April 19, 2012
Standing Up for Animals, One Bite at a Time: A Letter from Paul Shapiro
By making better food choices, we all have the power to create a more humane society
Thanks for your interest in The HSUS’s Guide to Meat-Free Meals. There are so many reasons people choose vegetarian foods. Some do it for their health, others for the health of the planet. Nobel Prize–winner Isaac Bashevis Singer offered another compelling explanation: When asked if he was vegetarian for health reasons, Singer responded, “Yes, for the health of the chicken.”
Farm animals, like the dogs and cats we welcome into our families, are individuals with personalities, needs, and preferences—and most important, the capacity to suffer. Yet our industrial food system treats them like mere units on a production line with little regard for their suffering. In fact, many standard agribusiness practices are so inhumane, so out of step with mainstream American values about how animals should be treated, they would be illegal if the victims were dogs or cats. Recent HSUS undercover investigations have revealed appalling abuses of cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys; sadly, these cruelties are common in factory farms across the nation.
Fortunately, each of us can stand up for these animals—every time we sit down to eat. By making better food choices, we all have the power to create a more humane society. The pages of this guide are designed to help you make those better choices—choices that are abundant, enticing, and more than satisfying.
And remember: It need not be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Go at your own pace. A lifetime of ingrained eating habits can be difficult to break, so you should praise yourself for every step of progress you make.
No matter your reason for choosing vegetarian options, feel good about your decision and know that you’re making a positive difference in the world. Whether it’s for the health of the chicken, the health of the planet, or your own health (or all three), take pride in your commitment, and know that The HSUS stands behind you, ready to assist you on your path to humane eating.
- Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for The HSUS