Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your body. One of the few nutritional deficiencies vegetarians do occasionally deal with is iron deficiency. Because plant-based iron isn’t always as easily absorbed by the body, iron supplements can be a great, natural, and completely vegetarian way to get your recommended iron.
Eating meat threatens animal welfare, personal health,
societal safety, food security, biodiversity, and environmental sustainability.
The best way for us to personally protect our world and our health
is to Go Vegetarian... that’s Eco-Eating!
“The most political act we do on a daily basis is to eat.”
“The human appetite for animal flesh
is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage
now threatening the human future—
deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss,
social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.”
The decision to eat vegetarian is one of the most vital ways
we can help save our health and our environment everyday...
Get off your good intentions
and put your beliefs into action!
Consider the facts:
• 1. Rainforests:
Eating meat contributes to the destruction of rainforests, often called the “lungs of our planet” for the way they absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. What we breathe out (carbon dioxide), trees breathe in; what trees breathe out (oxygen), we breathe in. We breathe each other into life and we are actively destroying that life support. Rainforests are the major source of oxygen for the planet; their survival and our survival are closely linked. Rainforests also provide food and medicine.
Rainforests are home to about 90% of all plant and animal species on the planet. The Amazon Rainforest alone holds about 20% of the world’s fresh water and emits about 20% of the world’s oxygen, possessing beauty and sequestering carbon. Every year, gigantic amounts of rain forest, including 5000-11000 square miles [13000-28500 sq. km.] in the Amazon Rainforest, are lost and more than 1,000 plant and animal species that live there become extinct. About 2/3 [60-70%] of that land is currently used for grazing about 165 million cattle. 1/5 [20%] of the Amazon Rainforest has already been cleared. An estimated 80% of annual world deforestation is related to animal agriculture. While some Amazon rainforest in Brazil is also being cut down for soy fields, much of this (genetically modified) soy is being fed to animals being raised for meat – an even more inefficient and wasteful use of essential and irreplaceable rainforest. The meat production-and-consumption cycle is essentially transforming the world’s precious and mega-biodiverse tropical rainforests into carbon dioxide and cholesterol, thereby increasing disasters on both the personal and planetary levels.
Some extremely deadly viral diseases—including Ebola, Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, and AIDS—have been called the “revenge of the rainforest”, as they have erupted and spread via the building of roads into forests, paving the way for deforestation and the hunt for bushmeat, especially primates, but other amazing animals as well, increasingly threatening many of these animals with extinction. In stark contrast, about ¼ of medicines, including those for leukemia, are derived from the rainforests, yet only about 1% of rainforest plant species have been tested for medicinal purposes. We are uprooting our potential miracle cures through the hamburgerization of our precious forests.
Further, underwater “forests” of coral reefs and mangroves are being decimated by “rape-and-run” shrimp farming (exploiting and polluting coastal communities for 2 to 5 years before abandoning them), commercial fishing, industrial shipping, and other meat and fish-related mega-activities.
Each vegetarian and vegan saves more than an acre (0.4 hectares) of trees every year as well as protecting valuable ecosystems, saving vanishing species, and maintaining precious biodiversity. Your dietary choices make a substantial difference!
mostly for cattle pasture to feed the
“In a nutshell, cattle ranchers are making mincemeat out of Brazil’s Amazon rainforests.”
“Raising cattle for beef not only damages the rainforests in Central and South America,
it also impacts the environment closer to home.”
• 2. Global Warming:
Global warming is a mega-disaster. We are overheating our planet to alarming levels with potentially catastrophic consequences. Evidence demonstrates that livestock raised for meat is responsible for 51% — a majority! — of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, according to “Livestock and Global Warming” (pdf), (World Watch, Nov/Dec 2009).
Eating meat increases global warming, one of the most dangerous threats to our planet, at least according to reports by and for Greenpeace, Oxfam, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Pentagon, the World Bank, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organization, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, and a vast number of other scientists, political economic analysts, and environmentalists — and there are no scientific or environmental organizations or any peer-reviewed scientific or environmental articles that dispute global warming and that humans are causing and contributing to it.
The Pentagon report,
for example, states that climate change in the form of global warming “should
be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern”,
higher even than terrorism, warning of riots and declaring that “future wars
will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology, or
national honor”. The
Further, the world has seen a melting of the polar ice caps, glaciers, and permafrost with potentially disastrous consequences for people, animals, cities, islands, and other coastal communities, as well as arctic areas, which will likely lead to rising seas, suffering, death, extinction, and the forced migration of people and animals. These extreme weather events and other eco-spasms have become more frequent and are projected to multiply with dire consequences for the world.
Cow farms produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane per year, the two major greenhouse gases which together account for over 90% of US greenhouse emissions, significantly contributing to global scorching (what is euphemistically called global warming). Methane is less abundant that carbon dioxide, and degrades much quicker, but is 23 times more potent. Nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas that accounts for about 6% of global warming, is about 300 times more potent that carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide is emitted from manure and fertilizer. The effects of the livestock industry on our “warming globe” are strong, undeniable, and disastrous, and yet the place where we can have a major and relatively quick impact and do so on the individual level. You can easily reduce your carbon hoofprint.
Power production, passenger and other vehicles, international shipping, militarism (the U.S. military, for example, is the world’s biggest consumer of oil and the world’s largest polluter), and other major users of fossil fuels are also among the biggest contributors to global warming. Deforestation is a major contributor. Smoking is also a factor and is intimately related to deforestation. Global warming is already having grave effects on our planet and we need to take action as soon as possible. No violence, no war, no warming—we need to increase the peace!
Meat eaters are contributing to global warming, which is “Another Inconvenient Truth”. It’s Another Inconvenient Truth that switching to a vegan diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more than switching to a hybrid car. Scientific studies (including a major one by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO)) are piling up showing that what one drives, while quite important, is less significant than what one eats. The 2006 UN FAO report concluded that the meat industry accounts for nearly one-fifth (18%) of global warming and is “one of the…most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. That was an underestimate: the livestock industry is the leading cause of anthropogenic global warming and accounts for a majority (51%) of greenhouse gases.
Let’s fight global warming with our forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks! Meat —> heat.
We need to eat lower on the food chain, which many people are doing, because it will safeguard our personal health as well as help protect life on Earth. Vegetarianism is a “global cooling cuisine” and is the ultimate “low carb(on) diet”. Vegetarians help keep the planet cool in more ways than one! Be cool.
“There is a strong link between human diet and methane emissions from livestock.”
“Belching, flatulent livestock emit 16% of the world’s annual production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.”
“The animals we eat emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity.”
“The single action that a person can take, an individual can take, to reduce carbon emissions is vegetarianism…
There are many things that people can do to reduce their carbon emissions, but changing your light bulb and many of the things are much less effective than changing your diet,
because if you eat further down on the food chain rather than animals, which have produced many greenhouse gases, and used much energy in the process of growing that meat,
you can actually make a bigger contribution in that way than just about anything. So, that, in terms of individual action, is perhaps the best thing you can do.”
“The entire meat cycle is very, very intensive, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
I would say go veg, be green and save our planet!”
“The single [biggest] action that a person can take to reduce carbon emissions is vegetarianism.”
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner with Al Gore
• 3. Fossil Fuels:
Eating meat increases our dependence on non-renewable, heavily-polluting fossil fuels, including oil. With the onset of “peak oil”, this is an increasingly important issue. Producing a single pound (0.45 kg) of beef requires burning up to 40 times more fossil fuels than to produce one pound (0.45 kg) of soybeans. For example, it requires approximately 78 calories of non-renewable fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from factory-farmed beef, but only 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from soybeans.
Oil is an extremely dirty and environmentally-destructive endeavor at every stage, from drilling to shipping to refining to consuming; likewise with coal. Of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S., more than 1/3 goes toward raising animals for food.
Vegetarianism is important because it helps reduce our dependence on oil and gas, and therefore also our dependence on oily authoritarian governments and imperial wars, while keeping our environment cleaner and greener.
“Making a hamburger in the global economy consumes a huge amount of fossil fuels.”
• 4. Land:
Eating meat takes land away from more productive
purposes. Almost 1/2 of
Further, the leading cause of species threat and
extinction in the
Vegetarians tread lightly, requiring only 1/6 acre (0.067
hectares) of land to feed themselves each year; omnivores, 3 1/4 acres (1.315
hectares). More than 3/4 of
Vegetarianism and veganism show greater respect for our land by protecting and preserving its richness.
“We could support more people on Earth for a given area of land farmed if we ate lower on the food chain.”
Patricia Muir, Ph.D.,
“The United States is losing approximately 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of cropland each year due to soil erosion.
It is estimated that 85% of this topsoil loss is directly related to raising livestock.”
“Arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals
or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”
• 5. Water:
Water is an absolutely essential resource. Eating meat
wastes huge amounts of water, increasingly referred to as “blue gold”. In an
effort to conserve increasingly scarce yet completely necessary water, you
can install a water saver on your kitchen faucet, saving up to 6,000 gallons
(23,000 liters) of water per year. Your savings will be lost, however, if you
consume just one pound (0.45 kg) of
A typical meat-based diet wastes a tremendous amount of water per person every day, hastening “peak water”, while vegetarian and vegan diets use only a moderate amount. The amount of water used to produce the meat from a single cow is enough to float a large ship. More than half of the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land to grow feed for livestock. The Ogallala Aquifer, beneath the Great Plains of the U.S. and one of the world’s largest stores of fresh groundwater, took millions of years to create and is being depleted (and polluted) in decades due to the livestock industry and the crops needed to feed it. It takes about 100 times the amount of water to produce beef as it does to produce wheat.
Eco-Eaters help protect and conserve this most precious resource.
“More than 4,000 gallons (15,000 liters) of water are needed
to produce a single day’s worth of food for the typical meat eater.
