The egg industry is no better. Male chicks are killed shortly after hatching, while females become layers. Living conditions are terrible across the board, the ‘free-range’ label being nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
When eggs are classed as ‘free range’, as many as nine birds can occupy a square metre of floor, and most hens never make it outside. Commercial hens are sent for slaughter at around one year of age, despite the fact that they would normally live for around seven years.
‘Yep, I accept all that’, I hear the vegetarians of the world saying. ‘But what about chee…’
Let me stop you there, dairy addicts. Back before I took a look at myself and realised that I wasn’t a baby cow, the thought of a life without cheese filled me with dread. In my pre-vegan days, dietary quizzers would sometimes (always) ask me, ‘But you eat cheese, right?’ ‘Ohyesofcourse’, I’d reply. ‘I can’t go longer than four minutes without it – I’m hypoglycheesemic hahahaha. I actually have some brie in my pocket right now.’
Now, three years clean, cheese is honestly a non-issue. Like most people, it took me a couple of weeks to adjust. But once I decided I was vegan, those cravings went away very quickly.
When it comes down to it, animal products don’t belong to us. So in my mind they’re not an option, they’re off the table. Unless we’re talking about vegan cheese, which is pretty awesome and is definitely on the table. With a load of crackers and chutney and pineapple on sticks.
Vegetarianism is often used as a stepping stone to veganism. And that is absolutely fine – but it shouldn’t be the end point for anyone who really cares about animals.
Editor of The Vegan
The Vegan Society’s 30-Day Vegan Pledge is free to sign up to, and provides daily recipes, tips and advice on going vegan. Click here for more.