“You, as a food buyer, have the distinct privilege of proactively participating in shaping the world your children will inherit.” – Joel Salatin
I do not for one second believe that the majority of people “just don’t care” about the planet, the environment, or the shape we leave it in for our children and grandchildren – I believe they do. I also believe, if given the facts straight, many people would be more willing to make the necessary changes to help stop the decline and ruin of the place we all call our home. So lets get down to some truth – cold hard facts. What are we doing to this planet in order to have our triple bacon cheeseburgers available at moments notice? I think you may be surprised.
“The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous.” – David Brubaker, PhD, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University
1.) World Hunger –
Raising animals for the sole purpose of slaughtering them is an extremely inefficient way to feed the human population. If we redirected even a portion of the grain we use to feed these animals we continue to over-populate, we could end world hunger. 13 pounds of edible grain is what it takes to produce one pound of edible meat. Cows, for example, are made to live off of grass – they are much leaner and fitter animals when they eat as God intended. We stuff them full of corn and grain so they are bigger for the slaughter to make more money, instead of directing that food to the starving men, women, and children everywhere else. Greed is a sick thing.
Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends states that “Cattle and other livestock are devouring much of the grain produced on the planet. It need be emphasized that this is a new phenomenon, unlike anything ever experienced before.”
How do we justify this? In my own heart, I cannot. I cannot support an industry that, if eliminated, could help feed millions of people literally dying to be fed. We can live and live abundantly without having to kill our food. We can live a full healthy life eating solely plant foods – so why support this greed driven industry one more day? I don’t care if “bacon tastes good”, these are deep rooted issues that are destructing this planet and the people who inhabit it. Change is necessary.
Lets put it in different, easy to understand terms. Picture this: you are sitting at a large table with 15 people who haven’t eaten in 3 days. You are all then served 1 plate of pasta, 16 plates of pasta total. Enough for everyone to eat their fill. You then, take each plate of pasta away from every individual and swap them for one plate of meat that you eat by yourself, in front of them as they continue to go hungry. Sounds inhumane, right?
If you think your decision to abstain from eating meat wouldn’t make a difference, please know that one person going meat-free clears up land to feed as many as 19 other people. In order to support the 60 million starving to death each year, it would only require 10% of American meat-eaters switching to a vegan diet. You make a difference.
2.) Carbon Dioxide –
One person exchanges “regular” car for hybrid car = reduces carbon dioxide emission by 1 ton per year.
One person exchanges meat for a vegan diet = reduces carbon dioxide emission by 1.5 tons per year.
If each American dropped just one serving of chicken from their diet per week = reduces the same amount of CO2 as taking 500,000 cars off the road.
Due to the high demand of meat today, our livestock now covers roughly 30% of the earth’s land surface (including about 70% of the Amazon rain forest) – and we continue to clear the earths forests at an aggressive 7 football fields a minute to make room for more livestock. We continually impregnate these animals, literally moments after they give birth, to produce this unnatural overpopulation of livestock. All of this CO2 is causing irreversible damage at a pretty startling rate – this is a huge factor when it comes to global warming. Right now, this is the single biggest threat to the human race.
3.) Water –
It takes 2,400 gallons of water to raise 1 pound of meat.
It takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat.
You’d save more water by not eating one pound of meat than you would save by not showering for 6 months. A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day – a meat eaters diet requires 4,000 gallons per day.
The fact is, nearly 50% of all water used in the United States goes to raising animals for food. If we want to get serious about conserving water, this is the issue to tackle.
4.) Methane Gas & Nitrus Oxide –
Cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens are the largest producers of methane gas in the United States and when it comes to matter of global warming, this is a big deal. Methane is 20% more effective at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere than CO2.
“A single dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of wet manure per day, which is equivalent to the waste produced by 20–40 people. That means California’s 1.4 million dairy cows produce as much waste as 28–56 million people.” – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Notes from Underground, Fall 2001
The egg, meat, and dairy industry is accountable for 65% of all Nitrus Oxide emitted in the atmosphere. Nitrus Oxide is 300x’s more powerful at trapping heat than CO2.
5.) Human Health & Morality –
When I walk into a supermarket I am automatically taken back at the rows and rows of “food-like science projects”, packaged and marketed to strike our interest and urge us to spend our hard earned money on consuming these dressed up chemicals that are designed to make us not only sick and fat, but crave more of them and lose our taste for real, natural, organic foods.
“What made this project especially remarkable is that, among the many associations that are relevant to diet and disease, so many pointed to the same finding: people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored. From the initial experimental animal studies on animal protein effects to this massive human study on dietary patterns, the findings proved to be consistent. The health implications of consuming either animal or plant-based NUTRIENTS were remarkably different.” ― T. Colin Campbell, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health
“One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.” – Henry David Thoreau
Among environmental reasons, feeding more hungry mouths, and living the healthiest/fullest life possible there is the overwhelming sense of moral obligation to end the suffering I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, of the millions of innocent living creatures that we aggressively breed only to end their lives and consume them unnecessarily. I can’t help but care that more people be fully aware of what goes on – because our food industry does a poor job of shedding light on the disgusting conditions it creates for the creatures we call “food”. If we are not able to stomach watching how they live/die should we really be eating them at all?
Pictured on our milk/egg cartons are happy, free roaming, healthy cows and chickens on beautiful green fields with a cute red barn in the distance. They think we are stupid enough to believe that this is how these animals really live, and sadly many of us are incredibly ignorant to the truth.
Here’s our perception:
Here is reality:
There are many, many more pictures much more gruesome I could share but I won’t. If you simply google “factory farming”, you will quickly see the reality of life for these animals. I think we can all agree, this is not the way it’s supposed to be. The only way to change the way things are headed is to turn and walk a different direction. Drastic change is going to take a drastic change.
“I became a vegan the day I watched a video of a calf being born on a factory farm. The baby was dragged away from his mother before he hit the ground. The helpless calf strained its head backwards to find his mother. The mother bolted after her son and exploded into a rage when the rancher slammed the gate on her. She wailed the saddest noise I’d ever heard an animal make, and then thrashed and …dug into the ground, burying her face in the muddy placenta. I had no idea what was happening respecting brain chemistry, animal instinct, or whatever. I just knew that this was deeply wrong. I just knew that such suffering could never be worth the taste of milk and veal. I empathized with the cow and the calf and, in so doing, my life changed.” – James McWilliams
“If you don’t want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured then you shouldn’t condone such behaviour towards anyone, be they human or not.” – Moby
I am not writing to shame anyone, only to expose truth where it’s not been made clear to the public. If these are things that do not sit well with your conscience I encourage you to do as much research as you can – the more you dig, the more educated you become on this matter, the easier it will be to change it. Every single one of you makes a huge difference. I hope you believe that.