In comparison, an ovo-lacto vegetarian requires only 1,200 gallons (4,500 l) of water,
and a vegan needs a mere 300 gallons (1,135 l).”
“There is no other single action that is as effective at saving water as eating a plant-based diet.”
• 6. Waste:
Eating meat is extremely wasteful, generating dangerous by-products. Each cow produces about 150 pounds (68 kg.) of manure every day. Every second, about 125 tons (127,000 kg) of waste are excreted by animals confined in the U.S. meat-industrial complex, creating “mountains of manure” and “open lagoons of liquefied manure”, toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, and other forms of hazardous waste. Livestock account for 2/3 of ammonia release in the U.S., contributing to acid rain and other eco-disasters. “In a single year in [the U.S.]”, says Michael Greger, M.D., “our industrialized animal agriculture’s intensive confinement system produces more than a billion tons of manure - as heavy as 10,000 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers”.
The production of meat is very wasteful and disgusting. We’re fouling our own nest. Vegetarians and vegans create less waste because the less meat you eat, the less mess you make.
“Giant livestock farms, which can house hundreds of thousands of pigs, chickens, or cows, produce vast amounts of waste.
In fact, in the U.S., these ‘factory farms’ generate more than 130 times the amount of waste that people do…
[and have] polluted more than 27,000 miles (44,000 km) of rivers and contaminated groundwater in dozens of states.”
“[Factory farms] produce large amounts of waste in small areas.
For example, a single dairy cow produces approximately 120 pounds (54.4 kg) of wet manure per day.
The waste produced per day by one dairy cow is equal to that of 20-40 people.”
“At U.S. feedlots and factory farms, more than a trillion pounds of manure are deposited every year.
On that scale and at such concentrations, a perfectly natural substance can become a toxic one.”
Factory farming, or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), is the industrialization and mass production of raising animals for food. By treating animals as raw material, as commodified “things”, as objects merely for the sake of profit, without regard to the rights or welfare of the animals, workers, consumers, communities, or the environment, cruelty is inherent, disease is widespread, resources are depleted and wasted, workers are demoralized and injured, neighbors are sickened, and various aspects of the environment are seriously degraded. This industry is also notorious for racism, sexism, sexual harassment, and other serious workplace violations.
Not only are slaughterhouses killing billions of non-human animals, but a slaughterhouse is one of the most dangerous places for human workers too, with very high rates of occupational injuries and deaths; indeed, the highest of all factory jobs in the US, with about three times the rate of injuries in other occupations.
Only 4 giant monopolistic corporations control about 80%
of the beef market, slaughtering 35 million cows
and bulls in the
Dairy cows are forced to calve every year, being artificially inseminated and re-inseminated, putting enormous stress on the cows. Babies are immediately separated from their mothers: female calves are channeled into the dairy industry to replace their mothers; male calves are pushed into the meat industry, mostly for beef, though about a million male calves are quickly turned into veal. Dairy cows are fed unnaturally rich diets, are pumped with antibiotics (in some cases, everyday) and hormones (e.g., BGH), and are treated to other cruelties to further increase milk production to about a 1000% of what they would normally produce. About half the dairy cows in the US suffer from mastitis and many more from other illnesses and diseases. Instead of living to about 25 years, dairy cows are worn out after about 3 or 4 years, at which point they’re moved from milk production to meat production. The NOTmilk page has a wealth of information regarding the various problems with milk. “And with the cows—at least in these numbers—come a laundry-list of potential environmental hazards and nuisances”, according to John Gibler in terrain. “Nitrates and salts leach from cow manure to degrade the land and contaminate the groundwater.”
“Cows belch smog-forming [and greenhouse] gases during the rumination process and toxic ammonia rises into the air from manure lagoons. Millions of pounds (kilograms) of manure also attract flies and mosquitoes, escalating the danger of West Nile virus [and other communicable diseases]. And, to state the obvious, thousands of cows producing millions of pounds (kilograms) of poop tend to smell really bad.” If there were no cow industry, there would be no E. coli outbreaks; if there were no cow industry, there would be much less global warming.
Approximately 100 million pigs—crowded, crated, mutilated—are raised for slaughter
About 10 billion chickens, in addition to turkeys, ducks, geese, and other
birds, are hatched in the
Turkeys are genetically manipulated to grow oversized
breasts, as well as to develop white meat, making them unable to stand, walk,
or mate properly, if at all. About 99% of the approximately 300 million turkeys
raised for Thanksgiving
and other meals in the
To mass produce veal in the
Factory-farmed animals are unwilling captives, who have no choice, no defense, and no alternative options against their cruel and unusual punishment for which they committed no crime.
Ultimately, though, it’s not factory farming that’s the problem; the problem is “animal farming”. While organic and free-range meat and eggs, for example, might be better in some ways, and might not in other ways, it is certainly not better in the most important ways. Free range is uncertified and voluntary, meaning in practice that many animals are deemed free range if they theoretically only have access to some outside area, even if it is impracticle, unnatural, and unused. When free range is practiced in actuality, it might be better for the animal while it is living, but it might be worse for the environment as free ranging necessitates a lot more land, and already so much land is dedicated to the meat industry. Further, even “organically” and “compassionately” raised animals are brutally and unnecessarily killed while they are young, simply to serve someone else’s selfish appetite. Animal advocates, such as Lee Hall, the legal director of Friends of Animals, call for “animal rights, untamed”.
If factory farms are the meat-production assembly lines, slaughterhouses are the animal dis-assembly lines. Ignorance is not bliss, but sometimes the truth hurts. Vegetarians and vegans oppose cruelty with every meal and keep things more natural, more fair, and more sustainable.
“While inefficiently producing unhealthy food, contributing to heart disease and cancer,
factory farms leave a wake of toxic waste, disease, declining aquifers, global warming, obesity for the affluent and malnutrition for the excluded.”
“Animal factories are one more sign of the extent to which our technological capacities have advanced faster than our ethics.”
“Agribusiness factory farms subvert democracy and are some of the nation’s worst polluters…
they also treat animals with unspeakable cruelty.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
• 8. Fish & Other Sea Animals:
“Seafood is simply a socially acceptable form of bush meat”, according to Paul Watson, a founder of Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. “We condemn Africans for hunting monkeys and mammalian and bird species from the jungle, yet the developed world thinks nothing of hauling in magnificent wild creatures like swordfish, tuna, halibut, shark and salmon for our meals. The fact is that the global slaughter of marine wildlife is simply the largest massacre of wildlife on the planet.”
Commercial fishing is causing the collapse of the world’s fisheries, having likely passed “peak fish”, destroying
marine ecosystems, heavily polluting our oceans, and, along with climate
change, contributing to “dead zones”.
In effect, we are clear cutting our underwater rainforests, including the coral
reefs and mangroves
that support a rich array of biodiversity, as well as providing coastal
protection, leading to the endangerment and extinction of many species
employing “the factory trawler’s wet version of a scorched-earth policy”
(Curtis White). To catch wild fish, entire schools of fish are netted along
with turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, seals, birds, and others as “by-catch”,
or “collateral damage”, leaving a destructive and deadly wake. In fact, over
1/5 (about 22%) of fish caught by
Aquaculture, or the factory farming of fish, is also massively eco-destructive, often leading to over-fishing of wild fish for feed, de-oxygenation of the water, disease amongst fish and other marine animals, and the (over)use of antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, and genetically-engineered additives.
Further, underwater “forests” of coral reefs and mangroves are being decimated by “rape-and-run” shrimp farming (exploiting and polluting coastal communities for 2 to 5 years before abandoning them), commercial overfishing and trawling, inefficient industrial shipping, and other fish-related mega-activities with no regard for the natural world, whether underwater or above.
Fish often contain mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium as well as toxic POPs, including PCBs, DDT, and dioxin, which can’t be removed from the fish and which bio-accumulate in consumers. “A major health hazard from eating fish flesh comes from humans causing polluted aquatic environments. Fish are repositories for the industrial and municipal wastes and the agricultural chemicals flushed into the world’s waters”, says Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. “Mercury, especially high in tuna and swordfish, can cause brain damage, especially in growing children. PCBs, dioxin, and pesticides (such as DDT) have been linked to cancers, nervous system disorders, fetal damage, and many other health problems. Removing fish from your meals eliminates half of all mercury exposure and reduces one’s intake of other toxins.” According to Dr. Steve Patch, co-director of the Environmental Quality Institute, University of North Carolina-Asheville, “We saw a direct relationship between people’s mercury levels and the amount of… fish people consumed”. Dioxin is one of the world’s most toxic chemicals and the EPA reports that about 95% of dioxin in humans comes from ingesting meat, dairy, and fish.
While fish often are said to contain high levels of protein and healthy fats and fatty acids (especially for the fish), this may not be the case and, in any event, there are easy alternatives for these nutrients, including olives, walnuts, flax, and hemp seeds. Additionally, fish, as with other animals, contain saturated fat and cholesterol, which are unhealthy. Further, fish do not contain any fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants, or phytonutrients, all of which are exclusive to plant foods. A scientific review of studies about fish has shown that it is not necessarily a healthy food for humans. William Harris, M.D. determined that fish have seven times the protein that humans should intake and that fish protein contains high amounts of the amino acids methionine and cystine, which lead to calcium depletion and can cause osteoporosis.
It is understandable why some people go into denial, but it should be clear that fish—as with all other animals—feel pain, a phenomenon in animals needed for survival and success. Being caught on a hook is “like dentistry without novocaine, drilling into exposed nerves” (Dr. Tom Hopkins). Being pulled out of the water is like a person being held under water.
Vegetarians and vegans protect fish, other marine animals, coral reefs, and the incredible oceans they live in.
“The fishing industry is following directly in the footsteps of the livestock industries,
feeding primarily the rich at the expense of the planet, the animals, and the poor.”
