Next time you’re in the supermarket about to buy some meat, here are some things you should consider:
- At the UN Climate Conference recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about eating less meat. If the Terminator himself says so, then you should probably give it some thought. From Collective Evolution (http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/12/16/arnold-schwarzenegger-terminate-eating-meat-to-help-save-the-planet/):
Arnold suggests it is a “good idea” for people to stop eating meat altogether or, at the very least, to stop for one or two days a week. “Luckily, we know you can get protein in many different ways,” Schwarzenegger states in the BBC interview. He also points out that a good portion of greenhouses gases are produced by intensive farming of livestock. Schwarzenegger, who started his career as a bodybuilder, winning the Mr. Universe title at the age of twenty and going on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times, has inspired many young males for decades. Schwarzenegger makes a good point that it is difficult to get people to change habits immediately, hence, it is possibly a better strategy for people to reduce consumption in the first instance in an effort to move toward a more vegetarian/vegan diet.
Note: I would like to add that Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of a growing number of celebrities who is emphasising the importance of vegetarian/vegan diets.
- Our current demand for meat on the planet is not sustainable, with production of meat causing more greenhouse gas emissions than all transport combined. From Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141112132057.htm):
A new study led by University of Minnesota ecologist David Tilman shows how a shift away from this trajectory and toward healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespan and quality of life, but also slash greenhouse gas emissions and save habitat for endangered species.
- Leading on from the last quote, not eating meat will save habitats for endangered species. Due to the vast amount of rainforest that is being cleared for animal agriculture we are losing 110 animal and insect species every day (cowspiracy.com/infographic). From Science Daily (same link as above):
“This dietary shift would prevent the destruction of an area of tropical forests and savannas as large as half of the United States.” – Tilman (Professor in the University’s College of Biological Sciences and resident fellow at the Institute on the Environment).
- Our overconsumption of meat and processed foods is not helping us in regards to our health. From Collective Evolution (http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/12/16/arnold-schwarzenegger-terminate-eating-meat-to-help-save-the-planet/):
A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that, as global food diversity declines and the consumption of meat and processed foods increases, the direct result is a dramatic increase in diet-related disease. Spiraling incidents of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are highly correlated to Western diets heavy in meats and dairy.
- Our population is ever-growing, if our diet continues as it is it is only going to get worse. From ‘Becoming Vegan: A Comprehensive Edition’ by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (page 20):
The ecological crisis we face is a reflection of sheer numbers. The global population is growing by a staggering 250,000 people per day, or 166 per second. Our fragile planet is ill-equipped to handle an exponentially escalating population of human beings. Humanity’s annual demand on the earth’s natural resources has been exceeding the planet’s renewal capability since the 1970s.
- If everyone switched or at least shifted towards a vegan diet we would be able to feed so many more people, essentially we would wipe out world hunger. From ‘Becoming Vegan: A Comprehensive Edition’ by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (page 20):
They [The United Nations Environmental Program] suggested a global shift towards a vegan diet to protect the world from hunger, poverty, and the worst impacts of climate change.
- Water availability is shrinking. It takes 660 gallons of water just to produce a hamburger (conspiracy.com/infographic). This is not sustainable. From ‘Becoming Vegan: A Comprehensive Edition’ by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (page 23):
It’s estimated that agricultural production consumes 70 percent of global fresh water. According to David Pimental, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, it takes about 43 times more water to produce 1 pound of beef than to produce 1 pound of cereal grain when the water used to produce the animal feed is factored in – about 43,000 litres of water per kilogram of beef versus 1,000 litres of water per kilogram of cereal grains.
- Cutting meat out of your diet is healthier for you. From’Becoming Vegan: A Comprehensive Edition’ by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (page 30):
Vegan diets rarely lead to under- or over nutrition. Research has consistently confirmed a greater prevalence of over nutrition, overweight and obesity within general populations than within vegan populations. In the United States, an estimated 68 percent of the general population suffers from over nutrition, leading to overweight or obesity. This, in turn, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, some cancers, and complications of pregnancy.
- Lets face it, the animals get treated horrendously. They are abused and enslaved for no good reason. We don’t need to eat meat to survive, so why should these animals have to suffer for us? Here are some facts to take into consideration (most of these facts are taken from ‘Becoming Vegan: A Comprehensive Edition’ by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina):
- Male chicks are culled because they are of no use to the industry, they are ground up while still alive or gassed.
- Cows have their horns cut off while fully conscious and chickens have their beaks cut off also fully conscious.
- Cows are injected with bull sperm to impregnate them so that they can produce milk, when they give birth to the calf it is almost immediately taken away from them.
