SBy Owen Barthel ‘19
Sometimes, it is necessary to challenge our common practices, many of which we take for granted as ethically acceptable, and to thoroughly inspect our own actions. Matt Korsky, an employee of the Ethical Choices Program, communicated such an idea in his talk to Chaminade’s Science Club on Wednesday, November 2nd in Hearst Auditorium. Mr. Korsky challenged animal treatment, or, by his terming, mistreatment, and described the inhumane practices in the environment and modern agriculture.
Animal farming, as described by Mr. Korsky, is a major issue in the United States. Many animals, such as chickens, cows, and pigs, are treated like material objects; they are passed through assembly lines and are subjected to cruel conduct at each station. For example, chickens are debeaked at one station and slaughtered at another. Animals in factory farms are given no room to move, have poor food to eat, and are granted a short time to live. Oftentimes, male chicks are discarded and killed right after birth because they cannot lay eggs and are not suitable for meat. Cows are commonly put in dark sheds with poor food and little room for the purpose of producing veal.
As Mr. Korsky further explained, individuals can lessen the negative impact on the environment by eating less meat, especially meat from factory farms. Animals in factory farms, especially cows, produce large amounts of excrement because of their diets. This excrement releases methane, a greenhouse gas, into the air. As methane in the atmosphere increases, global warming becomes more of an issue. Additionally, eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains helps the environment. Eating animals that eat plants uses more resources than simply eating plants.
If everyone ate less meat, world thirst and hunger would be less severe. According to Mr. Korsky, an average pound of beef requires about 1,800 gallons of water; meanwhile, millions of people across the globe are dying of thirst. In addition to such a large expenditure of water, the amount of grain used to support factory farm animals is tremendous. Mr. Korsky believes a more effective approach to feeding factory farm animals could contribute to easing many cases of world hunger.
To conclude his presentation, Mr. Korsky spoke of the benefits of a vegan diet. Citing significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer in people with vegan diets, Mr. Korsky made the case for “going vegan.” He assured students that various vegan brands replicate non-vegan foods, such as hamburgers or bacon, using substances like soy. He recommended vegan brands like Silk, Daiya, and Gardein. Also, in refuting the common argument against benefits of a vegan diet, Mr. Korsky claimed that obtaining protein is not an issue for vegans. Most non-animal based foods such as vegan options like nuts, seeds, and beans, have protein, and the average man only needs 56 grams of protein per day.
Taking strides to end factory farming and adopting a vegan diet are both effective ways to restore the environment. However, the Ethical Choices Program and its representative, Matt Korsky, explain that the changes one makes do not have to be so drastic. Instead, gradual adjustments to one’s diet and spreading awareness about unethical agricultural practice can help bring out positive change to the environment.