“Now that the shallow fisheries are in serious decline, trawl nets fitted with wheels and rollers are dragging across the bottom of the deep oceans,
removing everything of any size.”
“Commercial fishing, aquaculture, and angling are environmentally catastrophic….
If you eat fish, you are supporting an industry that plunders our oceans with no regard for the horrible pain and suffering that fish and other marine animals endure
or for the diverse ocean ecosystem that is imperative to the survival of all underwater life.”
• 9. Health & Disease:
Eating meat is dangerous for human health, our inner environments or “invironment”. Eating meat is associated with and may lead to heart disease and heart attacks (the #1 cause of death in the U.S.), cancer (e.g., colorectal, breast, prostate, lung, skin, stomach, and pancreas) (the #2 cause of death), stroke (the #3 cause of death), pulmonary diseases (the #4 cause of death), diabetes (type 2) (the #6 cause of death), Alzheimer’s (the #8 cause of death), certain kidney diseases (the #10 cause of death), high blood pressure (hypertension) (the #13 cause of death), obesity, asthma, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, aneurysms, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, impotence, gallstones, gout, certain mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s, and other very serious ailments. About 2/3 of diseases in the U.S. are diet-related—according to the U.S. Surgeon General—and vegetarians are much less afflicted. Vegetarian nutrition has proven to be safe and even superior, not deficient, compared to animal-based diets.
average, vegetarians, and vegans even
more so, live healthier and longer lives compared to those who eat meat,
living 6 – 10 years longer, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “In
Further, since over 70% (nearly ¾) of all antibiotics
in the U.S. are given to livestock (plus immense amounts of chemicals, steroids, hormones,
and other drugs),
resistant bacteria are increasing at an alarming rate, creating untreatable superbugs, like
And don’t forget mad cow disease (also know as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, and in its human form as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or vCJD), bird flu / avian influenza (H5N1), SARS, chronic wasting disease, foot and mouth, E. coli 0157:H7, salmonella, campylobacter, listeria, staphylococcus, clostridium, and other causes of food poisoning.
Chickens are fed arsenic and fish often contain mercury or other heavy metals or toxic chemicals, making these especially dangerous to consume with grave long-term effects. Dead pigs, horses, and poultry are often “rendered” for cattle and poultry feed, along with sawdust and old newspaper, in addition to grains, recalling the meatpacking abuses in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Additionally, more and more meat is being treated with poisonous carbon monoxide (CO), in an effort to keep old meat that isn’t fresh looking red instead of turning brown, thereby masking possible spoilage. The meat industry’s response is that this poisonous gas is “safe” in small amounts and that “everyone knows not to eat stinky meat”.
major pandemics of the last 100 years—notably the global flu outbreaks of 1918-19,
1957, and 1968, each of which killed millions of people, as well as other
non-flu diseases—have had their origins in the raising of animals for the meat
industry. The very real fear of a bird flu (especially H5N1) global
pandemic may be a form of blowback, boomerang effect, or karma, as this very
deadly disease is rooted in the livestock (especially poultry, but also pig)
industry. The disease affects all sorts of birds, especially chickens, ducks, geese, and
turkeys, as well as various wild migratory birds, but also other animals,
including pigs, tigers and humans. In each of the three 20th century
pandemics, a bird flu
virus swapped genes with a human flu virus, likely doing so in a pig, creating
a strain that humans had never encountered, therefore spreading much more
easily and with much less resistance. “If there were no poultry industry”,
concludes Neal D. Barnard, M.D., “there would be no epidemics of bird flu”. And
if there were no cow industry, there would be no E. coli outbreaks. The CDC reports that in the
Other very deadly viral diseases—including Ebola, Marburg, and AIDS—have been called the “revenge of the rainforest”, as they have erupted and spread via the building of roads into forests, paving the way for deforestation and the hunt for bushmeat.
Many reputable and mainstream health organizations—including the American Cancer Society, American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, American Institute for Cancer Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, National Heart Foundations (of various countries), Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Prevention, Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and many others—all agree that a diet centered around fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can significantly reduce the incidence of the leading causes of disease and death. Likewise, many reputable and mainstream environmental organizations—Greenpeace, National Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, World Watch, and various others—all agree that a plant-based diet can significantly reduce various major forms of environmental destruction. There are, of course, also many health and environmental organizations outside the mainstream that also support these positions. Note that health professionals and health organizations never advise eating more meat, rather they suggest eating less or none at all. Meat makes us sick.
In a study of communities, called “blue zones”, with a large number of centenarians (including Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Hunza Valley, Pakistan), a major commonality is plant-based eating habits (with little and often no meat). (Other commonalities that correlate with longevity include drinking lots of fluids, keeping physically and mentally active, and maintaining close social relationships.)
Michael Greger, M.D., Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States, states that “Billions of farm animals are overcrowded in stressful, unsanitary sheds, pens, cages and stalls; no wonder we are increasingly plagued with infectious food-borne diseases. Animal factories are a public health threat.”
The American Dietetic Association (ADA), the largest association of nutrition professions in the world, states that “well planned vegan and other types of vegetarian meals are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.” Additionally, “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Dr. Benjamin Spock, in the final edition of his best-selling Baby and Child Care, writes that “Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.”
Vegetarianism is a form of preventive medicine and care, substantially reducing the incidence of acute and intensive care, medical errors (which kill 100,000 U.S. hospital patients per year, according to a study), excessive medical and social costs, and other problems associated with the medical delivery system and how it treats health and disease. Vegetarianism is not only better for your personal health, but it is also better for public health, animal health, worker health, and environmental health. What’s best for your health is best for the world and what’s best for the world is best for your health.
The meat industry is unhealthy and unsafe. In general, vegetarians live longer and healthier lives. Further, vegetarianism is the “more intelligent” choice. Many people who stop eating meat also report feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually better.
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease…
People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.
These results could not be ignored.”
“Nearly 1.4 million Americans are disabled, then killed prematurely each year by heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes
and other chronic diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.”
“Not only is mortality from coronary heart disease lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary heart disease.
Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for…obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer.”
“Since I’ve stopped eating animal products, my energy level has increased, my cholesterol level has decreased,
and, most important, I have not had a breast cancer relapse in the 12 years since my mastectomy!
I’m also proud to say that my food choices do not cause animal suffering or widespread environmental degradation.”
Elaine Slone, National Geographic, March 2006
“All new infectious diseases of human beings to emerge in the past 20 years have had an animal source.”
“Anyone who brings raw ground beef into his or her kitchen today must regard it as a potential biohazard,
one that may carry an extremely dangerous microbe, infectious at an extremely low dose.”
“The cost of a 99-cent hamburger doesn’t include the dialysis you may need years later.”
“Research has shown that the three leading causes of death in the United States—heart disease, cancer and stroke—are related to diet.
Current recommendations are to reduce the consumption of animal protein and saturated fat (which is abundant in meat) and cholesterol (found only in meat and other animal products).
A plant-based or vegetarian diet is one good way to reduce the risk of disease and promote health.
A well-balanced vegetarian diet tends to be low in fat, especially saturated fat, and cholesterol.
It is also rich in health-protecting nutrients, antioxidants and fiber.”
Jamie Adams, “Meatless Diet”
Nutrition Care Division, Tripler
• 10. Economics & Externalities:
Our economic system doesn’t value animals or the environment—unless they’re consumed and money is exchanged. Wild animals living their lives in freedom, the majesty of a forest, a fresh breeze, and the sparkle of a clean river all have no economic value. If a mother breast feeds a baby, there is no money exchanged, yet if she buys less healthy infant formula, it contributes to economic growth; if one opens a window to cool down on a hot day, it has no consequence to our capitalist economy, yet using an air conditioner increases the gross domestic product [GDP]; if people grow their own food, no economic activity is registered, though factory farms contribute to economic growth and raise the GDP. The former activities are more sensible, more fulfilling, and more healthy; the latter are less healthy, more costly, more alienating, more wasteful, and damage the environment. Even creating and disposing of toxic waste increases the GDP. Further, meat-based illnesses cost the U.S. tens of billions of dollars in additional health care costs, and even more in lost productivity and the depletion of the Earth’s natural capital.
Unfortunately, total (public) government subsidies to the (private) livestock industry were nearly $1 billion in 2002, according to the Environmental Working Group. Indirectly, much more is given. Imagine if this money were instead invested in organic agriculture, nutritional education, and renewable fuels.
Eating meat is highly inefficient. The price of meat would multiply if the ecological costs—including the use of non-renewable fossil fuels; emission of greenhouse gases and the increase of global warming; depletion of ancient groundwater and aquifers, rich topsoil, and the protective ozone layer; agro-chemical pollution of land and water; acid rain; deforestation; desertification; and species extinction—were included in the price tag. The price of meat would increase even further if we factored in health care costs, lost productivity, and corporate welfare, not to mention the suffering and death of thousands of workers and billions of animals. Meat is deceit.
Using the present standard measures for economic or social health, as David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World, says, “makes no more sense than taking the rapid expansion of one’s personal girth as an indicator of improved personal health. Applying such a standard to society’s economic priorities has led to a gross distortion of economic priorities and resource allocation that is helping to lead the world toward social and economic collapse.” Further, according to Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, “Both the meatpacking industry and the fast food industry [both of which are highly “centralized”, where “the top four meatpacking companies…control nearly 85%” of the beef market] have been major financial supporters of the Republican Party’s right wing”.
The meat industry is exceptionally costly, wasteful, inefficient, unfair, destructive, and regressive, while vegetarianism is environmentally and economically sustainable and socially progressive. The world—and all its inhabitants—can’t afford meat and the bloated livestock industry.
“[Feeding grain to animals and then eating them is] highly inefficient, and an absurd use of resources.”
