The process of producing animals for food is not a nice one. Animals are forced to have babies then those babies are taken away so that we can take their milk. The babies are grown to make meat or they are disposed of. They have to live in tight, cramped conditions, sometimes not being able to walk outside. They are fed food that they wouldn't naturally eat, but it makes them grow really fast so that they will be ready to be made into food faster. This means that farmers can make more money. Farmers only grow these animals to sell them and make money, these animals are not their pets. If no one bought the meat and eggs and milk the farmers would find another job. Maybe growing potatoes for all the vegans. It's important to remember that the animals don't want to be there, it makes them lonely, it causes them pain and makes them incredibly sad.
The harm done to animals isn't all about farming though, there's also using animals for testing, using feathers, wool and skins for clothes and furniture.
Animals are used for testing all kinds of different things, from make up to medicine. The animals can be made to eat things, have injections or even be made ill just to see what happens to them. When testing makeup and other items scientists will put the substance on the animals fur, up their noses and in their eyes to see what happens. This doesn't make the scientists bad people, they really think that this is the best way to make sure that items are safe for people to use, but there are other ways. Skin and other body parts, such as the liver, can be grown from only a few body cells and used for testing or companies can use ingredients that we already know are safe. This doesn't mean that no one should use makeup, just choose items that are cruelty free and don't contain any animal products.
What about wild animals? How are they being harmed?
Have you ever been to the zoo? It's fun, you see animals that you'd normally only see on the television right in front of you. You can enjoy watching them eat and climb and see just how big or tiny they are. In large zoos such as London Zoo people work really hard to make sure that the animals have everything that they need and want and are happy, but in smaller zoos this isn't always the case and the animals suffer. Whether or not you go to the zoo is your choice, some people think that all zoos are bad, but check that the animals are well looked after so that you support the zoos trying to do a good job. Animals suffer in the wild too. Deforestation, the cutting down of the rainforest, is happening everyday leaving the animals that live there nowhere to go, their homes and food are gone. Cutting down the trees also means that carbon dioxide in the air increases because there are less trees to soak it up. The Amazon rainforest is the biggest rainforest, but it is being destroyed for farming animals and growing crops. The crops feed the animals that are then used for meat. If no one wanted to eat the animals then there would be no need to cut down the forest to get the land.
There are lots of ways that we can make changes that would mean that animals suffer less, we can buy items that don't harm animals, we can tidy up our local parks, we can make sure that we're not wasteful and support causes that help the environment. If we all work together we can make a huge change.