Labor Day offers a powerful reminder of the crucial gains experienced by American workers in the past century. 

In 1894, when President Grover Cleveland proclaimed the first Monday in September as Labor Day, Americans worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in abysmal conditions to eke out a living. They were treated as animals. 

A century later, animals in factory farms still are. 

Mother pigs suffer a lifetime in tight metal stalls. Their babies are torn away, mutilated without anesthesia, crammed into crowded pens for six months, then slaughtered in the dawn of their lives. 

Dairy cows spend their lives chained on a concrete floor. Each year, they are artificially impregnated to keep the milk flowing. Their babies are torn from their grieving mothers at birth and slaughtered for veal, so we can drink their milk. 

As it did for American workers, relief for these sentient beings is in sight. 

Our supermarkets offer a rich variety of convenient, healthful, delicious plant-based burgers, veggie dogs and meat-free nuggets along with nut-based cheeses, ice creams, and other dairy-free desserts.

This Labor Day, let’s all celebrate these plant-based options. 

Manny Santiago

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