“It’s not efficient to feed grains to animals and then to consume the livestock products.”
“The planet simply cannot sustain a population that increasingly feeds on animal protein.”
“Beef has become a symbol of the extravagant, resource-consuming American who is destroying the global environment
to live a life of luxury, while most of the rest of the world suffer…
strictly on a scientific basis, there can be no dispute that [grains] are used with more efficiency, and can provide for more people,
when they are eaten directly by people rather than being fed to swine or poultry to be converted to pork, chicken meat, or eggs for human consumption.”
Prof. Peter R. Cheeke
“Despite a fondness for free-market rhetoric, the country’s large food companies—ConAgra, Archer Daniels Midland, McDonald’s, Kraft—have benefited enormously from the absence of real competition. They receive, directly and indirectly, huge subsidies from the federal government. About half of the annual income earned by U.S. corn farmers now comes from government crop-support programs. Cheap corn is turned into cheap fats, oils, sweeteners, and animal feed. Nearly three-quarters of the corn grown in the United States is fed to livestock, providing taxpayer support for inexpensive hamburgers and chicken nuggets.”
• 11. Hunger:
Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes food as a human right. While millions of people annually die from over-consumption, particularly consumption of fat and cholesterol, millions of excluded people annually die from under-consumption, from starvation and hunger-related diseases. Although the world produces more than enough food to feed all its people, the inequality of wealth and power, along with the inefficiency of land use and food distribution, creates conditions that lead to scarcity, chronic hunger, malnutrition, starvation, environmental degradation, and ethnic violence.
World hunger is neither necessary, nor automatic, nor inevitable. Vegetarianism and veganism create conditions that are more fair and just, more efficient and sustainable, thereby potentially allowing more people to be fed, rather than using land, grain, water, labor, energy, and other resources to produce food to be fed to animals that are later killed and fed to those people who can afford it. In the words of Chrissie Hynde, “Global hunger could be directly attributed to meat-eating.”
In addition to being better for personal and public health as well as for the environment, vegetarianism is better for food security and the alleviation of world hunger. Food security, in turn, may help prevent the all-too-common instances of violence, war, and genocide.
“When those who have the money to enjoy meat-rich diets cause the market to redirect available supplies of grain away
from the tables of people who cannot pay in order to feed livestock to provide meat to those who can,
they contribute to the dynamics of hunger.”
“Continual growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grains to animals,
creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world’s poor.”
“The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone.
But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock---for for the well-off---
while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation….
The American fast-food diet and the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry.”
“Most hunger deaths are due to chronic malnutrition caused by inequitable distribution and inefficient use of existing food resources.
At the same time, wasteful agricultural practices, such as the intensive livestock operations known as factory farming, are rapidly polluting and depleting the natural resources upon which all life depends. Trying to produce more food by these methods would lead only to more water pollution, more soil degradation, and, ultimately, more hunger....
We can feed the world while preserving the planet”
“Environmentally sustainable solutions to world hunger can only emerge as people eat more plant foods and fewer animal products.”
• 12. Protein:
Protein is necessary for the body, but many studies convincingly show that it’s easy to get enough. It is not necessary to combine certain foods to obtain protein, as was once erroneously thought. The protein myth is just that: a myth. Average Americans eat at least twice the protein recommended by the FDA, while vegetarians typically consume more reasonable and healthy amounts. Some people erroneously worry about the almost non-existent problem of protein deficiency in the U.S. Do you know anyone diagnosed with kwashiorkor (the disease associated with protein deficiency)? Yet consuming too much protein—excess—is common, dangerous, and is associated with cancer, kidney disease, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and infertility. According to the ADA, “Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of the essential and nonessential amino acids. Conscious combining of these foods within a given meal…is unnecessary.”
High protein diets—especially ones derived from animals, even certified organic, certified kosher, halal, local, or so-called “sustainable”, “humane”, or “free range” ones, including the ones pushed by the Atkins Empire, The Zone, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Blood Types, and other diet industries—are excessive, unhealthy, unscientific, and unwise.
“If you wanted to find one diet to ruin your health, you couldn’t find one worse than Atkins”
James Anderson, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
“It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate.
Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day.”
• 13. Calcium:
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body, found primarily in the bones and teeth. It’s not important how much calcium a person ingests, but rather how much a person retains. Animal protein (e.g., meat and dairy) leaches calcium from the bones (as does excessive salt)—contributing to osteoporosis— by acidifying the blood and causing the calcium to leach out and neutralize it, whereas less-concentrated plant-based proteins (e.g., tofu, soymilk, dark green vegetables) do not have this negative effect. Osteoporosis can be prevented or reversed. People who eat little or no meat and dairy and instead eat calcium-packed vegetables, fruits, and grains—as in much of Asia and Africa—have very low rates of osteoporosis, while populations that consume large quantities of calcium-rich dairy, as well as meat, have much higher rates of this bone-weakening disease. Countries where people consume the most dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Getting plenty of exercise, enough vitamins C and D, and avoiding smoke also helps to maintain strong bones. Additionally, it should be noted, cows and other vegetarian animals easily get and retain enough calcium to maintain their strong bones.
“Because of heavy promotion by the American dairy industry, the public often believes that cow’s milk is the sole source of calcium.
However, other excellent sources of calcium exist so that vegans eating varied diets need not be concerned about getting adequate calcium.”
“The more plant foods people eat (particularly fruits and vegetables), the stronger their bones and the fewer fractures they experience.
The more animal foods people eat, on the other hand, the weaker their bones and the more fractures they experience.”
• 14. Fat, Cholesterol, & Fiber:
Eating fat—especially saturated fat and cholesterol (found only in animal products)—has been linked to higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and other grave diseases, possibly including Alzheimer’s. In sharp contrast, fiber is an important weapon in the body’s continuous fight to excrete fats and toxins, and fiber reduces the risk of cancer. Meat—and all other animal products, including fish—contains absolutely no fiber; but animal products do contain unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. As Dr. John McDougall states, after reviewing 50 years of research, “the lower the fat intake, the less the cancer and heart disease”. Cholesterol is found exclusively in animal products; fiber is found exclusively in plant-based products. The human body doesn’t need any extra cholesterol because it produces its own. In stark contrast, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds—a vegetarian diet—contain healthy and necessary fiber, along with important anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals, while they have no unhealthy and unnecessary cholesterol. Further, increased fiber can help reduce dangerous cholesterol levels, as well as providing other benefits against heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes (Type 2), constipation, hemorrhoids, colitis, and diverticular disease.
“Heart healthy diets are low in saturated fat, low in cholesterol, low to moderate in fat, and high in fiber.
A vegetarian diet can easily meet these guidelines.”
• 15. Carbohydrates:
Most of our carbohydrates (sugars, starches, and fiber) come from plant foods and are converted to fuel for the body. The World Health Organization recommends that 55%-60% of calories should be derived from complex carbohydrates (typically from whole grains and some root vegetables). Consuming complex carbohydrates also ensures the consumption of fiber as well as important vitamins and minerals. Animal products contain no fiber and no complex carbohydrates.
In addition to being dangerous for the environment, fad diets like Atkins, which avoid carbohydrates, are considered dangerous for people’s well-being by health organizations and responsible doctors and dieticians.
“The main stuff in high-fiber, complex carbs, which is indigestible by humans, is called cellulose.
High-fiber (high-cellulose) vegetable foods are the healthiest choices for human nutrition,
and intake of these foods is associated with lowered incidences of hypertension, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, etc.”
• 16. Enzymes:
“Catalysts for chemical reactions in the body, enzymes are protein-based substances that bind with chemicals in the body, promoting and speeding the rate of biological reactions”, writes Elisabeth Hsu-LeBlanc. There are three major categories of digestive enzymes, each of which aid in the proper digestion of food; enzymes also stimulate the brain, provide energy for our cells, and repair tissue and organ damage. The three major enzyme categories are amylases (for carbohydrates), proteases (for proteins), and lipases (for fats). Eating meat, as well as overcooking and doing certain other things to foods, can create enzyme imbalances in the body. Eating more lightly cooked or raw plant-based foods maximizes enzyme power in your body.
“Processing foods—whether at home or at a plant—can damage certain beneficial substances in foods.”
Roon Frost, editor of taste for life
• 17. Soy:
Soy is a great substitution for meat and other animal products. Consuming soy—e.g., miso, soy beans (edamame), soy flour, soy “meat substitutes”, soy milk, soy nuts, soy yogurt, tempeh, tofu, TVP, etc.—provides all 9 essential amino acids as well as ample isoflavones, which have special protective properties against various forms of cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease, and can help with kidney and bone health, the symptoms of menopause, and cognitive ability. Soy is an exceptionally healthy food.
Soy also takes a lot less land (6-17 times), water (4.4-26 times), oil and other fossil fuels (6-20 times), biocides (6 times), and other resources to produce nutritious soy than it does to produce an equivalent amount of unhealthy and eco-destructive meat. Unfortunately, much of the soy crop is fed to animals raised for meat. Meat loses to soy in every category.
“Many soy products should be beneficial to cardiovascular and overall health because of their high content
of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals—and low content of saturated fat.”
F.M. Sacks et
al., “Soy Protein, Isoflavones, and Cardiovascular
• 18. Anti-Oxidants:
Anti-oxidants and other beneficial nutrients—including isoflavones, flavonoids, phytonutrients, polyphenols, carotenoids, anthocyanidins, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, resveratrol, beta-carotene, and vitamins C & E—protect against and may reverse the ill effects of oxidation and cell deterioration, which may cause age-related problems and diseases. All of these nutrients are found exclusively in various plant foods and never in animal products.
For your best health, and to get the most anti-oxidants, skip the meat and eat the rainbow of colors found in fruits and vegetables.
“The most practical step we can take to defend ourselves
against the ravages of oxidative stress is to eat more plants.”
