We are a nation of special observances. There is even a World Day for Farm Animals, observed on Oct. 2 (Gandhi's birthday). Apparently it’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food.

Like most others, I always thought of farm animals as "food on the hoof." But when a friend sent me an amazing, endearing Facebook video, it dawned on me that farm animals are much like our family dog, fully deserving of our compassion and respect.

My internet search showed that they get neither. Male baby chicks are routinely suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground up alive. Laying hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers.

Breeding sows are kept pregnant in tiny metal crates. Dairy cows have their babies snatched away immediately upon birth so that we can drink their milk.

It was enough to drive someone to drink. Instead, it drove me to replace the animal products in my diet with a rich variety of plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my grocery store. I have since learned that a cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

Calhoun Torres,

Clinton

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