Whether you call yourself an omnivore or an opportunistic feeder, know that we are not meant to eat animal products in the ways we do today. Our ancestors hunted their food and the animals were wild, not grown in a factory.
With the amount of resources available to us nowadays, from farmers’ markets to health food stores and restaurants, we all certainly benefit from a diet filled with lots of vegetables, fruits, and good fats. Preventing disease is far less costly than treating it. Reducing or eliminating meat from your diet can yield positive results to your health, the health of the planet and the well being of animals in it.
Reduce your chances of getting heart disease
Lower your cancer risk
Fit better in those jeans
Vegetarians are generally thinner, live longer and healthier lives than non vegetarians. Their diets consist of a wide range of fruits and vegetables that provide the richest source of nutrients to our bodies. Why do we eat so much of so many animal products when the negatives far outweigh the positives?
- Increased risks of cancer and heart disease
- Weight Gain
- Risk of contracting animal transmitted diseases, infections, and viruses
- Meat makes your body more acidic. An acidic body weakens your immune system leaving you more vulnerable to disease
- Infections are more difficult to treat due to an increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria. 80% of antibiotics are used on factory farm animals regularly. Overuse of antibiotics decreases their potential to treat illnesses in humans
- Livestock uses 30% of the earth’s entire land surface and another 33% used to grow their feed
- Deforestation for animal feed production. 70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing
- Land Degradation (reduced fertility, soil compaction, increased salinity, desertification)
- According to the EPA, farm animals’ poop pollutes thousands of miles of rivers and contaminates ground waters in several states. The runoff from factory farms pollutes our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined
- The CDC states chemical, bacterial, and viral compounds from animal waste may travel in the soil and water
- Pollution of soil, water and air by nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer used for feed-crops and from manure
- Pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer manufacture and use for feed production
- Eight percent of global human water use goes towards animal production, including water used to irrigate feed crops
- It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons
- It takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat. Grain that can help feed the world’s hungry mouths
- Loss of biodiversity due to euthrophication, acidification, pesticides and herbicides
- Worldwide reduction of genetic diversity of livestock and loss of traditional breeds
- Species extinctions due to livestock-related habitat destruction
- Agriculture is responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, more than transportation and second only to energy production. The greatest portion of these emissions is from Methane, which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide
ANIMAL WELFARE (More Here)
- Lifetime confinement in cages, crates and indoor sheds
- Discomfort and injuries caused by inappropriate flooring and housing
- Restriction or prevention of normal exercise and most of natural foraging or exploratory behavior
- Restriction or prevention of natural maternal nesting behavior
- Lack of daylight or fresh air and poor air quality in animal sheds
- Social stress and injuries caused by overcrowding
- Health problems caused by extreme selective breeding and management for fast growth and high productivity
- Reduced lifetime (longevity) of breeding animals (dairy cows, breeding sows)
- Fast-spreading infections encouraged by crowding and stress in intensive conditions
- Debeaking (beak trimming or shortening) in the poultry and egg industry to avoid pecking in overcrowded quarters
- Forced and over feeding (by inserting tubes into the throats of ducks) in the production of foie gras
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
Factory farming is the greatest reason I decided to stop eating animals. A type of modern day Holocaust created by Big Agribusiness to give us the lowest possible quality food while fattening their wallets. In factory farms, animals live a life of pain and suffering everyday of their existence. Having any quality of life is not an option. They are raised in cages, unable to move, and are fed an unnatural diet that makes them sick and requires them to be given a steady flow of pharmaceuticals which otherwise would be unnecessary.
This is considered “Free Range”
Perhaps, for us regular people, turning a blind eye is easier than to witness the truth and do the right thing. What is more difficult, accepting the cruelty or embracing conscious change? Change is rewarding when it is in the right direction. One day in the near future, we are going to look back and ask ourselves how we allowed such heinous crimes against nature.
I haven’t eaten a chicken or a pig in almost a decade, except for a few moments of weakness in the first few years, but I’m not perfect and I don’t want to be. For some reason, red meat has been tough to stop eating, as eating it is a big part of my culture (eating all kinds of meats, really) and that makes it much more difficult to let go. When I go home to visit my family there is always a meat or fish dish and both of my grandmas cook so well.
I am one of those people that didn’t want to acknowledge that by eating meat I was supporting factory farming. I even told myself that I would eat meat that was ethically raised (not killed, because how do you kill ethically) and 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating Standards (link here), but I knew I would cheat if given the chance and a tempting treat. I just love food and I have cravings.
One day, I went to whole foods and asked the butcher if there is ever beef that is Level 5 or more and he said no. All beef cattle have to be castrated because, apparently, not doing so alters the flavor of the meat. I don’t know why that was what I needed to hear, but that is when I decided I would stop eating beef. Not sure how I will do in the next few months so we will see. In the meantime, and while sorting out my thoughts, I eat some seafood and wild fish. While I figure things out and get better at creating dishes in the kitchen, I am going to be kind to myself and non-judgmental.
The Epitome of Factory Farming
What you can do to inform yourself about factory farming:
Over 90% of the animals we eat come from factory farms where they are treated inhumanely and live a lifetime of misery. When and why did this become acceptable? Whether you eat meat or choose to be vegan, factory farming should not be allowed as the standard of raising animals for food.
There are several videos out there (YouTube) that give you some insight into the reality inside factory farms. One I watched recently is called Earthlings. Very Powerful and it covers several areas from food to fashion industry. I would start with that.
You have control over how many animals are saved per year just by adding meatless days to your week. Help put an end to factory farming and bring back farming the way it was supposed to be.