Inhumane Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Hi everyone, It’s Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
from Welcome to Vegan Point of View. Some people say “I eat only ‘humane’
or ‘humanely raised’ meat, dairy, and eggs” or they say “As long as the animals
are killed humanely, then it’s okay.” That’s one point of view. Here’s my point
of view. I have yet to meet a non-vegan who doesn’t care about the treatment of animals
bred and killed for human consumption. Nobody wants to support cruelty, and nobody wants
to believe they’re part of it. Even people who eat meat (I was once one of those people),
aware on some level that the experience is unpleasant for the animals, they say they
object to unnecessary abuse and cruelty (as if there is ever necessary abuse or cruelty).
Instead, they declare that they buy only “humane” meat, “free-range” eggs and “organic”
milk, perceiving themselves as ethical consumers and these products as the final frontier in
the fight against animal cruelty. But though we kill over 10 billion land animals every
year just to please our palates, rather than questioning the absurdity and inherent cruelty
of bringing animals into the world only to kill them, we instead try to absolve ourselves
by making what we think are guilt-free choices, failing to recognize the paradoxical impossibility
of “humane slaughter” and never really knowing what the whole experience is for an
animal from cradle (domestication) to grave (our bodies). Though modern animal factories
look nothing like what is idealized in children’s books and advertisements — and in our imaginations
— there are also many misconceptions about the practices and principles of a “humane”
operation. The unappetizing process of turning live animals into isolated body parts and
ground-up chunks of flesh begins at birth and ends in youth, as the animals are babies
when they are sent to slaughter, whether they are raised conventionally or in operations
that are labeled “humane,” “sustainable,” “natural,” “free-range,” “cage-free,”
“heritage-bred,” “grass-fed” or “organic.” Relative to their natural life span, most
of the animals are slaughtered when they’re still babies, as illustrated in this graphic,
which you can find (and print) at Here are some examples. Male calves from the
dairy industry are killed between 1 day and 24 weeks; the lifespan of a bull is 15 to
20 years. ”Beef cattle” are killed at 18 months; they can live 15 to 20 years. “Dairy
cows” same thing – they can live up to 20 years, but they are killed at around 4 years
young. Chickens are slaughtered between 5 and 7 weeks young; their lifespan is up to
8 years. Goats are killed between 12 and 20 weeks; their lifespan is 12-14 years. Pigs
are slaughtered at 6 months young; they can live up to 12 years.
And so on. These numbers are all from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition
to manipulating birth and death, whether it is a small or large enterprise, we also manipulate
animals’ reproductive systems for human gain; in fact, it’s at the heart of the
animal agriculture industry. IT’s all about breeding– especially when talking about eggs
and milk for which the females’ reproductive system is exploited. Many animals endure the
stressful, often painful, and humiliating process of sexual manipulation and artificial
insemination. The keeping of male studs, the stimulation of the genitals, the collection
of semen, the castrating of males, and the insemination into the female are not exactly
on people’s minds when they sit down to dine, but that’s what our dollars pay for.
And then of course, there’s the killing of the animals themselves. When we tell ourselves
we’re eating the flesh and secretions of “humanely raised animals,” we’re leaving
out a huge part of the equation. The slaughtering of an animal is a bloody, difficult and violent
act, and death does not come easy for those who want to live. The fundamental problems
we keep running into do not arise merely from how we raise animals but that we eat animals.
Clearly we can survive—and in fact, thrive—on a plant-based diet; we don’t need to kill
animals to be healthy, and in fact animal fat and protein are linked with many human
diseases. We know this. We know it instinctively, and the medical research supports it. What
does it say about us that when given the opportunity to prevent cruelty and violence, we choose
to turn away—because of tradition, culture, habit, convenience, or pleasure? We are not
finding the answers we are looking for because we are asking the wrong questions. The movement
toward “humanely raised food animals” simply assuages our guilt more than it actually
reduces violence against animals. If we truly want our actions to reflect the compassion
for animals we say we have, then the answer is very simple. We can stop eating them. How
can this possibly be considered anything but a rational and merciful response to a violent
and vacuous ritual? There’s nothing humane about breeding animals only to kill them,
and there’s nothing humane about ending the life of a healthy animal in his or her
youth. We only tell ourselves it is so we can sleep at night and continue to see things
as we want to – not as they really are. Thanks for watching, everyone. If you like what you
heard, please pass it on, give it a thumbs up, subscribe to this channel, support the
production of these videos by becoming a supporter at, and check out the other
Vegan Point of View episodes. You can also find lots more detailed information about
this topic and more in my books On Being Vegan, a collection of my essays, and in The 30-Day
Vegan Challenge. Until next time…For the animals, this is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
Thanks for watching.


  1. Sarah Loves Veggies Author

    Well said!  I've heard this time and time again.  Some people feel the need to tell me they eat "free range",  "happy chickens", as if they are looking for my blessing as a vegan.    

  2. Marianthi Kourti Author

    Coleen you are brilliant! Just had this discussion yesterday with a passionate "humane" meat consumer. I wish I could express myself as eloquently as you did in this video… Thankfully from now on I won't have to, I can (and I will) send them this video! 🙂 Thank you very much for all you do for the animals!

