Myths About Animals

  1. We’re Meant to Eat Animals
    “In “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating,” Milton Mills explains that human anatomy and physiology are much more akin to herbivores than omnivores or carnivores. Nevertheless, a defining feature of being human is that we are not reducible to our biology. As moral beings capable of choosing our way of life, it is worth questioning whether we are strictly “meant” to do anything.”
  2. Eating Locally Raised Animals is Sustainable
    “If a household buys only local food but regularly buys animal products, they are saving the greenhouse gas equivalent of about 1,000 miles of driving per year. However, if they eat vegan food for only 1 day a week with no regard for buying local they save the equivalent of 1,160 miles per year. […] With final transportation only accounting for 4 percent of total emissions, it is more resource efficient and sustainable to eat whole, organically grown plant foods grown 3,000 miles away than it is to eat animal foods grown by your neighbor.”
  3. Chickens Are Stupid
    “Chickens are incredibly intelligent and live complex social and emotional lives–despite the fact that, after marine animals, they are the most frequently killed animal for human consumption. They often outperform toddlers in representational and numerical abilities and can do basic arithmetic by keeping track of additions and subtractions in shuffling games. They can anticipate the future, delay gratification and exercise self-control. In one study, they chose to delay gratification for a larger food reward 90 percentof the time.”
  4. Dairy Cows Will Explode if We Don’t Milk Them
    “Expressions like ‘cows give milk’ and ‘cows need to be milked’ along with the array of dairy advertisements showing happy, willing cows are extremely deceiving. These claims overlook the basic requirement for all mammals to lactate: pregnancy and childbirth. Human consumption of dairy requires that we hijack this natural process through repeated artificial insemination and the subsequent separation of calf from mother so that we can take the milk for ourselves. […] According to the USDA, 97 percent of dairy calves are permanently taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth.”
  5. Fish Don’t Feel Pain
    “The myth that fish don’t feel pain and don’t have a nervous systemis still alive and well despite the fact that research increasingly shows that their perception and cognition often matches and exceeds that of other vertebrates. This means that they can no longer be considered an ethical grey area. […] In all vertebrates, free nerve-endings register pain. Fish have an abundance of these nerve-endings and also produce pain-reducing substances like endorphins.”
  6. Leather is a Harmless By-Product
    “Leather is not a by-product of the slaughter industry. It is a co-product. The sale of animal skins makes up approximately half of the profits of all slaughter businesses that process cows. Factory farms could not be profitable without the sale of skins. By the pound, leather is the most profitable part of an animal. This means that cows are killed for their skin as much as they are killed for their meat.”

– Patti Nyman / One Green Planet