Wayne Pacelle President and Chief Executive Officer, The Humane Society of the United States
I made [the decision] a long time ago, when I was in college 26 or 27 years ago, because I saw the images of what was going on with these animals on the factory farms. I saw, frankly, a ruthless food production system where animals that feel just as much pain and emotional turmoil or tumult as a dog or cat -- those animals are locked in these factory farms. It looked to me, when I saw the videos and read about what was going on, it looked like a very miserable world for these creatures. There were moments of terror, but there were long periods of deprivation and misery.
And I said to myself, "I don't need to do this. I can change the way I eat, and it's not going to materially diminish my life, and it's going to change things for these animals." I don't think that everyone needs to adopt a vegetarian diet to make a difference. I think that little choices that we make -- getting animal products from a farmer who is raising animals in a proper and humane way or reducing consumption by a little bit -- all of these things matter. You don't need to go the full measure in order to have an impact. One thing I don't want is people to feel paralyzed, that somehow you've got to fit some orthodox regimen in order to be a part of this. Absolutely not. Little decisions that all of us make can have an enormous consequences.
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