“The amount of antioxidants that you maintain in your body
is directly proportional to how long you will live.”
Richard Cutler, MD, National Institutes of Health
• 19. Iron:
According to Vegetarians in Paradise, “The U.S.
• 20. Vitamin B12:
“The requirement for
vitamin B12 is very low [the US
• 21. Weight & Obesity:
The FDA has recognized an “epidemic of obesity”, which has resulted in significant problems for individual health, economic productivity, societal health care costs, energy efficiency, and environmental resources.
Studies have shown that, over the long run, the thinnest people on Earth tend to eat the most complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), while the people who eat the most animal protein (and processed food) tend to be the heaviest. Additionally, food products containing high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, salt, additives, and calories contribute to weight gain and the likelihood of obesity, major factors related to physical and emotional health.
We don’t need the latest fad diets and yo-yo dieting, because they are ineffective at best and sometimes dangerous; rather, the ancient and proven plant-based way of life is always and readily available. With a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can “eat as much as you want and still lose weight”. Vegetarianism/veganism is the most effective diet and lifestyle for both health and weight loss.
“Being overweight or obese raises the risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, and it increases the risk of colon and rectal cancers in men and women.
Prostate cancer risk also increases as body weight increases.”
Dr. Jeremy Appleton, ND,
“Without exception, a high-complex-carbohydrate, high-vegetable-protein diet is associated with low body mass.
High-protein diets were associated with higher body weight.”
• 22. Strength:
Some of the best athletes, as well as triathletes, including Olympic Gold Medal winner Carl Lewis, have been vegetarians or vegans. Many other successful athletes are also vegetarian. Interestingly, all infants start out with vegetarian meals and thrive. There are many powerful and amazing animals—of past and present—that eat or have eaten strictly vegetarian diets, including the antelope, apatosaurus, bison, buffalo, bull, caribou, camel, cow, deer, donkey, elephant, elk, gazelle, giraffe, gnu, goat, hippo, horse, kangaroo, koala, kudu, llama, manatee, marine iguana, moose, okapi, orangutan, ox, panda, reindeer, rhino, sheep, stegosaurus, swan, tapir, triceratops, warthog, water buffalo, wild boar, zebra, zebu, and various others. Indeed, long-time vegetarian Milton Mills, M.D. reminds us that “the biggest, strongest land animals are all vegan”.
“If eating muscle turned into body muscle”, according to John
McDougall, M.D., “most men living in
affluent societies would resemble bodybuilders without a noticeable potbelly—no
point in arguing the obvious…. If the truth were known, real men would switch
to real plant foods overnight. During a man’s reproductive years meat eating
decreases ejaculate volume, lowers sperm count, shortens sperm life, and causes
poor sperm motility, genetic damage, and infertility. Meat eaters are likely to
become impotent because of damage caused to the artery system that supplies the
penis with the blood that causes an erection. Erectile dysfunction is more
often seen in men with elevated cholesterol levels and high levels of
“A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients required for optimal health…
Many successful endurance athletes are vegetarians... Strength and power athletes almost invariably include meat in their diets,
although it is unclear whether the benefits of meat consumption for strength and power are real or imagined.”
Chris Forbes-Ewan, Defence Nutrition Research Centre, “Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Performance in Strength Sports”
“Seeing how much the vegetarian diet has done for my performance, I feel like I struck gold.”
• 23. Physiology:
Milton Mills, M.D. and other doctors, scientists, anthropologists, and historians have asserted that the original and early diet of human beings was vegetarian. Examining our teeth and colons, as well as saliva, jaws, and intestines, for example, they have discerned that although we are capable of being omnivorous, we are built to be herbivores.
“Early humans simply couldn’t eat meat.”
Donna Hart, Ph.D. & Robert Sussman, Ph.D., Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution
“Either nature failed us in the engineering of our anatomy, or we failed when we selected animals as a food source.”
• 24. Allergies:
“The eight major food allergens [dairy, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans] account for 90 percent of all documented food allergic reactions”, according to Robert E. Bracket, Ph.D., Director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Allergies, like obesity, are essentially an epidemic of modernity”, according to Judith Newman in National Geographic (May 2006). “As countries become more industrialized, the percentage of population afflicted tends to grow higher.” Some people have suggested a “hygiene hypothesis”. While synthetics and chemicals, genetic engineering, urban landscaping and pollen, and diminished breast feeding of babies may be factors leading to allergies, diet is also a factor. Perhaps less serious than an allergy, many people experience “food intolerance”, or “food sensitivities”, e.g., discomfort from milk due to lactose intolerance, stomach upset, dizziness, ear infections, skins problems, redness, etc.
“Reduced fresh fruit and vegetable intake, more processed food, fewer antioxidants, and low intake of some minerals—these are all shown to be a risk.”
Harold Nelson, M.D., Professor of Medicine (allergy and immunology), National Jewish
• 25. Organic Agriculture:
Organic farming and agriculture, and the demand for organic food and other organic products (e.g., cotton), is growing rapidly. Organic products are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxic sludge, irradiation, etc. [About 90% of genetically-engineered products are made by Monsanto and about half are grown in the U.S.] “There’s increasing evidence that organic foods are beneficial not only for what they don’t have [toxic chemicals], but also for what they do [higher levels of healthy anti-oxidants]”, Claudia Hirsch reminds us. Unsurprisingly, the more organic food you eat, studies show, generally the less chemical pesticides are in your body.
George Monbiot reports that organic agriculture is more productive and can feed the world. Alan Greene, M.D., affirms that “Every little move towards organics is worthwhile.” The most effective ways to become more organic is to (1) “switch out foods you eat most often”, (2) “replace the worst offenders”, and (3) “shop locally, eat seasonally”. Also, encourage the stores, markets, and restaurants you shop at, and the organizations you belong to, to carry more organic products.
Further, organic agriculture is not only healthier for the soil generally, but organic methods also sequester more carbon dioxide in the soil, thereby being another way to help stem global warming.
Organic products are healthier for you, for farmers, for farms, for animals, and for our environment.
“Fruits and vegetables produced organically require one-third the petroleum expended for conventional produce.
Besides avoiding synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that use fossil fuels and pollute our environment,
organic farming tends to create less greenhouse gas than conventional agriculture.
Organic methods also help protect soil, water, and biodiversity.”
Carol Ferguson, “Make Every Day Earth Day”
“Chemical agriculture pollutes our water, air, and earth, impairs the web of life in the soil, erodes biodiversity, and requires high levels of ‘inputs’ such as irrigation, the chemicals themselves, and fuel, and its products contain toxic residues…. Agricultural chemicals kill—and not only plants and insects and worms and birds and fungi and the vast universe of soil organisms; they kill people as well.”
Sandor Katz, author of The Revolution Won’t Be Microwaved
“When you buy organic, you help to promote biodiversity and cut down on the pesticides that pollute our soil, air, and water.
You also support natural systems that will ensure the integrity of our farmlands for future generations…
Organically grown foods simply taste better, and they are often higher in nutrients that their conventionally grown counterparts….
The best advice is to eat a variety of produce, wash it well, and buy organic whenever possible.”
“Many pesticides used on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are known to cause cancer.
Because these substances are poorly regulated, persistent, and poisonous, choose certified organic foods whenever possible.”
Dr. Jeremy Appleton, ND,
Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied,
shoppers would be wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.”
“Bottom line, organic is better for all people and our planet.”
Anthony Zolezzi, author of Chemical-Free Kids
Do we know where and how our food is produced? Food is a matter of social justice. Eating meat contributes to cruelty, torture, rape, terror, and violence—a violation of our ethics. Every year, billions of individual animals (millions per day!) are tortured and killed in a variety of horrible ways. Lambs are shackled and boxed to keep them “tender”, cows and pigs are crammed for “efficiency”, chickens are de-beaked to “protect” them, animals are branded, castrated, beaten, and hung upside-down by their limbs, entire schools of fish are netted along with turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, seals, birds, and others (killing these creatures mercilessly and indiscriminately), animals are terrorized and slaughtered with their blood, guts, pus, saliva, sweat, vomit, tears, hair, mucus, semen, urine, and feces being splattered everywhere, some left to suffer and die in piles of other dead and dying animals. Animals are often impregnated by artificial insemination on “rape racks”, repeatedly forced to endure pain and then pregnancy, with their newborns separated from them shortly after birth. You are (as green or brown as) what you eat.
The effects on the workers who torture and kill these innocent animals, as with soldiers and executioners, cannot be underestimated. Sociologists have studied the “brutalization effect”, whereby people increasingly feel free to commit violence when it seems legitimated. Further, slaughterhouses are also one of the most dangerous workplaces for humans: according to Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation, “at least 1/3 of meat packing workers are injured every year”. Human Rights Watch calls meatpacking “the most dangerous factory job in America”.
“We treat animals how we used to treat human slaves. What possible justification could there be for that?”, writes Prof. Gary Francione in “One Right For All”. Like racism and sexism, we engage in unfair and unjust species-ism when we treat (and eat) animals as means to our selfish ends, simply because we have the physical force and power to do so.
If you eat meat, more animals are terrorized, tortured, and killed to support your habit. Meat begins with violence; meals don’t have to! What we eat affects our brains, bodies, consciousness, and emotions, as well as other animals and our Earth. The Standard American Diet is SAD. Be glad that you can choose vegetarian meals!
If we’re rightly outraged at the abuse of cats and dogs, we should be likewise outraged at the daily abuse, suffering, and murder of farm animals for food. Would you eat your pet? If we could feel their pain, empathize with their suffering, or share their joy, we would lose our appetites—and perhaps more. Further, it has been shown that people who abuse animals often don’t end their cruelty there. People who stop eating (and otherwise abusing) animals release themselves from tremendous psychic, karmic, spiritual, and physical burdens, while releasing animals from cruel horrors and the Earth from further ecocide.
