10 Reasons to Go Vegetarian
- Helping Animals Also Helps Global Poor
While there is ample and justified moral indignation about the diversion of 100 million tons of grain for biofuels, more than seven times as much (760 million tons) is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat. Is the diversion of crops to our cars a moral issue? Yes, but it’s about one-eighth the issue that meat-eating is. Care out global poverty? Try vegetarian.
- Eating Meat Supports Cruelty to Animals
The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On Today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other confinement systems. These animals will never raise families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything else that is natural and important to them. They won’t even get to feel the warmth of the sun on the backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.
- Eating Meat is Bad for the Environment
A recent United Nations report titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” concludes that eating meat is “one of the …most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” In just one example, eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. The report concludes that meat industry “should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and in pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
- Avoid Bird Flu
The World Health Organization says that if the avian flu virus mutates, it could be caught simply by eating undercooked chicken flesh or eggs, eating food prepared on the same cutting board as infected meat or eggs, or even touching eggshells contaminated with the disease. Other problems with factory farming –from foot-and-mouth to SARS- can be avoided with general shift to a vegetarian diet.
- If You Wouldn't Eat a Dog, You Shouldn't Eat a Chicken
Several recent studies have shown that chickens are bright animals that are able to solve complex problems, demonstrate self-control and worry about the future. Chickens are smarter than cats and dogs and even do some things that have not yet been seen in mammals other than primates. Dr. Chris Evans, who studies animal behavior and communication at Macquarie University in Australia, says, “As a trick at conferences, I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens and people think I’m talking about monkeys.”
- Heart Disease: Our No. 1 Killer
Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including the United States’ three biggest killers: Heart disease, cancer and strokes. Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell Eselstyn –two doctors with 100 percent success in prevnting and reversing heart disease – have used a vegan diet to accomplish it, as chronicled most recently in Dr. Esselstyn’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” which documents his 100 percent success rate for unclogging people’s arteries and reversing heart disease.
- Cancer: Our No. 2 Killer
Dr. T.Colin Campbell is one of the world’s foremost epidemiological scientists and the director of what The New York Times called “the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.” Dr. Campbell’s best-selling book, “The China Study,” is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about cancer. To summarize it, Dr. Campbell states, “No chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.
- Fitting Into That Itty Bitty Bikini
Vegetarianism is also the ultimate weight-loss diet, since vegetarian are one-third as likely be obese as meat-eaters are, and vegans are about one-tenths as likely to be obese. Of course, there are overweight vegans, just as there are skinny meat-eaters. A vegetarian diet is the only diet that has passed peer review for taking weight off and keeping it off.
- Global Peace
Leo Tolstoy claimed that “vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism.” His point? For people who wish to sow the seeds of peace, we should be eating as peaceful a diet as possible. Eating meat supports killing animals, for no reason other than humans’ acquired taste for animals’ flesh. Great humanitarians from Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi to Thich Nhat Hanh have argued that a vegetarian diet is the only diet for people who want to make the world a kinder place.
- The Joy of Veggies
As the growing range of vegetarian cookbooks and restaurants shows, vegetarian foods rock. People report that when they adopt a vegetarian diet, their range of foods explodes from a center-of-the-plate meat item to a range of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables that they didn’t even know existed.
Sir Paul McCartney sums it all up, “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”