I am often asked why I don’t eat dairy or meat. There are several reasons to pursue a vegetarian or vegan diet and lifestyle. Often, they are very personal, so I want to share a few of my reasons in case one possibly resonates with you.
1. Inhumane Working Conditions
I first became a vegetarian when I was in college, but it was not because of animal cruelty. Rather it was due to the inhumane working conditions in slaughterhouses around the country I learned about in Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation.
According to the book, slaughterhouses in Texas, Tyson facilities, and many other mainstream meat companies employed numerous immigrants at low wages put unskilled workers in hazardous conditions and did not provide worker’s compensation in many situations.
I later read So Far From God and became aware that the belief in the American Dream was sold to many of these immigrants to entice them into unhealthy working conditions. After reading these books I decided I could not support an industry that treated the people in it so poorly by cutting wages, benefits, and unions since the 1970s.
2. The “Gross” Factor
I drove to West Texas after college to check out the meat farms. Tiny pens with cows on top of cows lined the highways. Cows covered in their own feces and without hair sat inside on a dirt fl