Top Pro & Con Arguments

Pro

Killing animals for food is cruel and unethical.

Raising animals in confinement for slaughter is cruel, and many animals in the United States are not slaughtered humanely.

Animals are sentient beings that have emotions and social connections. Scientific studies show that cattle, pigs, chickens, and all warm-blooded animals can experience stress, pain, and fear. About 50% of meat produced in the United States comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where mistreated animals live in filthy, overcrowded spaces with little or no access to pasture, natural light, or clean air. In CAFOs pigs have their tails cut short; chickens have their toenails, spurs, and beaks clipped; and cows have their horns removed and tails docked with no painkillers. Pregnant pigs are kept in metal gestation crates barely bigger than the pigs themselves. Baby cows raised for veal are tied up and confined in tiny stalls their entire short lives (3-18 weeks). [32] [35] [41] [100] [147]

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) mandates that livestock be stunned unconscious before slaughter to minimize suffering. However, birds such as chickens and turkey are exempted from the HMS, and a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Organization (GAO) found that the USDA was not “taking consistent actions to enforce the HMSA.” [65] [66] [90]

In 2017 (the most recent data available), the United States slaughtered a total of 170.6 million animals for food, including 124.5 million pigs, 33.7 million cows, 9.2 million chickens, and 2.4 million sheep. These animals should not have to die painfully and fearfully to satisfy an unnecessary dietary preference.

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