What damage does your food do?
More than 70 billion animals being reared annually for food worldwide and 60 million of those animals are slaughtered every hour: that is so much unnecessary death. There is so much inaccurate information and lies that are flung around by the media, and people who aren’t willing to give up meat and dairy, about vegan diets. They say that “there is no one diet that suits everyone”. This is true in the sense of allergies and intolerances and other issues that are unavoidable. What isn’t true about that statement however, is how, just like any other species, there is an optimum diet that humans should be following. PETA says, “According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.”
Many people’s lives revolved around animal agriculture: every meal is jammed full of artery-clogging bacon, carcinogenic meats and addictive cheeses. The average American consumes 209 lbs of meat every year. Seriously. Throughout history, human beings have never really had heart disease, inflammatory arthritis, strokes and cancer, until now. Until we had a diet of fatty, unhealthy meat and dairy we were healthy. Our planet was healthy. It was our greed and need to take more than we need that has been our health and environment downfall.
In this addition of #GetVegucated, we’ll be talking all things global warming, animal agriculture and what we can do to make a difference.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of our greenhouse emissions. 18%. That’s more than every form of transport in the world combined. When you consider livestock and their byproducts in that, it rises to 51%. 65% of nitrous oxide emissions (a greenhouse gas that is 296x more destructive that CO2) comes from livestock, and every second, 2 acres of rainforest are cleared for grazing livestock or growing animal feed. 137 plant, animal and insect species are made extinct every single day because of this destruction and the impact it has on the biodiversity of the destroyed area. This rises in the Amazon rainforest – which is home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity – where 91% of deforestation is caused by livestock.
In addition to the space taken up by rearing the animals, one of the other main causes of deforestation and land destruction is the growing up crops for animal feed. One of the most commonly grown is soy, and most of the production goes towards feeding the animals, instead of being directly used to feed humans – we use soy in veggie burgers, tofu, soy milks and a whole other range of vegan foods – imagine how many people we could feed if we cut out the cows and give that soy directly to the people!
The meat and dairy industry uses 1/3 of the world’s fresh water supplies. Think about how many people don’t have clean drinking water, and how better it would be to be able to give this water to the people in need. An average cow needs to drink 30 gallons of water every day, and one hamburger needs 660 gallons of water to be made. That’s the equivalent of showering for two months; it also takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk. By going vegan, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year. Livestock currently uses about 45% of the world’s land, with 1/3 of land becoming desertified because of livestock. One and a half acres of land can create 375lbs of meat or 37,000lbs of plant food. By avoiding any and all animal-based foods, you can help save lives and land, allowing for my ethical and sustainable plant farming practices to take over from destructive and devastating animal agriculture.
We will have fishless oceans by 2048. For every pound of fish caught, 5lbs more of other fish is caught and killed too. 70% of the world’s fish species are exploited and depleted. Bottom trawling and long-lining, two of the most commonly used methods of fishing, clear the ocean floor of all life and destroy our precious coral reefs. These processes kill thousands of innocent dolphins, turtles, sharks and “bycatch” animals, that, once caught, are left to die. “Coastal fish farms release feces, antibiotics, parasites, and non-native fish into sensitive marine ecosystems,” (Source: PETA) and it takes 3lbs of fish meal to produce every single pound of farmed salmon. Boycott any kind of fish product – it’s not just the fish or seafood that you’re eating that has had it’s life taken from it; hundreds of other fish and marine species have suffered too.
Moving on from the direct effects, runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing is one of the leading causes of pollution in rivers and lakes, bacteria and viruses from this often end up in groundwater that we use on a daily basis. Something that few people know is that “factory farms often dodge their water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind” (Source: PETA). People who live nearby these farms and livestock stations often inhale the toxins and pathogens unknowingly. A report by the California State Senate noted, “Studies have shown that [animal waste] lagoons emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation and neurochemical problems in humans.” This isn’t something that I’m okay with.
Go vegan. Be free. Eat cheap. Make a difference in the world. It’s the easiest and best thing you’ll ever do.
Things To Watch:
Things To Read:
The China Study, Dr Colin Campbell
Things To Read On Meat:
Things To Read On Dairy:
Things To Read On Eggs:
Things To Read On Vegan nutrition:
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