- “In some ways, animal’s intelligence and awareness make its treatment of CAFOs even more horrifying. Pigs have been shown to be more intelligent than dogs or even three-year-old children. For example, Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University discovered that pigs have remarkably long memories and are highly skilled at video games, which they play with a joystick designed for them. He added that pigs learn to play simple games every bit as quickly as primates.” (page 8 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- Piglets that don’t grow big fast enough are killed, the most common mentor being “blunt trauma to the head and “thumping”; piglets are picked up by their hind legs and slammed into a concrete floor until they die”. (page 9 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “Healthy piglets don’t fare much better. Most undergo a variety of mutilations, including ear-notching, tail-docking, teeth-clipping, and, for males, castration.” (page 9 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “The pigs are crammed in together, in single stalls or groups, with no room for rooting, exploring, nesting, or other standard social behaviours.” (page 9 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “When they reach the slaughterhouse, if they’re frightened and resist loading, unloading, or moving forward in the facilities’ chutes, they’re prodded with electric rods set to painfully high voltage. In some cases, the pigs are beaten with metal pipes or kicked by frustrated handlers.” (page 9 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “The slaughtering process is hardly more humane. The first step is to render the pigs unconscious by stunning them using electricity or suffocating them with carbon dioxide (CO2). The pigs are then dragged upside down using chains or ropes wound around their back feet. Unfortunately, electrical stunning isn’t always effective, and reports of conscious pigs squealing and kicking wildly whole hanging are not uncommon. Next comes the “sticker”, or the person who slits the pig’s throat to bleed her out. If the sticker is unsuccessful the still-living and possibly conscious-pig continues along the disassembly line to the scalding tank, where she is boiled alive for hair removal.” (page 9 and 10 of ‘Becoming Vegan)
- “Chickens are far more intelligent than most of us realise. Research suggests that they’re better at math, logical reasoning, and self-control than toddlers. Chickens learn by observation, can anticipate events, and can predict outcomes. They have a sense of object permanence (the ability to understand that if an object is moved out of sight, it still exists), and can use sounds and gestures to communicate with one another.” (page 10 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “The average space allotted per animal is less than 1 square foot. The overcrowding causes the chickens extreme stress, escalating their risk of injury and disease.” (page 10 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “Because of the popularity of white breast meat, these birds are selectively bred for bigger breasts. As a result, they’re almost twice as heavy at slaughter as their relatives from the 1950s. However, selective breeding of this type causes muscle growth to surpass bone growth, resulting in deformities, fractures, tears, and ruptures. Many birds are literally crippled by their own weight.” (page 10 and 11 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “At the slaughterhouse, chickens are dumped onto conveyor belts and hung upside down on a movable rack. There’s no requirement for them to be stunned before slaughter, because chickens are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act that applies to cattle, sheep and pigs. Instead, they’re subjected to an electric water bath that paralyses them but doesn’t always render them unconscious. Before they’re plunged into scalding water to loosen their feathers, their throats are slit so they can bleed out and die. In some cases, the process is unsuccessful, and these unfortunate birds drown in the near-boiling water.” (page 11 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “Egg-laying hens are packed into wire cages so tightly that they’re given less than half the space of broilers, or approximately 67 square inches per bird (slightly more than half the size of a standard sheet of paper). This degree of overcrowding makes it impossible for the birds to carry put any natural behaviours. For perspective, a hen needs about 72 square inches of space to be able to stand up straight, 178 square inches to preen, and 291 square inches to flap her wings. The inability to perform any of these activities causes the chickens to behave abnormally. To prevent the birds from pecking one another to death, workers use a heated blade to sear off about one-third to one-half of a chicken’s beak. This amputation is conducted without an anaesthetic and causes severe nerve injury, as well as acute and even chronic pain.” (page 11 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- “Capture fisheries employ a wide range of catching techniques. Potassium cyanide and other poisons are routinely applied to coral reefs to paralyse of stun reef fish for aquariums or to capture exotic species for live-fish restaurants, killing the reefs in the process. Other methods include the highly malicious, such as dynamiting coral reefs, and the excessively – and cruelly – efficient, such as bottom-trawling, long-lining, gill-netting, and purse-seining.” (page 15 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)
- On free-range, free-roaming, cage-free, pasture-raised, grass-fed, organic, humanely raised, certified humane or animal-compassionate farming: “On many “humane” farms, animals are still generally bred by the thousands, kept in crowded conditions, and removed from their mothers shortly after birth. Chickens are still debeaked and male offspring are still disposed of. Even in facilities that offer access to the outdoors, the access may only be a small opening to an outdoor enclosure that’s inaccessible to many of the animals crowded into the facility.” (page 19 of ‘Becoming Vegan’)