Updated: Sep 9
"Why don't you eat meat?" This is a question I get every time I go out to eat with people, and quite frankly, it gets old. People struggle to see the benefits (both for yourself and the environment) that come with giving up meat, and mostly focus on the fact that we’re giving up something ‘yummy.’ It is hard to look outside of ones comfort zone with food, and that is why in this blog I am explaining some basic points for why people go vegetarian and why more people should.
There are an abundance of reasons for people to cut meat out of their diets; health, morals, religion, the environment, and so on. Personally, I cut out meat because of the environment and morals: I love animals and I love the planet, so if I can help both by doing one simple thing, then I will.
As far as health goes, by cutting out meat you can lower your chances of getting heart disease, as well as boost your metabolism as you eat less fat. By going vegetarian you can more easily lose unwanted fat and build lean muscle, just make sure to find your protein elsewhere. It is also proven by doctors (Michael F. Roizen, for example) that those who do not eat meat live longer and have less disability than those that do.
As for the environment, meat (specifically the butcher factories) is not its friend.. the runoff of waste from meat factories covers more than 173,000 miles of land, it is risking water quality and adds to air pollution. Currently it is seen that livestock production is leaving a worse carbon footprint than the use of automobiles. Did you know that the agriculture surrounding livestock causes 15% of all emissions which leads to global warming? By going vegetarian, or simply eating less meat, we could lower that number significantly over time.
The animals in large farms and meat factories are not treated like living beings - they are treated as if they are already a meal. These animals that are meant to roam freely and eat fresh grass and drink from natural bodies of water are crammed into cages where they can barely move or lay. They are underfed and fed the most basic of grains (which are not good for us to ingest) which leaves them malnourished. The animals are slaughtered without a second thought and in the most inhumane of ways; birds are dragged over mechanical cut-throating blades and plucked of their feathers (all while conscious), some are even hung upside down and dunked into boiling water while they are still alive. Pigs are shot with stun guns that are meant to kill them, but they do not always die instantly, sometimes they are put into scalding tanks while still alive and get boiled to death. Cows are shot in the head with captive-bolt guns, we are told it is harmless but recent studies show that they feel it all.
Did you know that cows play fetch and pigs love belly rubs? They feel things, see things, make connections.. They are living beings, like a cat or a dog, or you and me.
I know that it is hard for the workers in this industry to give their full attention to each animal they kill since there are thousands upon thousands of animals killed each year, so mistakes happen. But these mistakes are torturous. If less people ate the meat and there was less demand for it, then the animals that are in captivity could get treated better prior to their death and would not get mistaken for dead when only paralyzed.
I realize that being vegetarian is not for everyone, but perhaps knowing how large industries go about the way the animals are treated then it will make some people more aware of where they get their meats. If you truly need meat in your life then try to buy it from local farms, where the animals are free range and treated well.
Other articles on why to go vegetarian and where I got some of my information: