Yes, I’m a vegetarian. But don’t get me wrong–I’m not completely vegetarian. I eat fish and eggs and drink milk, so I guess that means I’m an ovo-lacto-pescetarian if you want to be technical.
It’s just easier to say vegetarian, because I don’t eat meat (yes, none–no steak, no chicken, no turkey and no pork.) I wrote this article to encourage people to at least consider being vegetarian, if not just reduce their consumption of meat. Why?
I’m not a militant vegan, but I do believe that people should know where their food comes from. If you’re eating chicken mcnuggets, you may want to consider what planet that “chicken” is from. If you’re chomping down on some tasty steak, you should consider how that animal was raised (and if it involved chopping down Amazonian rainforest in the process.) If you buy a slab of meat from the supermarket, was it raised ethically? It only makes sense to ask these questions.
7 Reasons to be a Vegetarian:
1.) It’s good for the environment.
Vegetables take less resources to grow than water, land and feed to raise a cow. The livestock “industry” is a huge contributor to environmental degradation worldwide. Think burning down Amazon rainforests so that more cows can be raised in Brazil.
Modern practices of raising animals for food contributes to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity.
In 2009, the Guardian reported: “Links between meat consumption and climate change have been widely known for many years, partly due to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest to make room for the livestock.” Another report by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, Livestock and Climate Change from 2009 suggests this link is even more serious than previously thought.
Keith Akers recently suggested on his blog that “the single most important thing we can do to fight climate change is to decrease consumption of animal products.”
2.) People eat too much meat
Some countries eat a lot of meat, in fact much more than they need. Brazil, Canada, the U.S. and others eat a staggering amount of meat. Check out Meat consumption per capita for a country-by-country breakdown.
3.) Vegetables are good for you.
I think some carnivores hate veggies because their mothers forced them to eat boiled cabbage when they were young. Diversify! Have some kale, munch some cucumber, or make a salad! Vegetables can be raw or cooked and don’t have to be mushy and flavourless if you’re a little creative.
“…vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes—lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure.” from 2010 Dietary Guidelines report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
4.) Treatment of animals.
Factory farming has arisen out of the mass market demand for meat. This type of farming disregards the welfare of animals. I don’t have anything against free-range farming, which is a very different thing. If you have a farm and you raise the chickens, cows, and pigs yourself and butcher them, I don’t see anything wrong with that. If you process millions of chickens in a factory where they suffer horribly and keep them in tiny cages where they don’t have a decent quality of life, I think that’s wrong.
5.) Animals are intelligent.
Haven’t you read Charlotte’s Web? Besides an intelligent pig, I suppose that book also has a talking rat, not to mention spiders, but that’s besides the point. The point is that animals morally have a right not to suffer. While I can’t say I’m a pig expert, they are supposed to be more trainable than cats or dogs.
6.) Live longer.
Vegetarians outlive meat eaters by six years. The study tracked over 11,000 people over 17 years and adjusted for smoking and socio-economic status.**
**Timothy J. A. Key, et al., “Dietary Habits and Mortality in 11,000 Vegetarians and Health Conscious People: Results of a 17-year Follow-up,” BMJ: British Medical Journal 313 (1996): 775-779.
Many religions around the world, such as Buddhism or Hinduism, believe that the choices we make in our lives have consequences. This is why many choose a vegetarian diet, in order not to contribute to a cycle of suffering.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Gandhi.
Meat Free Monday is a website that suggests some good ideas to help the planet.