dairy products, fish and eggs is responsible for at least 51 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions caused by the human population!
Source: WorldWatch (2009)
The extreme influence that animal farming has on climate change is just as incredible as a fact that seems to be quite odd at first glance: the main contributor to climate change, namely the consumption of animal products, is not mentioned in most statements, speeches, media articles and TV discussions. This is because almost all scientists, politicians and journalists consume animal products themselves. Therefore, they don’t dare even mention this main factor. If they were to mention it, these scientists, politicians and journalists would have no other choice but to change their own eating habits and go vegan (which they don’t want to) or else continue to eat animal products despite talking about the main contributor to climate change – but this would expose them as hypocrites who don’t do as they tell others to do.
Therefore, everyone involved instead puts on a huge and despicable show of talking about their worries about the dire consequences of climate change while, in reality, they form a group of people who don’t want to drop the consumption of animal products at the planet’s expense and who would rather remain silent about the decisive main factor contributing to climate change. They know very well that climate change will be unlikely to affect any but the poorest developing countries and, after that, future generations. Climate politics therefore are a pure sideshow without any real effects. Without combating the main contributor, climate change is unstoppable.
So let’s be realistic. Our planet will be destroyed because the majority of people place a higher value on an egoistic personal taste for animal products than they do on the integrity of the Earth and the welfare of future generations. To us, the question remains whether we want to participate in this crime or not.
The world’s oceans are increasingly overfished, which will almost inevitably lead to an ecological disaster. The populations of many fish species are about to collapse, and the oceans have been used extensively as dumping grounds for chemicals and plastics. Plenty of fish flesh is heavily laden with toxins, which makes the consumption of fish a serious human health risk.
In light of these facts, it is becoming increasingly clear that Einstein’s scepticism about human intelligence was well founded. It’s clear that the situation we find ourselves in is dire – one might even say perverse. In consuming animal products, humans not only damage their own health, cruelly exploit animals and cause adults and children to starve, they also do massive damage to the environment, endangering their own survival. Humans saw off not only the branch they are sitting on but also the branch that their children and grandchildren are sitting on.
Every consumer – each day at the dinner table – decides if he or she wants to support the destruction of our environment, the climate and the whole planet by consuming animal products.
I highly recommend the following publication for further information:
The Religious Reason
The following section is intended for people who believe in God independent of the religion. Because it is based on beliefs that all major religions (except for Buddhism) hold in common, it can apply to devotees of all religions.
According to all the world’s major religions, God created the world, humans and animals. God gave people their bodies, their spirits and their health. God created a pristine world with all animals.
Can you imagine that God would ever want to see …
- his creation abused and destroyed by a vast decadent eating binge?
- people ruining the health that they were born with by consuming harmful animal products?
- people depriving their fellow human beings of food in the Third World and letting them starve, while instead fattening suffering “livestock”, because they value meat over human life?
- people destroying the environment and causing a climate catastrophe?
- the animals He created being exploited and abused?
All these awful things happen because of the consumption of meat, milk, cheese, eggs and other animal-derived products. Everyone who eats these products is part of a system that damages and destroys God’s creation. People who take part in this system make a conscious decision to do so and to ignore all the facts enumerated in this booklet.
A believer who disrespects and tramples on God’s creation in such a way could suffer eternal consequences when he or she has to face the Creator after his or her short life on Earth.
If you consider the obvious facts, you are almost paralysed by the malice, ignorance, stupidity and selfishness of humankind. I feel unbearable pain and endless compassion for the most vulnerable beings who are victimised by humankind: starving children and cruelly tortured animals. Every day I vacillate between incredulity, anger and sadness when I am confronted with these daily crimes. But I don’t want to look away like most people who are not interested in the suffering behind the walls of factory farms and slaughterhouses. I abhor the evil deeds and activities which make about 40,000 children die of hunger and malnutrition every day because plant foods are fed to suffering animals in order to obtain meat, milk and eggs. These animal products are guzzled by people who then develop typical diseases caused by animal products. As the pinnacle of the moral debasement the “health industry” conducts cruel animal tests (which are almost always useless) in order to test treatments and medications for these diseases.
I fully agreed with Joaquin Phoenix when – at the end of the documentary “Earthlings” – he described the crimes depicted as follows: “The systematic torture and killing of sentient beings show us what is the lowest point of debasement mankind can reach.” Based on the testimony of the Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, I deeply know that people’s treatment of their fellow creatures makes mockery of the so-called “human dignity” and the so-called “humanism”. In my words: “Paying for the systematic torture and killing of sentient beings show us what is the lowest point of debasement consumers can reach.”
Go vegan. It‘s easy. You just change habits. It is the most effective method to make the most important contribution to save the climate, the environment, animals, human beings, and to contribute to your own health by peaceful means.
Dr med Ernst Walter Henrich