By Kayla Anderson
Some vegans boast about how their clean eating lifestyle serves as a benefit for not only the consumer, but also the animals it saves.
Many vegans even assert their vegan lifestyle is superior to others because it is directly in defiance of animal murder and abuse.
There are definite downsides to the meat industry, but there are also positive aspects.
The manure helps revitalize farmland and livestock, which keeps plant diversity and disease low.
People tend to focus on the downsides of the meat industry as a reason to go for a plant-based diet.
By refraining from eating animal products, each vegan saves about 198 animals a year, according to PETA.
The lives that are being saved do have an impact on animal conditions, as the amount of abused and killed animals goes down.
Yes, animal cruelty and death are a high price to pay for food, but the proposed alternative isn’t faultless.
When vegans say that refraining from meat is better than not doing so because it limits animal abuse, they forget about the potential abuse of humans who tend to farmland.
There are many downsides to the farming industry as well.
We attend a school that has very strong ties to agriculture, but many students don’t know what the conditions are like for some farmers.
Farming in general is a very laborious task.
Farmers have to grow and produce crops that will sustain an entire population of people.
It is no secret that some farm workers have been taken advantage of for a long time.
Poor working conditions and low wages have been at the forefront of farm workers’ rights.
However, many people think that this mistreatment of farm workers is a thing of the past or at least happening on a much lower scale than it actually is.
While a lot of farm worker abuse happens in underdeveloped countries, there is still a wage and labor deficit in the United States.
According to the Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Workers survey, the average annual income for farmers is between $12,500 and $14,999.
Things are especially bad for migrant workers who are not here legally.
This can lead to modern day slavery.
These workers are sometimes kept in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
For example, the Los Angeles Times reported that a farm in Arizona housed farmers in school buses and windowless trailers.
Some of these farm workers do not tend to retaliate because of the fear of deportation.
There is also an unfortunate number of incidents of child labor on farms.
The exploitation of children seems like it would be illegal, and while there are child labor laws that prevent such things from being tolerated, there are ways around it.
The U.S. Federal Fair Labor Standards Act has no minimum age for children working on small farms with their parents’ consent.
So, if parents own or operate the farm, children can work on it.
Children that are at least 12 years old can work for hire on other small farms.
There are also no legal limits on the number of hours these children can work out of school.
Farming conditions can be taxing on many adults, and having children do the labor that typically requires an adult’s hand can sometimes be cruel and frequently goes unpunished.
Farming rights have made strides in gaining rights in recent years with the various unions, laws and acts being utilized by the abused farm workers.
So, becoming a vegan does better the lives of some animals, but what about the people growing the plants for their plant-based diets?
Eating vegetables may potentially just be helping others make a profit off of the abuse of farm workers.
The solution is not to live a plant-based diet but to live a sustainable and cruelty free diet.
Eating food packages with labels that are against animal and worker cruelty is the easiest way to live to avoid the promotion of abuse.
You should also advocate for workers’ rights and eat food marked with labels that proclaim proper labor conditions.
Not all food brands are required to use this labor seal, but hopefully that is something we can look forward to and benefit from in the future.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
There are definite downsides to the meat industry, but there are also positive aspects
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