EnvironmentThe destruction of ancient rain forests, loss of topsoil, massive increases in water impurities, and copious amounts of carbon dioxide pollution result from the raising of animals for food. Vegetarianism is kinder to Mother Earth, and offers hope to the 60 million people who die of starvation each year—15 million of them children. If the grain used to fatten livestock was fed to humans, starvation could be completely averted, what to speak of the folly of growing corn to fuel cars. If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
- 100 billion gallons of water;
- 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock;
- 70 million gallons of gas–enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
- 3 million acres of land;
- 33 tons of antibiotics.
- Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
- 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
- 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
- Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.
Research by Noam Mohr from the New York University Polytechnic Institute
According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day–that’s twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn’t even include the 225 million tons of soy that is produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we–the relatively affluent–have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly. —excerpt from Huffington Post article by Kathy Freston April 1, 2009
Animal WelfareIn factory farm settings, billions of animals are killed for food each year in North America alone. Factory farms not only cause incredible distress for the animals, but also result in the spread of disease and ground water pollution. I would recommend watching the “Meatrix” for an entertaining but serious look.
LongevityLarge population studies found that vegetarians and vegans on average live longer than meat-eaters—seven and fourteen years respectively: EPIC-Oxford (UK, 1993-2001); Adventist Mortality (California, 1959-60); Health Food Shoppers (UK, 1973-79); Adventist Health (California, 1976-80); Heidelberg (Germany, 1978-81) and Oxford Vegetarian (UK, 1980-84). The list of illustrious vegetarians continues to grow. A few examples in the 20th century, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, Albert Schweitzer, Tolstoy, Gandhi, General Booth (Salvation Army) and Henry Ford were all conscientious long-time vegetarians, as are world record-breaking athletes Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses. When told by his doctors in his 90th year, that he would have to begin to eat meat to survive, George Bernard Shaw responded: 'I solemnly declare that it is my last wish that when I am no longer a captive of this physical body, that my coffin when carried to the graveyard be accompanied by mourners of the following categories: first, birds; second, sheep, lambs, cows and other animals of the kind; third, live fish in an aquarium. Each of these mourners should carry a placard bearing the inscription: ‘O Lord, be gracious to our benefactor G.B. Shaw who gave his life for saving ours!’ Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance genius, was more outspoken: 'I have since an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.' Leonardo often bought captive birds from the market and set them free from their cages. He possessed immense physical strength. It was perhaps his vegetarian diet that helped him live nearly twice the years of average Europeans of his time. Albert Einstein: 'I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience… So I am
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