Reasons to be a Vegetarian!
As a former vegetarian, I eat a very select and small amount of meat and consider myself a conscious carnivore these days. I’m doing research for a book and i wanted to gather some facts about the environmental impact the industrialized meat production system. I’m all about creating a safe, humane, healthy and regional farming system for both veggies and animals.
After scratching the surface of the topic of industrialized meat production, I’m more convinced than ever, we will not survive if we continue (as a culture in the US) to demand and consume as much meat as we have become accustomed to. Churning out beef, pork, chicken, etc. on this scale can’t be sustainable, and I’m sure there are hundreds of great arguments about why we really don’t need to consume this much meat. I’ll leave that debate to those better qualified to cite studies and reports. I just know how I feel and what works for me. I’ve got many addictions, but thankfully meat isn’t one of them.
The Raw Facts of Industrial Meat Production
• “Expanding livestock production is one of the main drivers of the destruction of tropical rain forests in Latin America, which is causing serious environmental degradation in the region . . . 90% of deforestation is caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.”
Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations (FAO)
• “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
Livestock, Environment And Development Initiative, 2006 Report
• Crops grown specifically for livestock use nearly half of the US water supply and 80% of its agricultural land.
• Energy efficiency, measured by energy input to protein output, for the production of meat, eggs and milk – from animal feed to the dinner table – range from a 4:1 to 54:1.
Cornell University, Science News
• Water consumption in grain v. meat – for 1 pound of each:
o 60 gallons = 1 lb. potatoes
o 108 gallons = 1 lb. Wheat
o 168 gallons = 1 lb. Corn
o 229 gallons = 1 lb. Rice
o 12,000 gallons = 1 lb. Beef
John Robbins, Vegetarian Author
• An individual who changes from a typical American diet to a vegan diet with the same number of calories would prevent the emission of 1485 kg of carbon dioxide. The difference exceeds that of a person switching from a Toyota Camry to the Toyota Prius, hybrid.
University of Chicago, 2006 study
Relevant GO posts:
Consider Cutting the Meat Out
Halal: The Original Ethical Meat Eating?
9 Money-Saving Tips to Eating Greener