Every action we take is a vote—an economic vote, a social vote, and a moral vote. Every time meat, poultry, or fish—and any other animal product—is purchased or consumed, it is a vote for that to continue, a vote for more innocent and defenseless animals to be commodified and killed, a vote for more trees to be cut down, a vote for more wilderness to be encroached upon, a vote for the overuse of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and fossil fuels, a vote for the poisoning of our air, land, and water, a vote for monoculturalism, a vote for the overconsumption of a few and the exclusion of the many, a vote for force and violence. We are responsible for the logical consequences of the actions we take. Any willing participation in the meat production-and-consumption process also implies responsibility for the consequences of that process.
Meat-eaters, regardless of their beliefs and intentions, effectively vote for continuing death and environmental destruction; eco-eaters vote for life, for sustainability, for justice, and for the Earth. Every action inspires others to act. When we engage in a destructive act, we encourage more destruction; when we act positively, we encourage and increase positivity in ourselves and in the world. One inspires another inspires another…
Human beings have for too long acted with arrogance against other species and, in doing so, have abused our power, acting recklessly, selfishly, unfairly, and unjustly. The industrial production of meat is akin to bullying, assault, torture, slavery, and genocide. Which side are you on?
Meat has been described as a crime on your plate and as a sin against nature and the future. We know that killing living beings and destroying our environment is morally wrong, indeed dead wrong. We need to take the die out of our diets. Vegetarianism/veganism is an excellent way of putting ethical, philosophical, ideological, and religious values into daily personal practice. Vegetarians and vegans save lives everyday!
“The average meat eater is responsible for the deaths of some 2,400 animals during his or her lifetime.
Animals raised for food endure great suffering in their housing, transport, feeding and slaughter.”
“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. …
I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom.
It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.”
Franz Kafka, speaking to fish in an aquarium
“[Animals] were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.”
“Humans - who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals –
have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain.
A sharp distinction between humans and “animals” is essential if we are to bend them to our will, wear them, eat them
- without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret.”
“For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.”
“The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”
Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”
“The time will come when people such as I will look upon the murder of animals
as they now look upon the murder of people.”
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute.”
Charles Darwin, Descent of Man
“A [person] can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if [s/]he eats meat,
[s/]he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
“…he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet.
Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals…”
“People think of animals as if they were vegetables, and that is not right.
I encourage the Tibetan people and all people to move toward a vegetarian diet that doesn’t cause suffering….
We must absolutely promote vegetarianism.”
“There is simply no spiritual defense in either the Western or Eastern religious traditions for eating meat.”
“Historically, man [sic] has expanded the reach of his ethical calculations, as ignorance and want have receded,
first beyond family and tribe, later beyond religion, race, and nation.
To bring other species more fully into the range of these decisions may seem unthinkable to moderate opinion now.
One day… it may seem no more than what ‘civilized’ behavior requires.”
“What Humans Owe to Animals”, The Economist
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Animals have faces, families, fear, and other feelings, and are made of flesh and blood. Animals are important entities in their own right, individual living beings with moral and legal rights as well as physical and emotional feelings of pain and pleasure, intelligence and cognition, fear and excitement, stress and joy, altruism and love, and so on.
Just as with pet cats and dogs, rats and birds, hamsters and horses, and other companion animals, farm animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, rabbits, and others have real and complex emotional lives—including feelings of pleasure, love, grief, altruism, and a range of others. We also know that humans and other animals can develop strong emotional bonds with them and strong emotions in reaction to them. In the words of Demara Jeanty, “Animals have feelings too. Animals feel pain just like people do. Animal suffering is no different than human suffering.” Even the Animal Industry Foundation admits that “Animal behavior is as varied as human behavior.”
Scientists, doctors, and psychologists such as Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, Jeffrey Masson, Donald Griffin, Penny Patterson, Irene Pepperberg, as well as veterinarians, environmentalists, and others, have amply documented the intelligence and emotions of animals—as could millions of ordinary people with personal experience with animals. Peter Singer, Steven Wise, Catharine MacKinnon, Lee Hall, John Webster, and other lawyers, professors, philosophers, clergy, and ethicists have similarly argued and documented the rights of animals.
According to John J. Pippin, M.D., “92 percent of drugs that test successfully for animals fail in humans”. Of the remaining 8%, according to the FDA, over half are later withdrawn or relabeled due to severe side effects. In a different but related sign of progress, 100 of the 125 accredited U.S. medical schools “rely solely on computer simulations and do not use any live animals for training”.
Let’s end the oppression, exploitation, and the suffering. Instead, let’s start living together in peace.
“The reasons for legal intervention in favor of children
apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves—the animals.”
John Stuart Mill, philospoher
“Many times I’ve looked into a pig’s eye and convinced myself that inside that brain is a sentient being,
who is looking back at me observing him wondering what he’s thinking about.”
Dick King-Smith, author
“Intellectually, human beings and animals may be different, but it’s pretty obvious that animals have a rich emotional life and that they feel joy and pain.
It’s easy to forget the connection between a hamburger and the cow it came from.”
“When animals are no longer colonized and appropriated by us, we can reach out to our evolutionary cousins.
Perhaps then the ancient hope for a deeper emotional connection across the species barrier,
for closeness and participation in a realm of feelings now beyond our imagination, will be realized.”
Jeffrey Masson, psychologist
• 28. Vegetarians, Vegans, Flexitarians, & Others:
Vegetarians can eat fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and may or may not eat (non-meat) animal products, such as eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and honey; vegetarians do not eat any meat, poultry, fish, or other animals. (The term vegetarian was coined at the first meeting of the Vegetarian Society in England in 1847. Contrary to a popular misconception, the word vegetarian was not chosen because a vegetarian diet includes vegetables as a major component; the term vegetarian is derived from the Latin word ‘vegetus’, which means lively or full of life.) This type of vegetarian is technically a lacto-ovo vegetarian, implying the inclusion of dairy and eggs.
Vegans—pronounced VEE-gun, with an emphasis on the first syllable of the long “e”, or ē, followed by a hard “g”, the word was coined by Donald Watson in 1944, when he formed the Vegan Society in England—go farther by only eating plant-derived foods, thereby avoiding all food (and often other products, such as leather, fur, feathers, silk, and even wool) that are derived from animals. The aim for vegans is to avoid all forms of exploitation of animals, whether for food or otherwise. (The word vegan was derived from the word vegetarian by taking the first three letters (veg-) and the last two letters (-an) to show, as Watson explained, that “veganism starts with vegetarianism and carries it through to its logical conclusion”.)
Accidental vegetarians or involuntary vegetarians are those who don’t eat animals because it is too expensive, not available, or for some other external reason that prevents them from doing so.
A macrobiotic diet consists mostly of whole grains, beans, sea and other vegetables, and certain other plant foods in balance; fruitarians (or fructarians) only eat the fruit of plants; rawists only eat raw food (or food not heated above 116 F / 46.7 C) and are often, but not always, vegan (anapsology takes raw even further); freegans only eat discarded or found food (freeganism is a combination of free and veganism); carnivores eat meat; and omnivores eat everything.
“Flexitarians” are mostly vegetarian, but occasionally eat animals, especially fish though also other animals; pescetarians are otherwise vegetarians who also eat fish. Some flexitarians only avoid “red” meat (i.e., meat from mammals, such as beef, pork, lamb, etc.), yet regularly eat poultry and/or fish. Flexitarians and pescatarians are sometimes referred to as semi-vegetarians. Flexitarians (coined in the early 1990s) are generally more concerned with their own health than with animals or the environment.
Perhaps a “flexegan” (or “vegetegan”) would be one who is vegetarian and mostly vegan, but not exclusively, or one who is vegetarian and also avoids certain (non-meat) animal products (e.g., milk and eggs), but not others (e.g., cheese).
Vegetarianism has a long, rich history. It has been consciously practiced in and around India, based on ahimsa (non-violence), for at least thousands of years, as well as in and around China and elsewhere. In Europe, vegetarians were often called Pythagoreans, as Pythagoras and his followers abstained from eating meat about 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece.
Tragically, there’s no shortage to suffering and it doesn’t seem to be running out anytime soon. Many of those who say we should tend to people before we take care of animals often use this as an excuse to avoid taking any action in the defense of life and justice. Additionally, trying to protect the lives of animals certainly doesn’t preclude us from trying to protect the lives of human beings. Indeed, vegetarians often do both.
While certain animals kill for food, others do not. In fact, there are more herbivorous (plant-eating) animals than there are carnivorous (meat-eating) ones. One of the important characteristics of humans is our consciousness and ability to make choices, rather than merely responding to instinct. Making positive, life-affirming choices is the essence of community and civilization.
We have many traditions, both old and new, as individuals, families, and cultures. While traditions may be important, it is also important to recognize that some traditions are destructive and that traditions often change over time. Our traditions regarding hygiene, work, the role of women, and child rearing, to name just a few, have changed dramatically over recent generations. Slavery was a tradition, too.
Some people claim not to feel well when they don’t eat meat. Sometimes the detoxification process can be the cause of this, sometimes it could be related to physical habit, it could be psychological, or it could simply be an excuse. We know that eating animals is not necessary and, in fact, studies show that vegetarians tend to be healthier than their meat-eating counterparts. Many vegetarians also report feeling more energetic, more at peace, and happier overall.
Despite the conventional myths regarding protein, it is easy to get enough protein if you can get enough calories. Most people who are not desperately poor, and certainly most people in North America, Europe, East Asia, Australasia, and elsewhere, get more than enough calories and more than enough protein. In the U.S., for example, average Americans have about twice the FDA-recommended protein intake. Many vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, for example, have sufficient protein. For most people, therefore, the problem isn’t too little protein (very few people have protein deficiency), but too much protein (very common), which is linked to a variety of health problems.