  3. VeganRevolution Author

    When you talk about the atrocities people do – what's your thinking in using the word 'WE'?
    Is this a choice to express it this way? 

  4. William Granville Author

    You are the best @Colleen Patrick-Goudreau I wish I could get people to watch your videos and read your books but everyone just keeps looking the other way. I've even heard "I don't want to know the truth about it because then I won't be able to eat meat anymore." That one stunned me. Keep it up and I'll keep sharing your videos and maybe someday someone I know will actually watch it.

  5. Ali Author

    Brilliantly said! Your words make so much sense, and yet people still choose to look the other way or prefer not even knowing the truth…its heartbreaking

  6. Jovanka Ciares Author

    Yeah, there's simply not such thing as humanely raised in the Western world. Maybe hundreds of years ago, when corporations weren't involved and concerned about making money. But that hasn't been the case for at least 120 years.

  7. Breanna Sumner Author

    Loved your response to the ever popular "I only consume organic/Free range/cruelty free/etc meat/dairy/eggs". Very informative and powerful. Now if only I could get my friends and family members to understand this lol BTW, just found your channel and subscribed 🙂

  8. Angelica G v Author

    @Colleen Patrick-Goudreau  Hi Colleen – Perhaps this will take some researching but simply wondering what your point of view is on the thinking that we must eat according to our blood type. For example, I've been hearing lately, that blood type "O" requires meat to obtain all necessary nutrients. I forget what blood type I am but I've been vegan for over two years and feel wonderful. Although, I admit, I'm fortunate in that I've never had or have health issues…knock on wood. Love your posts! Thank you

  9. Hilary Bumgarner Author

    Colleen…Thank you for all that you do for the animals of this world.  And thank you for giving me the strength and the words to support my choices and values.  I'm forever grateful.

  10. haloneya Author

    This is a good video and I indeed agreed on much that is being said, much bias within human nature and the things we keep telling ourselfs, now I still object to the claim that it is allways wrong to eat meat simply going vegan does not help animals in any shape or form, in fact your dooming them to non existence, now I dont want to justify the treatment or killing of animals, but the alternative is death or even worse, wildlife, the compairitions of which you bring about the possible life age of animals, does not reflex the reality of wild life, most animals die really early, I hate the mass production of conventional farming, but I rather fight to insure a better life in captivity, then go vegan, now anyone is free to try and change my mind, I will remain openminded, but fail to see the mere point of going vegan, as the evil acts I seek to remove/change, can be done so by not going vegan, just my few cents, peace.

  11. Buffy Buffers V Author

    Hope is ok to share this on my homepage!!! I applaud this video and your pass the message so well. Thank you so much for all you do for animals!!!! Awesome channel 🙂

  12. Jiří Kadlec Author

    What do you think about the dairy farmer who knows each one of his cows by name, treats his cows better than most people treat their pets, ensures the cows have high quality food, shelter, and that they are not stressed. It is in personal interest of the farmer that every cow is healthy. If the cow were neglected or intentionally abused, then she'll probably stop eating and stop making milk and the farmer would lose all his money. The artificial insemination is only done when the cow is "in heat". Otherwise she wouldn't let anybody do it. I recommend looking at the work of Temple Grandin, who did a tremendous job to improve the welfare of cows on farms. Most of the dairy farmers do their work because they love the cows. 
    Personally I've recently decided to eat vegan because I want to be kind towards the animals. Killing a cow because she doesn't have a calf or because she's too old just doesn't feel right to me any more. But I still think there are many farmers (and maybe most of them) who feel deep compassion about their cows and who spend their whole life and do everything they can to make their cows healthy, comfortable, and happy.

  13. Vache0espagnole Author

    Veganism must embrace the human animal. In the breath after we say that it is wrong to bring animals into the world just to kill and eat them, we should state that it is also wrong to bring the poor into the world just to funnel them into the army and slave-prison system, because our class-based industrial crapitalist society does not offer them anything better. I believe that they are one and the same problem: we could not do this unless we were able to objectify the other. As long as the other, human and non-human, is turned into an object for consumption, the horror which is daily life on this planet under these cultural conditions, a-priori beliefs and conditions will continue as business as usual. Empathy is the key, but empathy also for the human poor, many of which eat meat to survive, and to make themselves feel rich in a world that has proscribed true abundance in a systematic, generational way.

  14. Moravian Wallachia Author

    In my view, the word 'humane' is but another attempt of humans to shield themselves from the reality of their own behaviour and to paint their black conscience white. A much more accurate term would be 'less cruel'. Grass-fed may be (probably ) somewhat less cruel than the mass productions, but it's not humane. The word 'humane' implies absence of cruelty, which as we all know is never the case.

  15. cat videos Author

    There is no such thing as moral perfection. Becoming vegan does not end suffering for animals. If you eat only plants, you need to eat a lot of them, which requires a lot of room to grow them, which requires that a lot of animals are displaced from their habitats, so they die. I

    It is true that excessive meat consumption causes diseases, but the human body needs vitamins that are only found in animal flesh. The most common example is B12, which when eliminated from a human diet, directly causes several brain diseases.

    That said, eat meat responsibly. Industrialized meat production always causes excessive animal suffering.


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