MYTH #15:

Eating animal foods is inhumane.

Without question, commercially raised livestock live in deplorable conditions where sickness and suffering are common. Additionally, some prescription drugs are derived from animals (e.g., Premarin) in torturous ways. In America, at least, livestock animals are exempted from anti-cruelty laws and, typically, commercially raised livestock animals are slaughtered in ways that promote adrenaline release, which could have harmful effects on the people who eventually consume them. In countries like Korea, food animals such as dogs are killed in horrific ways, i.e., beaten to death with a club. Our recommendations for animal foods consumption most definitely do not endorse such practices. As noted in our discussion of myth #1, commercial farming of livestock results in an unhealthy food product, whether that product be meat, milk, butter, cream or eggs. Our ancestors did not consume such substandard foodstuffs, and neither should we.

It is possible to raise animals humanely. This is why organic, "free-range" farming is to be encouraged: it is cleaner and more efficient, and produces healthier animals and foodstuffs from those animals. Each person should make every effort, then, to purchase organically raised livestock (and plant foods). Not only does this better support our bodies, as organic foods are more nutrient-dense and are free from hormone and pesticide residues, but this also supports smaller farms and is therefore better for the economy (67).

Orthodox Jewish and Muslim slaughtering methods (kosher and hallal, respectively) are similar to those practised by organic farms, in that the animals are slain in a state of tranquillity‹unlike their unfortunate battery-farm cousins. Such practices minimise, if not eliminate, the release of harmful stress hormones and are therefore more humane to the animal and more healthful to us.
Nevertheless, many people have philosophical problems with eating animal flesh, and these sentiments must be respected. Dairy products and eggs, though, are not the result of an animal's death and are fine alternatives for these people.