“I don’t need to go vegan. I’m a vegetarian, animals don’t suffer and die for me.” This is a misconception that many vegetarians have. In fact, it was a misconception that I had as a vegetarian. What many vegetarians aren’t aware of, is that some the worst forms of exploitation exist within the egg and dairy industries. For example, let’s look at the egg industry to begin with: Male chicks within the egg industry are useless to the industry itself because they don’t produce eggs. There are also different breeds of chickens that we kill for meat, which means they’re not suitable to be fattened up and slaughtered for food. This means that as soon as they are born, they are either macerated or gassed alive. Now this killing of day-old male chicks applies in any system of egg farming, regardless of whether it’s caged, free-range, or organic. Now, the hens that are taken to lay eggs are often de-beaked, a very painful procedure. And even the hens that are free-range are de-beaked, and they’re put in these massive barns which is inherently one large cage. In fact, a farmer can legally house 16,000 birds per barn. Which means he can legally house nine birds per square meter of space. This means that many of the birds will never experience sunlight or fresh air. Egg-laying hens have been selectively bred and exploited to such an extent that they lay 300 eggs per year, vastly more than they would lay in the wild. This causes a whole host of health problems like osteoporosis and bone fractures. Now once the animals are spent and they can no longer produce eggs, which is normally around 72 weeks old, they are all taken to be slaughtered. All hens, whether they’re caged-free, free-range, or organic, end up in the slaughterhouse with a blade against their throats. Now, there is a similar level of exploitation within the dairy industry. The only reason that cows produce milk is if they’ve had a child, similar to humans. The milk is there for their child to consume. This means that in order to get a dairy cow to produce milk, a farmer has to artificially inseminate them, or forcibly impregnate them. This is often done by the farmer placing his arm inside the cow’s anus, holding her uterus in place before injecting semen inside the cow’s vagina. Now, once that baby has been born, they’re taken away from their mother. Normally within 24 to 72 hours of birth. This is done so the farmer can get as much milk as possible from the cow and keep his profits high. This separation of the calf from their mother causes a huge amount of psychological stress and emotional suffering to these beings. These are maternal beings who want to care and nurture for their young just like humans do, yet we take away their babies, put them in solitary confinement, and deny them the ability to nurture. When we’ve exploited cows to such an extent, that they can no longer produce milk for us or be forceably impregnated, they too are taken to the slaughterhouse, or the bolt gun is put to their their head and a knife against their throat. All animals within the egg industry or in the dairy industry end up killed at some point. So if you are a vegetarian because you don’t think animal should unnecessarily die for us, then you have to be vegan. Because within the dairy and egg industries, animals still unnecessarily suffer and needlessly die for us. What makes the suffering within the egg and dairy industry so horrible is the length of time these animals are suffering and being exploited. Dairy cows are exploited for sometimes as long as six years, which means that every year, they endure the process of being forcibly impregnated. Every year, they endure the process of watching their child as they’re taken away from them. Every year they suffer that emotional toll of seeing their loved one being taken away from them. Year in year out these animals suffer. They suffer terribly at the hands of humans. And to these animals, death is almost a release because it signifies the end of their suffering. The end of the pain both emotional and physical. The suffering in the egg industry is also prolonged and lasts longer than the suffering of chickens in the meat industry. Broiler chickens, or chickens that we raise for meat, are normally killed after around six weeks. But the hens that we raise for eggs are alive for 72 weeks, which means they’re kept in these big sheds for a year and a half. Their suffering continues for a year and a half. And they still have the same fate as the chickens that we raise conventionally for meats. They’re still taken to the slaughterhouse. They still have a blade put against their throat and their life taken from them entirely needlessly. Now, most people go vegetarian because they have good Intentions, and because they care about the lives of animals, and they don’t want to see them die. But these industries hide the truth from us. The dairy industry doesn’t tell us what happens within the dairy industry. Likewise, the egg industry doesn’t tell us what happens within the egg industry. Instead they deceive us and lie to us by using marketing ploys, like happy milk or free-range eggs to make us buy their products. Because caring people, good people who care about the lives of animals, would be disgusted if they truly knew what happened within these industries. This means if you’re vegetarian, and you care about animals, you should be vegan. It is your moral obligation to be vegan. It’s the only way that you can align your morals with your actions and live a lifestyle truly in alliance with your core values.