IN BRETT ANDERSON’S RE-view of Planet X (“Young & Hungry,” 2/23), he states he is a “devout carnivore, undeterred by health risks or moral guilt.” Bravo, Brett, for not letting such trivial concerns as animals suffering and environmental degradation get in the way of your regular flesh fix. For those of us with empathy and a conscience, maybe a little guilt isn’t such a bad thing.

With the upcoming Great American Meatout in March, let’s consider just a few reasons why some people voluntarily abstain from animal products. More than 6 billion animals are raised and killed every year for food in the United States. Almost all states exclude “food animals” from anti-cruelty laws. Intensive confinement, mutilation, and stress are daily facts of their unnaturally short lives. For example, chickens raised for the egg industry live in cages so cramped they cannot fully stretch out their wings or make natural movements. The male hatchlings are the lucky ones—they are thrown in large bins and suffocated upon birth.