Human history is marred by the countless animals that were killed for our sustenance. From our hunter-gatherer ancestors all the way to modern times, we continue to rely on the nutrients provided by animal meat, mostly from domesticated animals. But modern times have pushed many to question whether this practice of killing animals for meat fits into our lifestyle dominated by technology and other scientific advances. Shouldn’t we have come up with something a more ethical and humane way to feed ourselves?
This question has led many to push for food that is free from harm, often referred to as cruelty-free food.
Advocates of free-from-harm food claim that humans, at least modern humans, should strive to reduce the pain and suffering that domesticated animals suffer from. They would even go so far as to claim that cruelty-free meat offers more benefits than its alternative.
As more and more consumers and local restaurant owners dig deep into the ethics and health reasons to go for cruelty-free meat, they have become more aware in knowing the difference between the different types of animal meat (processed, grass-fed organic, and conventional).
Meat that is free from harm also has a lower concentration of saturated and trans fats while at the same time being a good source of good fat such as those found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, coconuts, and avocados.
The domestication of animals for their meat is also a leading contributor to the climate crisis that threatens humanity. The amount of land needed for meat production requires the leveling of thousands of hectares of forests around the world. Methane, a greenhouse gas, is also abundantly produced by cattle in farms and ranches which exacerbates global heating. Choosing to eat food that is free from harm contributes to mitigating the effects of climate change.
Moreover, a diet that is mainly based on animal meat is a diet that is high in cholesterol that contributes to an increased likelihood of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. People are also a lot more prone to food poisoning incidents when consuming a lot of meat.
Animal agriculture is the number one leading cause of cruelty towards animals around the world. In the US alone, it is estimated that around 9 billion animal livestock are killed every year for dairy, eggs, and meat. When factoring in the rest of the world, that number rises to a staggering 56 billion. This doesn’t factor in the horrid conditions all these animals are kept in before they are butchered. Choosing foods that are free from harm will mean fewer animals will have to suffer the same fate as countless others.
We are certainly a long way from becoming a society that doesn’t need to slaughter countless animals for food. But technological advances are paving the way towards that future. Currently, there is no-kill, lab-grown meat that is sold in grocery stores. Vegan and vegetarian advocates have also grown in number with many joining due to health reasons as well as in support of animal rights. The future seems bright for the many animals kept in fences and cages.