Like many others, I always thought of farm animals as "food on the hoof." But, after watching the deeply-moving feature film "Okja" on Netflix, I realized that a farm animal is much like our family dog, fully deserving of compassion and respect.

Theologians have long debated whether there is life after death, but for farmed animals, there is no life before death.

Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death in large macerators, pigs clobbered by metal pipes and hung to die, and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.

I read of an international observance of World Day for Farmed Animals Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday) to expose and memorialize the global abuse and slaughter of billions of animals for food. The website offers a number of ways to participate and affirms the need to go vegan.

World Day for Farm Animals is perhaps the most dramatic of these. It celebrates the lives, exposes the abuses, and memorializes the slaughter of billions of sentient animals raised for food.

Laying hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows spend their lives pregnant in metal cages. Dairy cow babies are snatched from their mothers upon birth, so we can drink their milk.

The cruelties inherent in factory farming drove me to replace animal products in my diet with a rich variety of plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my supermarket. I have since learned that my cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

Moe Ford

Mankato

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