As I've mentioned in previous posts, once you tell someone you're doing something a little out of ordinary they tend to challenge you. Yesterday we were chatting with our cousins who think we are insane for restricting our diet so severely. Tom wanted to know why, exactly, we were doing this, but somehow the conversation transitioned to something else before I finished my answer. So this post's for you Tom!
1) Health: Vegetarian, and more specifically, vegan diets are credited with reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a whole host of other chronic conditions.
2) Environment: Eating lower on the food chain is much better for our environment; it takes fewer resources to grow vegetables than it does to grow cattle! The production of animal based foodstuff is a major source of environmental pollution and consumes vast quantities of resources from water to pesticides to petroleum, not to mention the fact that the grain used to feed cattle could be used to feed humans.
3) Humanity: Factory farming is inhumane. Hens are kept in overcrowded conditions and debeaked to prevent them from pecking each other to death. Pigs are kept in wire cages that are large enough so they are not pressed up against the bars, but not so large as to allow them to turn around. The cows, well they aren't so happy (reference to the "happy cows" dairy campaign here in California). Ducks and geese are force fed to the point of bursting to make liver pate. I could go on, but I find it particularly bothersome to think about any of this.
For more detailed facts and information try the following sites:
- Vegan Outreach for information on all three topics above;
- Peta, for information on cruelty to animals in farming;
- EarthSave, for information on environmental issues and concerns.
- And finally, here's the link to the United Nation's comprehensive report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, which details the environmental impact of farming on the planet.
Bottom line: We're cutting back our consumption of animal products significantly, and hopefully reducing our chances of heart attack and other so-called lifestyle diseases. We're also reducing our carbon footprint (our impact on global warming).
If any of these arguments have swayed you and you're interested in trying a vegetarian or vegan diet, sign up to take the Veg Pledge here.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those turkeys who have been spared thanks to the Tofurky.