I care about animals. I think that goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway. I also care about the planet I live on, as well as my health. There are multiple types of diets that exist, hundreds, but the average American eats a shocking amount of 222.2 pounds of red meat annually. In one lifetime a person will consume a staggering 7,000 animals. Most people aren’t aware of how unhealthy it is to eat meat on a regular basis, but the truth is, the consumption of animals will shorten your lifespan.
In Michael Ruhlman’s article, “Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat” he states, “Our eating animals is good for the animals. They exist because we care for them, and we care for and raise their offspring. If spit-roasted dodo bird had been delicious to eat, I’d wager the dodo bird would still exist.” I’d like to argue that the dodo bird became extinct because it was being eaten by Dutch sailors and hunted by invasive species in 1662. It was hunted so easily because the bird was defenseless and the processing of animals that exists today did not back then.
Ruhlman also says, “To put it as simply as possible, then, to give up eating what made us who we are possibly endangers us genetically and socially.” Personally, since cutting meat and dairy products out of my diet I have noticed significant changes in my body and health. I have dropped excess body fat, my skin complexion is glowing, I no longer get pimples that would appear at random before, my energy level is high and my depression is no longer an issue. I feel happy to be healthy and to know that by myself I will save approximately 200 animals a year.
Farm animals today are forced to breed and are put into warehouses and cages. Chickens are crammed into cages with tens of thousands of others, with nothing to do but eat, sleep and defecate. They are unable to walk more than a few inches and are fed corn their entire short lived lives, and fattened up to 5 times their normal weight. Many chickens die from constipation, with broken legs caused by the weight that they carry that disables them. When they are big enough they are crammed into wire cages to be shipped to slaughterhouses with no space inside. In transport they can't spread their wings and are forced to urinate and defecate on one another. In order to keep the birds from pecking each others’ eyes out due to the confined space, part of their sensitive beaks are cut off and millions die from the stress of the journey.
The reality is that consuming meat opens doors to health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, contributes to erectile dysfunction in men, and also makes it harder to maintain a healthy body weight. Yet even with all this information available to consumers the demand for meat is on the rise.
Research shows that cramming billions of animals on factory farms is a major explanation for climate change. According to Haley Hansel’s article, How Animal Agriculture Affects our Planet, “every second, 1-2 acres of rain forest are cleared for grazing livestock or growing animal feed. Up to 137 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day because of the destruction of these biodiverse regions of our planet.” The amount of cow, duck, chicken, and pigs, being bred and fed has led to an excess amount of manure which releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide which are all major contributors. According to PETA a non profit organization which stands up for animals rights claims, “It is more ‘climate efficient’ to produce protein from vegetable sources than from animal sources.”
The bottom line is, if you care about the environment, as well as your health and want to stop climate change, stop eating meat, dairy, fish and eggs. Even minimizing the amount of meat and animal products will make the slightest difference in your health and on our planet. Alternative foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, kidney beans and plant based milk or tofu. The way we currently grow, process, slaughter and distribute meat is unhealthy and unfair to animals who don’t have a voice to defend themselves. Be the voice that stands up for animal rights.