Alternative Culture Articles
February 5, 2001
15 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat
By Royce Carlson
Global meat consumption has increased from under 50 million tons annually to
over 200 million tons in the last 50 years. The
amount of animal manure produced in the U.S. is 130 times greater than the
amount of human waste. This is causing more environmental and health
problems than ever seen before. Here are 15 good reasons to
stop eating meat (or at least cut down):
- Lower risk of cancer. The Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine has reported that vegetarians are less likely to get cancer by 25
to 50 percent.
- Lower risk of heart disease. Researchers Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr.
Caldwell Esselstyn have a program that includes a vegetarian diet and is
currently one of the few programs that has been proven to reverse heart
disease. A vegetarian diet reduces cholesterol.
- Lower risk of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that too much protein
in our diet causes loss of bone calcium. Meat eaters generally get far more
protein than they need or can use.
- Lower risk of kidney and gallstones. The calcium leached from the
bones by the bodyís efforts to neutralize the acids produce by too much
protein intake can end up forming kidney stones and gall stones.
- Factory farmed animals carry disease.
According to the FDA poultry
is the number one source of food-borne illness. Despite the heavy use of
pesticides and antibiotics, up to 60% percent of chickens sold at the
supermarket are infected with live salmonella bacteria. Approximately 30% of
all pork products are contaminated with toxoplasmosis. We are increasingly
at risk from highly contagious diseases like Mad Cow Disease and Foot and
Mouth disease in sheep and cattle.
- Factory-farmed animals contain toxic chemicals.
accumulations of pesticides and other chemicals up to 14 times more
concentrated than those in plant foods. Half of all antibiotics used in the
U.S. are used in farm animals and 90% of those are not used to treat
infections but are instead used as growth promoters.
- Inefficient use of agriculture. 70% of U.S. grain production is used
to feed farm animals. The grains and soybeans fed to animals to produce the
amount of meat consumed by the average American in one year could feed seven
people for the same period.
- Inefficient use of water. It takes 2640 gallons of water to produce
one pound of edible beef. The water used to raise animals for food is more
than half the water used in the United States.
- Inefficient use of energy.Calories of fossil fuel needed to produce 1 calorie of protein in beef:
Calories of fossil fuel needed to produce 1 calorie of protein in soybeans:
- Environmental Pollution. Raising animals for food is the biggest
polluter of our water and topsoil. Factory farm animal waste pollutes the
ground and groundwater horribly.
- Destruction of natural habitat.
It takes more land to raise animals
for food than it does to produce the equivalent nutritional value by raising
edible plants. Rain forests are being destroyed to make room for huge cattle
ranches. Coyotes and other animals are poisoned and shot by western cattle
ranchers who consider federal land to be their land for grazing.
- Animals on factory farms are over-crowded.
They spend their brief
lives in crowded and ammonia-filled conditions, many of them so cramped that
they can't even turn around or spread a wing.
- Animals on factory farms are tortured.
Within days of birth, for
example, chickens have their beaks seared off with a hot blade. Animals are
hung upside down and their throats are sliced open, often while they're
- Animals on factory farms are treated like machines. They are pumped
up with drugs, fed their own waste and forced to grow or produce as fast as
possible. They are subjected to 24-hour artificial lighting while being
crammed into tiny cages one on top of the other to make it easier to
15. We donít need to eat animals! Most of us in the U.S. donít
eat animals because we must in order to survive. We eat them because we want
to. We are subjecting animals to torture, damaging the environment
unnecessarily and subjecting ourselves to greater risk of disease just to
satisfy a desire, not a need.
You can get a totally balanced diet without eating meat. All vegetables
contain protein and too much protein consumption is unhealthy. Grains, legumes
and soybeans contain plenty of protein. Vegetarian foods do not have to be
boring. Spice it up! For example, veggies and rice with some Teriyaki sauce is
delicious and as filling as any meat dish you can think of while being far more
healthy for you and easier on animals and the environment. Why not give a
vegetarian diet a try and give our environment a break. Your body will thank
you and so will the Earth!
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