The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are well-documented, as are the increased risks of heart disease and cancer that come with eating meat. But these are “merely” personal benefits, and personal risks. Most people will say that this is a personal “lifestyle” choice. Yes, I agree. What you do with your body – is certainly your choice.
However, the decision to eat meat or not to eat meat is actually broader than personal lifestyle. With the advent of factory farming, other factors have to be considered.Modern meat production is a completely automated, mechanised industry with billions of animals spending their entire lives – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – in tiny pens or cages, never seeing the sun, never feeling fresh air, never being allowed the freedom to walk even one step. By eating meat you not only decide on a lifestyle for yourself – you decide the cruel life of these animals.
How many of us can remain complacent in the face of such institutionalised cruelty?
Did you know, for example, that 70 % of the grain grown in the United States is used to feed animals destined for slaughter? Or that 80% of the water used in the States goes toward animal agriculture? Or that land growing potatoes, rice and other vegetables can support 20 times as many people as land producing grain-fed beef? Or that many leading scientists now rank the environmental damage caused by the meat producing industry as second only to that caused by fossil fuels?
By eating meat you not only decide on a lifestyle for yourself – your decision influences the environment, global hunger and the cruel life of these animals. Don’t be cruel – be a vegetarian!