The government food pyramid contains meat, but even there it suggests a sparing use. The government is influenced by our culture and traditions, as we are, but is also influenced by the powerful meat and dairy industries, which stand to profit by the continuation of the unhealthy status quo. As alternatives, there are vegetarian (no meat, poultry, or fish) and vegan (no animal products) food pyramids that are unbiased and more accurate for your health.
Simply trying to satisfy our individual tastes and desires, regardless of the impacts on others, has seemingly become a modern American (and increasingly global) ideal, but it is quite selfish. There are many possibilities that are open to us, even if they are legal, but that doesn’t necessarily make them right. Caring for and about others, while caring for and about ourselves, can lead to true and lasting satisfaction.
Especially for humans, neither the food chain itself nor the food choices we make are natural and unchangeable. As potential omnivores who were originally vegetarians, humans have choices in the foods we eat and there are no natural foods. Indeed, what we eat is largely determined by our culture and consciousness.
While physical force may prevail, might does not make right. That’s a form of fascism. Simply having the power to accomplish a task in no way makes the means or the ends fair, just, or honorable ones.
It is not so much that we have dominion over animals, but that we share the Earth with them or, perhaps, have stewardship, guardianship, or trusteeship over them, implying co-habitation and responsibility. Animals are not here for us to abuse or exploit, but rather to take care of, to commune with, giving each other companionship and pleasure in mutually satisfying and non-exploitative relationships.
Early humans were the hunted, not the hunters, eating only plant-based foods. Avoiding predators, and also not being one, humans further developed their brains as well as their social and cultural techniques of socialization, cooperation, and innovation. Whether back then or now, our teeth, saliva, and intestines, for example, are not designed for meat consumption. Humans are natural herbivores with the capacity to be omnivores; we are certainly not carnivores. Only after the discovery of fire was meat eating even possible. While many people and cultures have incorporated meat into their diets, it is still not part of our physiology, biology, or genetics to eat to meat.
Not only hasn’t it always been this way (quite the contrary), but it is not even completely this way now. People and cultures are variable and adaptable. While it is clearly possible for us to eat meat, it is also clearly not necessary. Additionally, it is unhealthy for people, animals, and the environment.
This argument reverses the causal connection. There are a lot of certain animals because they are raised for meat and people eat them. If there were less demand for meat, there would be fewer cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. People don’t typically eat lions, tigers, rhinos, hippos, zebra, giraffe, elephants, gorillas, and other large mammals and we are certainly not over run with them; quite the contrary, many of these animals are severely threatened in the wild.
Hitler was not a vegetarian. Hitler occasionally
refrained from or decreased his consumption of meat when he was ill, but he
normally ate various types of meats. Goebbels spread the lie that Hitler was
vegetarian as Nazi propaganda to make Hitler seem more ascetic and selfless. Rynn
If we’re looking for famous vegetarians, though, we could name Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Buddha, Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, John Milton, Benjamin Franklin, Johnny Appleseed, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, Sylvester Graham, Charles Darwin, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Schweitzer, Clara Barton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, John Harvey Kellogg, H.G. Wells, Franz Kafka, Upton Sinclair, Thomas Edison, Vincent Van Gogh, Mohandas Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Dizzy Gillespie, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, Cesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King and Dexter King, Bob Marley and Ziggy Marley, Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, Princess Diana, Rosa Parks, the Dalai Lama, Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem, Benjamin Spock, John Rawls, Carl Sagan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jane Goodall, Thich Naht Hanh, Martina Navratilova, Carl Lewis, Ani DiFranco, Ellen DeGeneres, Natalie Portman, and many others.
Who is it OK for? It’s still not OK for personal health, still not OK for the slaughtered animals, still not OK for the environment. Kosher and halal standards presently only apply to the killing of the animals, not how those animals are raised and treated. Organic means no chemical inputs, but there’s no consideration regarding slaughter. Free range is often a myth, as it might only mean access to the outdoors; real free range, while giving animals more movement, also means the need for more land and the opportunity for more environmental degradation. Local and small farms, which also slaughter animals when they are young, are in the tiny minority, as 90-95% of meat in the U.S. is produced by factory farms. In any event, if many more people were to choose local or small-farm meat, then those small farms would necessarily have to grow or there would have to be a lot more meat farms. Neither of these possibilities would be desirable.
show that animals do feel and can suffer; many people’s personal experience
with pets, such as cats and dogs, and other animals demonstrates this as well.
Examinations of animal brains, nervous systems, nerve cells, and everyday
behavior all evidence the possibility of pain. Further, it is increasingly
clear that many animals experience various emotions, including emotional pain
such as fear, anxiety, sorrow, grief, anguish, and terror, but also emotional
While it’s true that agriculture and other activities also kill living beings, it should be obvious that animal agriculture kills even more and does so purposely. Additionally, animal agriculture heavily relies on plant-based agriculture to feed the animals raised for meat. Clearly, it’s a matter of intensity, both qualitative and quantitative, and the goal for vegetarians and vegans should be to do what’s most healthy and least destructive, causing the least damage to people, other animals, and the environment.
It is true that vegetarians don’t eat meat, but by not eating meat, they don’t eat a smaller variety of food. In fact, most vegetarians and vegans eat a wider variety of foods than most meat-eaters, tending to experiment with and enjoy all sorts of different fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, including heirloom varieties and agricultural products from other countries and cultures.
Here is an analogy by Karl Seff, Ph.D. who asks “Is smoking like eating meat”: “There was a time when people who opposed smoking were viewed as antisocial and unreasonable. Then there was a time when they were viewed as technically correct but their cause was viewed as hopeless because nothing would ever change because smokers are addicts, young people fall into it, and the tobacco industry has the resources to protect itself fully. As of now lots of things have changed.
There was once a time when vegetarians were viewed as odd and sickly. It was something that one would grow out of. Now we are viewed as technically correct, I find, and that we are respected, but our cause is viewed as having no chance of prevailing because people will never give up meat.”
John McDougall, M.D. says that “Making meat eating a social disgrace in this generation, just as we did with cigarette smoking in the last generation, is a fundamental change that must take place in order to advance our society to the next level and ensure our personal survival.”
While there may be various self-serving rationalizations for eating other animals, there are no biological, genetic, moral, ethical, religious, philosophical, nutritional, or environmental reasons or benefits for humans to eat meat. Each and all of the arguments against vegetarianism are ultimately without merit and fail.
Now’s the time to make the switch! You’ll have the great satisfaction of better personal health, reducing your climate change footprint, saving rainforest, protecting animals, and having your diet better reflect your moral, philosophical, religious, social, political, and environmental values.
Try eliminating—or at least sharply reducing—your consumption of meat, poultry, and fish, as well as dairy and eggs, replacing them with more fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and grains (preferably whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, corn, oats, barley, and the less common amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, kamut, millet, quinoa, red rice, rye, sorghum, spelt, sprouts, teff, triticale, wild rice, and others).
Buying organic products is also better for your health, your nutrition, the animals, our environment, and the health and safety of farmers, workers, and others. Eating locally and seasonally grown food, with lower-energy inputs, tends to be likewise beneficial (though not always).
If you’d like to incorporate more of these healthy foods into your meals without biting off more than you can chew, or without going “cold tofurkey”, try a more gradual approach by following these tactics:
(3) Make an additional vegetarian or vegan meal at least once or twice a week. Be creative. You’ll find lots of delicious recipes in cookbooks and on vegetarian/vegan web sites (see links below). As you adjust, gradually add more vegetarian and vegan dishes to your meals. If you’re vegetarian but not yet vegan, shift away from dairy and eggs; if you’re already vegan, shift more toward organics and locally-grown produce; if you do any of these, switch to more whole grains and less processed foods;
(4) In place of meat products, try vegetarian alternatives. For nearly every animal product, there is a vegetarian version. For some people, finding successful substitutions is the key. Test out some of the varieties and try different brands to suit your tastes. Visit your natural foods store and the health sections of your grocery stores to see what’s available. You’ll find much more than just veggie burgers and tofu dogs. Soy products, for example, are varied and versatile, including such products as miso, soybeans, soy flour, soymilk, soy nuts, soy yogurt, tempeh, tofu, TVP, vegetable-based cheese, as well as the many meat substitutes;
(5) If you continue to eat meat or fish, at least be sure it’s certified organic, local, and also served in much smaller portions. One adult serving of meat, if served at all, should be no larger than a deck of cards. De-emphasize the meat you serve by including it in dishes that also contain vegetables and whole grains. As time goes by, decrease the amount of meat you include and increase the use of vegetables, grains, and beans;
(6) Start your own (organic) garden of fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs. People, including kids, are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they participate in growing them, and people are more likely to protect land if they have a stake in it;
(8) Subscribe to a vegetarian or vegan magazine, such as VegNews, Vegetarian Times, or Vegetarian Journal, go to or organize a vegetarian or vegan meetup or potluck, join a vegetarian e-mail listserv, and/or join a vegetarian organization, to keep up and learn more about the many benefits of vegetarianism, to stay inspired, to get great recipe ideas, to meet like-minded and compassionate people, and to feel more connected to a life-affirming community;
There’s no need to feel guilty about what you eat or don’t eat. Instead, there’s a vital need for more self and social responsibility, for all of us to move in a positive direction—for us as well as for the animals and our environment. Remember that switching to vegetarianism isn’t about sacrificing anything; it’s about joining with others to make positive choices aimed at improving our personal well-being, saving the lives of animals, and protecting our environment that we all share and depend upon.
“What’s for dinner? Few questions are as environmentally fraught.
Bad choices can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease for us, and pollution, loss of biodiversity, and climate change for our favorite planet.”
