HELL-o? Is anybody home? It can’t just be me out there asking this question… Really? Just me? Well here is why I consider eating animal flesh and their byproducts one the most unfathomable things to do (in case you wanted to know).
Environmental Impact of Eating Animal Products
When you hear global warming (regardless of whether you believe in it or not) what comes to mind? Natural gas. Its those dang oil companies, major industrial plants and all those gas-guzzling vehicles that are ruining the protective ozone layer. What if I were to tell you though that eating little piggies and cow butt is also a major contributing factor and probably the easiest one to change? The UN pins livestock for at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gases (GHG), which by the way is more than all of the transportation sector combined (1). That’s right; all those belches and farts add up! So maybe instead of walking to McDonald’s to reduce your carbon footprint, let’s just pass on by the smorgasbord of animal flesh and pay a visit to the much less frequented produce aisle of our local grocery store.
It’s not just the animals themselves that are causing problems, but it’s all the resources required to sustain them as well. Every year millions go hungry, yet 3.5 billion people could be fed with the grain given to livestock. That’s a lot of farmland being wasted to feed animals instead of humans. Rainforests aren’t too happy about livestock either. The Amazon has shrunk in size by 20% in the last few decades and it isn’t with the intent to farm the land to feed a family. Around 90% of deforestation in the Amazon is for the sole purpose of feeding animals, not humans. And it’s not just the Amazon, but deforestation is threatening rainforests everywhere. Why should you care? Rainforests act as the earth’s lungs and help keep the air you and I breathe clean. For those that have experienced an asthma attack or have had the wind knocked out of them, it sure isn’t fun. If we don’t change things quick, we are dooming the earth to one continual asthma attack. That can’t be good for her or us
Fresh water is a precious commodity that is rapidly disappearing. I keep saying that it will be the gold of the future. While reducing time in the shower and turning off the tap when you brush your teeth are good ideas to help save water, they come no where close to how much water you could save by simply going vegan. You would have to skip around 26 showers for every whopper you consume (2). Please, if water gets that scarce, pass on the whopper and shower! In other words, livestock drink a lot of water, especially cows. The UN states that it requires about 15000 liters (roughly 4000 gallons) of water to produce 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of beef, while rice only requires 3500 liters (900 gallons) to produce 1 kg (2.2 lbs), bananas even less at 400 liters (100 gallons, and lettuce at 50 liters (15 gallons) (3). Seems that a vegan diet could help a lot in the fight to save fresh water.
And yes, eating fish is not much better! Deep sea fishing is causing the extinction of thousands of species and farmed fishing is still supporting deep sea fishing because fish are fed to fish! What the heck!?
Animal Rights (ALL animals, not just dogs and cats)
Irony. This world is full of it. But wow, how messed up is our society that we throw people in jail for abusing or killing a dog, while we pay others to mercilessly slaughter cow after cow, pig after pig, and chicken after chicken? You have the person that founded a dog reserve and dedicates his life to trying to help those poor innocent dogs, then sit down at dinner and chew away on pig flesh. Why is it okay to repeatedly rape a cow, steal her baby when it is born, hook her tits up to a milking machine, cram her in with other raped cows who have had their offspring stolen and have her stand day in and day out in her own urine and feces? Just so you can have a glass of milk? Would you like me to do that to your precious dog or cat? Would you like that to be done to you? I sure wouldn’t (not to mention they wouldn’t get much milk out of me). And just an added thought, no other animal species continues drinking milk after infancy, much less the milk from another species! Why humans ever started drinking the milk from animals is beyond me. I also think everyone who chooses to eat meat should first attend a slaughterhouse, a chicken farm and a pig farm and see what goes on. I also think every meat-eater should also have to kill and prepare, at least once, each of the animals that they choose to eat. I have a feeling there would be a massive influx in the popularity of veganism. And even if you are okay with the animal abuse and merciless slaughter, at least think twice about eating animal products for environmental reasons. I’m pretty sure Dori would chime in right now and say, “Animals are friends; not food.”
Health Impact of Eating Animal Products
Eating animals and their by-products not only harms animal lives but your life as well. The consumption of animal products is linked to increases in heart disease, diabetes and various forms of cancer, including breast, colon and prostate (4). One explanation for this is due to various carcinogens that occur in cooked and processed meat, like heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Some studies show animal protein specifically to promote tumor growth by increasing levels of serum IGF-1 concentrations (5). Animal products are highly mucous forming, especially dairy and eggs. Too much mucous in the body leads to a sluggish digestive tract, compromised respiratory system and a congested lymphatic system, all of which influences the onset of disease.
Okay… Do you feel better now, Mitch? A little. I’m sure there are more reasons out there of why we shouldn’t consume animal products but this is good enough for me at the moment. I think there are a few influencing factors at play for why the world hasn’t changed their eating habits yet. I know these factors were influential when I myself didn’t think twice about consuming animal products.
- Marketing. The livestock industry has been incredibly effective at getting us to believe that our health depends on animal products, when this is complete bull****(pun intended). Dairy is not the only food with calcium and it’s easy to get all the protein your body needs from plants.
- Ignorance. The livestock industry has also cleverly removed the consumer from animal products they are consuming. Out of sight, out of mind. No one sees the abuse or the slaughtering. No one hears the animal’s cries for help. No one smells the awful condition in which the animals are kept. And no one feels the rapid scared heartbeat through the skin of the soon to be sacrificed animal. Heck, we have even given the meat from animals separate names. You don’t eat cow for dinner, but beef, steak, roast. You don’t eat pig flesh, rather ribs, bacon or pork.
- Racism. Some animals, like dogs and cats, are clearly far better than others and clearly shouldn’t be in the same category as cows, pigs, chickens and fish. In fact, dogs and cats are so superior that we even humanize them. “My dog is like my child!”. Well what’s wrong with adopting goats, sheep and pigs too?
- Superiority. Animals are just animals. They are stupid beasts. We humans are superior beings and can do with them as we please.
I don’t always agree with Charles Darwin, but I do when he said, “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
*I am aware that current farming methods of mono crops also damage the environment and lead to animal suffering and loss of animal life, like birds (this is why the majority of my diet now comes from fruit – incredibly sustainable). First things first though. Let’s first concentrate on reducing animal products, then look at farming.*