Welcome to Punjabi Vegan. Should we eat meat? Is eating meat normal? Many of us have been led to believe that eating meat is necessary, and that it is natural. In this video we will address this and also look at: How meat is produced. What is in meat. Meat and health. Meat and antibiotic resistance. And meat and the environment. Is meat eating natural? Most people are led to believe that we are adapted to eat meat, however this is a myth. The closest relative of human beings are primates like gorillas and chimpanzees, these animals are natural herbivores. As humans we have ignored our natural diet and have started eating increasing amounts of meat, this has led to us developing many chronic diseases. We will look at a few of these later. If we look at the anatomy of humans comparing this to herbivores and carnivores we will see we are more adapted to eating plants. Claws/Nails Carnivores have long sharp claws designed to capture and penetrate through an animals hide but herbivores and humans have blunt nails incapable of tearing animal hide. Jaws and teeth Carnivores have strong jaws and facial muscles with well developed canine teeth strong enough to tear raw meat and bones, herbivores and humans have weaker jaws with poorly developed canine teeth designed to chew and grind food. Digestive system Carnivores stomachs have strong acid to be able to digest raw meat and short guts so they can expel digested meat rapidly before it rots. Herbivores and humans have weak stomach acid and longer guts designed to extract maximum nutrients from plant foods. Is it normal to eat meat? We have been told by society and the media (television and advertising) that eating meat is normal, traditional and culturally acceptable. In some countries for example we consider cats and dogs as companion animals, however in some countries they consider eating these animals as it is their tradition and culture. Just because killing animals has been culturally and traditionally accepted for hundreds of years does not make this morally justifiable. Just like in previous times when human slavery and women being treated as inferior was considered normal. Would we find these types of practices morally acceptable today? When we see an animal our instincts, unlike a carnivore are not to eat it. If for some reason we did want to eat it, we would not be able to kill it like a natural carnivore would using just its claws & teeth! Is it necessary to eat meat? Many people believe that we need to eat meat as a source of protein and to remain healthy. However this is untrue and later in this video you will find out why. How meat is produced? Globally 5.6 billion animals are farmed for food every year, this figure does not include fish and other sea creatures. 2 out of 3 of these animals are raised on factory farms. We will take a look at the lives of these animals. Chickens and Turkeys They are kept in windowless sheds where there can be between 30 – 100000 in one shed. The birds often have very little space usually only about the size of a laptop screen. The sensitive ends of their beaks are clipped to prevent them from hurting each other as living in these unnatural conditions can make them aggressive. The concrete floor on which they stand is never cleaned during their whole lifetime and they end up standing in their own excrement, this can cause the birds to develop skin burns and infections. To produce cheap meat the sheds are kept lit upto 23hrs/day to make the birds eat constantly. The food which they are fed has had antibiotics and other drugs added to promote growth. In addition, birds are selectively bred to grow rapidly, this makes them vulnerable to heart attacks and also to broken/deformed legs as their skeletons can not support their rapidly increasing body mass. Chickens are slaughtered at just 42days and turkeys at 12 – 26 weeks. Pigs About 90% of pigs are factory farmed and kept inside dark, windowless sheds. They will spend their entire lives on concrete floors covered in excrement with nothing to do. Due to these conditions many will develop skin conditions, meningitis, pneumonia and some even die. While they are pregnant mother pigs are often confined to farrowing crates where they can not move or turn around. They give birth to usually about 8 -16 piglets in these crates but are not able to interact with them or move as they would naturally, this causes them much grief, pain and suffering. Piglets are often taken from their mothers at 3weeks and the mothers forcibly impregnated again. As the piglets are taken before they have been weaned many develop stomach/digestive problems and diarrhoea, to overcome this they are fed food which contains many antibiotics. Many piglets will also have their most prominent teeth removed, tails chopped off and are castrated these extremely painful procedures are done without any anaesthetic. The reason this is done is to prevent the pigs from becoming aggressive due to boredom, when they are kept in these cramped, filthy conditions. Many studies have shown that pigs are more intelligent than dogs and even young toddlers, however when they are kept like this they can develop mental distress and many will show repetitive behaviours and injure themselves. Many pigs are killed at 5months for sausages, bacon & pork. And mother pigs are killed at 4yrs old after repetitive breeding. Other animals that are used for meat such as: Sheep, lambs, goats and cows also are subjected to a similar fate to the animals we have just looked at. Sheep are often not only killed for meat but also for their wool. Slaughter All farmed animals will end up at the slaughter house, some die during transportation or even give birth. Pigs, sheep, lambs