Paul Rauber, Editor, Sierra, November/December 2006
“If we continue to think of…the whole of the natural world as existing primarily to fulfill our immediate needs, we will pay a stupendous price for our ignorance.”
“If a [person] aspires toward a righteous life, [their] first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
“There’s no question that a vegetarian
diet is much more sustainable for
is much more sustainable for many of the people eating that way. …
If you eat, you're connected to this,
and you’ve got to think about it and do something about it.”
“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.
That’s the essence of inhumanity,”
George Bernard Shaw
“Eat lower on the food chain.”
50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth
“Modify your diet to include less meat.”
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, p. 317
“Energy, healthcare, agriculture, climate change, global outbreaks like swine flu—what do all these topics have in common? Food.
That’s right, none of these issues can really be tackled without addressing some of the fundamental problems of the food system and the American diet.”
“There is still slavery in the world. There is still a valuing of human beings
according to their race or gender or culture or sexuality.
Part of the reason for this cutting off of empathy
is the anesthetizing of our senses to the suffering of animals.
Once we grow callous, we cannot feel fully for anyone—not even for ourselves.”
“When a human being kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice.
Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others.”
“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.”
“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” (November 1992),
signed by some 1700 scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences
“I grew up in cattle country---that’s why I became a vegetarian.
Meat stinks. For the animals, the
environment, and your health.”
“Recognize meat for what it really is:
the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.”
“Most of mankind for most of human history has lived on vegetarian or near vegetarian diets.”
American Dietetic Association
“The domestication/enslavement of animals was the model and inspiration for human slavery…
the breeding of domesticated animals led to eugenic measures as compulsory sterilization, euthanasia killings, and genocide, and…
the industrialized slaughter of cattle, pigs, sheep, and other animals paved the way, at least indirectly, for the Final Solution.”
“Vegetarianism is simply letting compassion guide our choice of food.
May all that have life be released from suffering.”
“You have just dined and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Anyone who cares about global warming can start making a difference at every meal, simply by leaving meat off their plates.
Going vegetarian is by far the best thing a person can do today to stop rising sea levels, spreading disease, and extreme weather that threaten tomorrow.”
Noam Mohr, “A New Global Warming Strategy”
“Can you imagine ever, even once, taking [many] plates of spaghetti or [many] bowls of rice
and tossing them in the trash?
That’s what eating meat represents—it’s like throwing away [many portions] of food
for every [portion] you consume.
By definition, someone who does this is not an environmentalist.”
Bruce Friedrich, “Vegetarianism: The Only Diet for Human Rights & the Environment”
“Merely by ceasing to eat meat. Merely by practicing restraint. We have the power to end a painful industry.
We do not have to bear arms to end this evil. We do not have to contribute money. We do not have to sit in jail or go to meetings or demonstrations or engage in acts of civil disobedience...
here is an action every mortal can perform—surely it is not too difficult!”
“Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
“I feel better, I have more energy on and off the set,
and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing something to help stop animal suffering.”
“Look into the heart of your religion’s teachings on compassion, and look into your own heart,
Put aside your old habits and selfish appetites, and be honest with yourself.
Animals are beings like us, sentient, conscious, and fully able to experience suffering and joy. They love life and fear death.
And yet every year we murder them by the billions for food that we do not need to live long, healthy lives.
Can we honestly call this holocaust anything but evil?
There is no way that people of faith can be true to the deepest values of their religion and still eat animal products.”
“Nothing says more about someone than their diet.
The food we choose and the way we prepare it defines who we are and how we choose to live on this planet.”
“At the individual level, it seems pretty clear that the No. 1 thing that can be done is to eat less meat and dairy.”
“I am vegan because I cannot justify saying I believe in the values of social justice, human rights and caring for the environment
and continue to participate in something that is a core representation of exploitation and pain in the world.”
Boris Dolin, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Student and Coordinator of ShalomVeg.com
“The ever-increasing cattle population is wreaking havoc on the Earth’s ecosystems, destroying habitats on six continents.
Cattle-raising is a primary factor in the destruction of the world’s remaining tropical rain forests. Millions of acres of ancient forests in Central and South America are being felled and cleared to make room for pastureland to graze cattle. Cattle herding is responsible for much of the spreading desertification in the sub-Sahara of Africa and the western range land of the United States and Australia. The overgrazing of semiarid and arid lands has left parched and barren deserts on four continents. Organic runoff from feedlots is now a major source of organic pollution in our nation's ground water. Cattle are also a major cause of global warming... cattle production and beef consumption now rank among the gravest threats to the future well being of the Earth and its human population.”
“To me, animal rights, humanitarian and environmental issues are all interconnected.”
“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century,
all the natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.”
Dr. Neal Barnard, Executive Director, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
“Vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rate of coronary disease of any group in the country. They have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate.”
William Castelli, MD, Director, Framingham Heart Study
“Human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings...”
Dr. William Roberts, editor-in-chief, American Journal of Cardiology
“I often pass a farm with cows grazing in the field and I think to myself how terrible it is that human beings grow other animals just to kill them and eat them….
I wouldn’t be surprised if we came to a time in 50 or 100 years when civilized people everywhere refused to eat animals.”
“The single most important measure that can be taken in the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
is to stop eating beef.”
Jairam Ramesh, India’s Environment Minister
“I can see entering into a discussion with someone about, say, the environmental damage caused by cows.
Between the methane they release daily, the erosion they promote just by walking around and the streams they befoul, they really are a hazard.
What good have they ever done for us? The United States shouldn’t have cows.”
“Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends.”
George Bernard Shaw
“This is my protest against the conduct of the world. To be a vegetarian is to disagree—to disagree with the course of things today.
Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars—we must make a statement against these things.
Vegetarianism is my statement and I think it’s a strong one.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer
“If you caught your kid raising cats in tiny boxes, forcing them to live in their own feces without clean air or sunlight,
pulling their teeth and claws out with pliers to keep them from hurting each other,
then skinning them alive to make collars to sell to their friends, you’d rush him to a psychiatrist.
But you support that very behavior every time you buy meat, eggs, dairy or fur.”
“The process of gradual blocking of the coronary arteries begins not in adulthood but in childhood... and the main cause of this arteriosclerosis is the steadily increasing amount of fat in the American diet, particularly saturated animal fats such as those found in meat, chicken, milk and cheeses.”
Dr. Benjamin Spock, author, child expert
“I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”
Dr. Dean Ornish, Reversing Heart Disease
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute.”
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.
That is the way of a whole human being.”
President Abraham Lincoln
“The old mantra ‘You are what you eat’ has taken a new turn:
Today we know that what we eat also shapes our landscape, more so than any other human activity in history.
A diet of corn-fed beef is a vote for a world dominated by genetically-engineered grain, factory feedlots, and toxic, nitrate-laden streams.”
Gary Paul Nabhan
“I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if [society] moves toward vegetarianism and protection of animal rights.
In fact, what we’ve seen over the years…
is a widening of the moral realm, bringing in broader and broader domains of individuals who are regarded as moral agents.”
“Meat production causes more environmental harm than other food production.”
“Behind virtually every great environmental complaint there’s milk and meat.”
Lee Hall, J.D.
“There is a direct relationship between eating meat and the environment.
Quite simply, you can’t be a meat-eating environmentalist. Sorry folks.”
Andrea Gordon, “If You Recycle, Why Are You Eating Meat?”, American Jurist
“You can’t be an environmentalist unless you care about how much meat you eat.”
Mark Bittman, Food Matters
“The choice thoughtful people face is not between helping humans or helping other animals. One can do both.
People do not need to eat animals in order to help the homeless, for example,
any more than they need to use cosmetics that have been tested on animals in order to help children.”
“You want to change the world?
Get out the pots and pans, sling that canvas bag over your shoulder and head out to the farmers market to get some real grub.”
“You know, going vegetarian is a very useful, highly effective environmental step.”
Umbra Fisk, Grist
“One of the quickest ways we can lower our collective greenhouse gas emissions is to eat less meat.”
Tracy Fernandez Rysavy, “Eat Less Meat, Cool the Planet”
“The burning of gasoline and the raising of cattle are two of the most planet-scorching actions that we take.”
“Refusing meat [is] the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.”
“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous;
it is indissolubly connected with the fate of [humanity].”
“If you really want to live a happy life, cut the animal products from your diet.”
Russell Simmons, Hip-Hop Pioneer
“Americans would benefit from a change in diet.”
The livestock sector is “one of the two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
“Don’t eat meat, ride a bicycle, and be a frugal shopper.”
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner
“Vegetarianism is literally about life and death — for each of us individually and for all of us together.
Eating animals simultaneously contributes to: their suffering and death; the ill-health and early death of people;
the unsustainable overuse of oil, water, land, topsoil, grain, labor, and other vital resources; environmental destruction, including deforestation, species extinction, mono-cropping,
and global warming; the legitimacy of force and violence; the mis-allocation of capital, skills, land, and other assets; vast inefficiencies in the economy; tremendous waste;
massive inequalities in the world; the continuation of world hunger and mass starvation;
the transmission and spread of dangerous diseases; and moral failure in so-called civilized societies.
Vegetarianism is an antidote to all of these unnecessary tragedies.
It’s as simple as this: Delete meat.”
“How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.”
Wendell Berry, What Are People For?
“One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.”
“Give people a salad, they eat for a meal;
teach people about vegetarianism and they eat for a healthy lifetime.”
John Robbins & Dan Brook
Eat smart, eat healthy, eat responsibly, eat environmentally, eat compassionately, eat joyfully…
because our lives depend upon it.
32. Links, Links, Links!:
Further information can be found on (and off) the web.
Here are some suggested web links. Please feel free to explore and share!
Please link, mirror, send, forward, post, blog,
facebook, twitter, buzz, bookmark, digg, stumble,
or otherwise share this site.
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