and cows are usually stunned by a bolt gun to the head. Poultry are stunned by electrocution in a water bath, all the animals will then have their throats slit. Some slaughterhouses kill pigs by gas chamber where they suffocate to death. Religious slaughter is no better as either way an animal is killed against its will. Slaughter houses are production lines and the more animals they kill the more profit they make. Due to this many of the animals end up being slaughtered whilst still conscious as they have not been stunned properly. You may think that organic/free range/grass fed meats are better however these are just terms used by the meat industry to make you feel better about your food choices. These terms mean nothing to the animals who ultimately all end up at the same slaughter house. Employees at slaughterhouses are often paid low wages and they are usually immigrant workers as not surprisingly many people would not want to work in those conditions. Numerous reports show that slaughterhouse workers suffer from psychological trauma as they have to disconnect themselves from what they are doing to the animals. Imagine how it must feel for them having to listen to the screams of animals being killed all day long. Please remember these people are only doing this work because there is a demand for meat products. Most people who eat meat would not be able to kill the animals themselves, however by buying these products they actually also have blood on their hands. Up to this point what you have seen and heard is a far cry from what we are led to believe by the meat industry. They want us to remain disconnected from how these animals are actually treated and only show us images of “happy farms” or sell products to us which are labelled as “happy animals”, however this is making a mockery of the truth. The sad truth is they do this just to protect their profits. If you found some of the images shown distressing and difficult to watch ask yourself if its not good enough for my eyes why is this good enough for my stomach. What is in meat? As mentioned earlier many people believe that it is necessary to eat meat for protein, but this is not true as all whole plant foods contain protein. The protein we get from plant foods are better assimilated by the body and they do not come with any extras like saturated fat/cholesterol, bacteria, hormones, antibiotics and they are also cruelty free. In fact a lot of the largest land animals such as the elephant, horse, hippo, gorilla and rhino are all herbivores and get all their protein from plants. Studies have shown that the saturated fat & cholesterol in animal foods like meat, eggs, fish and dairy is linked to heart disease and high blood cholesterol. White meats such as chicken, turkey and fish contain just as much fat as red meats like beef, pork, lamb and mutton. One whole chicken contains around a pint of fat! The human body produces all the cholesterol it needs, so by consuming it from animal foods we increase the levels in our body and this causes us health problems. Plant foods like avocados, nuts and seeds contain no cholesterol. And the unsaturated fats found in these foods are better for us. Iron All meats contain iron. The amount of iron our body takes from our diet depends on how much it needs, usually when we eat meat we take in excess amounts and studies have shown that this can be linked to heart disease, bowel cancer and other conditions. Iron can be obtained from plant sources such as: spinach, lentils, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas and also from vegan foods which are fortified eg. Plant Milks & cereals. Iron from plants is better as the body can regulate its uptake better. To maximise iron uptake it is recommended that you consume iron rich plant foods with some vitamin C like Orange juice or a supplement. Salt Many meats especially those that have been processed eg. bacon and sausages have high levels of salt. This can contribute to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and premature death from cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B12 is essential to the human body for nerve health. It is produced by soil bacteria and in the past humans would have obtained it from eating plant produce or from water. However these days we cannot get it from these sources as all our plant produce and water sources are treated to kill bacteria. We must therefore get it from a vegan supplement or from fortified foods such as vegan milks or cereals. The meat industry want us to believe that B12 can only be obtained from animal products however what they fail to tell you is that it is only found in animal products as the animals have also been fed B12 supplements. Due to intensive factory farming meat today also contains Antibiotics, growth hormones like IGF-1 and pesticide resdiues. In the next section you will find out how these can affect your health. Meat and health. Cancer. Annually there are 10million new cases of cancer worldwide. Some of the cancers which are linked to meat consumption are: Breast cancer, Prostate cancer, Lung cancer, Bowel cancer, Kidney cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Lymphoma and Stomach cancer. Studies have shown that countries which consume a lot of meat have the highest rates of the cancers. It is thought that hormones in meat like IGF-1 instruct cells in our body to grow and this includes cancer cells & tumours. Consuming just 50g/day of meat (2 rashers of bacon) increases the risk of bowel caner by 18%. The World Health Organisation (WHO), one of the most respected authorities on health, published a press release stating that processed meat does cause cancer and that red meat probably does too. Cardiovascular disease & strokes. saturated fat from meat increases our cholesterol levels and contributes to blockage of our arteries. If these blockages occur in the heart vessels they cause heart disease and if they cause blockages in the brain they can cause strokes, dementia/Alzheimer’s Obesity and weight gain. Obesity levels in the west and in countries with upped levels of meat consumption are increasing. Animal products such as meats, cheeses and eggs have high levels of saturated fat and therefore more calories compared to plant foods. Being obese increases our risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes & high blood pressure. Many people believe that chicken is better for you as they are led to believe it is healthier and contains less fat however this is a myth, and research has shown that chicken today whether free range or factory farmed contains more fat and most of the calories come from the fat than the protein. Bone health. it is believed that when we consume animal proteins they make our body more acidic which is not good, in order to correct this imbalance our bodies take calcium from our bones. This calcium then gets excreted from our bodies leaving us with bones that are weaker and more prone to fractures and breakages. To maintain good bone health calcium can be obtained from many plant sources and it is also recommended that the body is exercised and vitamin D either from sunlight or from a vegan supplement is taken. Diabetes. Meat especially red meat, processed meat and dairy has been associated with diabetes Just 70g of meat (size of a small matchbox)significantly increases the risk of diabetes. Fats in meat gets stuck in muscle cells and this stops insulin being effective leading to high blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a terrible disease which can affect the whole body but in particular your kidneys, eyes and feet. Food Poisoning. Most cases of food poisoning are related to the consumption of animal products meat, eggs, fish and dairy, as plants tend not to have the types of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in humans. Due to how the animals are reared in filthy conditions and because they are killed in large numbers at slaughterhouses many animal products become contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter. These bacteria can infect us not only when meat products are not cleaned adequately but also they can get transferred during food preparation onto kitchen surfaces. Meat and antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are drugs that are used against bacterial infections. In humans we often use them for common and serious infections. In livestock farming they are used as the animals are often raised on intensive farms where they are more where they are more prone to illness & infections and in some countries they are also used as growth promoters Because these drugs are so readily used, the bacteria which they are supposed to kill over time develop resistance meaning the drugs no longer work. If we eat meat contaminated with these bacteria we too also increase our risk of developing resistance to antibiotics. This is very dangerous as we are now starting to run out antibiotics which work and if we carry on like this we will no longer be able to treat many common infections. Meat and the environment. Farming animals uses vast amounts of resources like: land to keep animals and to grow food for them, much of this land is obtained by chopping down forests, vast amounts of crops are needed to feed them and water to maintain them during their short lives and when they are slaughtered. Animal agriculture is also a leading cause of ocean deadzones these are areas of water where no marine animals can survive due to the water being polluted with large quantities of animal excrement. This demand for animal products is not sustainable with an increasing world population. By cutting meat out of your diet a lot of these resources could be used to feed people directly, currently the planet has 7 billion people of which 840 million are suffering from chronic hunger This would be healthier for the people, animals and the planet which is our only home. Meat alternatives. These days it is easy to remove meat from your plate there are many delicious plant based alternatives readily available from most supermarkets. some of these products are so realistic you would find it difficult to tell the difference. The biggest benefit with these plant based products are that they don’t have any of the nasties like: saturated fat, cholesterol and are cruelty free. Many doctors around the world have shown that many conditions like: cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and many more can be prevented or reversed by eliminating animal products and switching to a whole foods vegan diet. So now you are aware of how eating meat impacts you, animals and the planet. Some people believe that it is their personal choice to eat meat, but what about the choice of the animals whose voices are not heard. Sentient beings who were bred into existence to lead miserable lives and killed against their will. All living beings want the same in life to be happy and free from pain. However, many farmed animals are denied this. To you eating meat may be about a temporary pleasure or taste but to an animal it is its entire life. These animals have not done anything to us the least we can do is show them some respect and compassion. Why make your body a graveyard by consuming dead animals, when you can be healthy and thrive on a wholefood plant based vegan diet. Make the connection, please choose compassion, choose vegan. Thankyou.