Why More & More People Are Avoiding Meat
The choice to restrict or completely eliminate animal products is a choice more and more people are making. With the number of vegetarians and vegans steadily increasing throughout both the US and the world, the reasons for this choice are also growing:
- Ethical Reasons: Saying no to factory farming
- Sustainable Living: The environmental impact
- Cultural Reasons
- Health Reasons
For many vegetarians and vegans (especially pet and animal lovers), the inhumane treatment of factory-farmed animals is a powerful driving force. The US factory farming industry is rife with unsanitary conditions, and horrifically abuse suffered by animals. What many Americans are now becoming aware of is that if you do not purchase pasture-raised meat, over 99% of the meat in US supermarkets (and sold in restaurants) is factory-farmed meat. The factory farming practices in the US are illegal in other countries because they are considered barbaric.
- What is factory farming & why is it illegal in other countries
- Why is factory farmed meat dangerous for your health
- The environmental impact of factory farming
Fortunately, the media is now bringing to light just how serious this problem has become. The activity of environmental groups, animal welfare groups, documentaries, and widespread petitions have helped to expose the sickening abuse and cruelty factory-farmed animals are forced to endure.
Thanks to brave whistle-blowers who have suffered the wrath of not only the industry, but the biased American judicial system, we now know there is obvious and deliberate abuse as helpless animals are sadistically kicked, beaten, cut, and dragged about on factory farms, or lie in pain and left to die on slaughterhouse floors. The fact that these issues are widespread throughout US factory farms make the issue all the more shocking.
If you choose to eat meat that is not organic or pasture-raised,
then YOU ARE DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTING to animal cruelty
Let's take a look at cold, hard statistics that will likely make you question your meat purchasing choices. These are industry figures - the actual figures are higher:
- Animals are packed into spaces and cages so tight they can barely move, and cannot even turn around.
- Animals are routinely kicked, beaten, and maimed, some left to die in pain.
- Animals are fed growth hormones, causing them to grow so large their limbs become deformed and snap.
- Malignant tumors are routinely found in animals sent for slaughter, with a very small percentage inspected. Animals with chronic disease are sold for human consumption with the "green" sections simply cut out.
- Most animals have no access to the outdoors or natural light.
- Animals are unable to engage in their natural behaviors.
- Animals continually experience severe physical and mental distress.
- Animals are pumped with a continual flow of antibiotics to prevent disease from abuse and unsanitary conditions. 80% of the antibiotics in the US are used in agriculture, contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
- Animals are fed unnatural diets comprised of genetically modified ingredients, animal byproducts, and have chemicals administered to their foods. Just as with humans, this contributes to accumulated toxins and chronic disease in the animal, infecting the meat.
Pigs - the pork and bacon you eat:
- Tails are cut off, ears are cut short, and they are castrated... all without any painkillers.
- Many are unable to walk or are crippled as their legs cannot hold up their drug-induced artificial bulk.
- Many are beaten with gate rods to force them to move.
- Pigs can be packed so tightly together that their limbs snap.
- Pigs are slammed against concrete floors.
- Some pigs are burned alive in a scalding tank used for hair removal. Tragically, 400,000 pigs arrive at slaughterhouses each year in this condition.
- 100,000 pigs arrive dead at slaughterhouses every year.
Cows - the beef you eat:
- 40% of dairy cows are lame before they reach the slaughterhouse.
- More than 100,000 cows are unable to walk off the transport trucks each year.
- Cows are impregnated annually to keep milk flowing, with babies removed immediately at birth.
Seafood - the fish you eat:
- Farmed fish are often cramped together in a disease-ridden environment that affect the health of the seafood, and affect our health as we eat it.
- Much of the fish from the ocean is now contaminated with heavy metals and mercury to the point that pregnant women are recommended to severely limit or avoid certain types of fish from their diet such as tuna and swordfish. ...Read more
It's a Conscious Choice
When we cannot fathom our own pets being treated in such an unconscionable way, do we really want animals to experience such suffering simply for us to eat a piece of meat? You may quickly exclaim "NO!" but if you choose to eat meat that is not organic or sustainably raised on open pastures, then the truth is that you are directly contributing to animal cruelty. If you are not a vegetarian, read more about making responsible meat-eating choices and no longer contributing to this animal cruelty.
For many vegetarians and vegans, this cruelty hits hard. It is not only about their health, it is about choosing a lifestyle that does not contribute to this tragic picture, or supporting an industry that contributes to pollution, animal cruelty, and farming practices that are dangerous to public health. They choose a diet that supports the well-being of mankind and refuse to contribute to the death of animals, or the harm of other creatures on our planet unnecessarily.
Studies are emerging that the massive quantities of meat consumed now on a daily basis in the western world is not sustainable from a global perspective. The agricultural impact of raising livestock is a significant source of environmental pollution. Despite the claim that it is difficult to provide enough food to feed a country the size of the US, hundreds of millions of tons of grains are grown specifically to feed livestock each year. The land mass itself that is used for this food supply is substantial. ...Read more
Today, there are many people around the world, especially those in the third-world countries, who follow a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans, and legumes are their primary food sources. Some of these cultures include long-lived societies who gerontologists have discovered show a remarkable level of physical activity and a complete lack of any of the chronic diseases in the western world. It is not difficult to be physically active and thrive on a vegan and/or vegetarian diet, as we can see by the very high levels of health and physical activity of vegetarian and vegan athletes today.
Due to the environmental impact, many individuals choose to give up meat, while others cut back to much smaller and healthier quantities of 2-3 times a week, eating meat only from organic and sustainable sources.
Hindus comprise most of the world's vegetarians. They excel at eating a well-rounded nutritional vegetarian diet with the creative use of flavorful herbs and spices. The other major religions of the world do permit meat eating, however some scholars of religious texts (such as Jewish scholars) believe that God intended man to be vegetarians. For this reason, a growing number of people from various religions (especially Buddhists) now follow a vegetarian diet.
Many vegetarians and vegans feel that it is unhealthy to consume animal products. Is eating meat bad for our health? The answer is both yes and no.
Eating meat is not required to be healthy, a evidenced by millions of healthy vegetarians and vegans worldwide. But does it make you a unhealthy person if you do eat meat or dairy? Unless you pay close attention to the quality of the meat you buy, in today's industrialized and chemicalized world of meat production and pasteurized dairy, it unfortunately does.
It is not the animal products that contribute to disease, it is:
- The chemicalization and industrialization of our food chain - especially our meat and seafood.
- Due to factory-farmed meat now being available so cheaply, the average intake of meat per person has also risen significantly in the last 50 years to very unhealthy quantities.
When we look at the diets of many different traditional cultures throughout the ages, we find that most of these diets either contained animal products, or were semi-vegetarian (consuming a small quantity of animal products). In these cultures, not only was there a distinct lack of any of the chronic and autoimmune diseases rampant in the westernized world today, but many people in these cultures often lived in perfect health to 100 yrs old or more, with none of the degenerative diseases we have now come to associate with old age.
- The diets of traditional cultures
- Key characteristics of healthy, traditional diets
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
Studies do show that vegetarians and vegans typically tend to live longer than meat eaters. They also show that those who have eliminated meat products from their diet have not only healed themselves of chronic diseases, but have also achieved significant weight loss. There are many, many studies that show both a reduction and an elimination in serious, chronic diseases when semi-vegetarian and vegetarian/vegan diets are undertaken, and especially so on raw versions of these diets (largely due to all nutrients remaining intact, and because eating such diets effectively change the chemistry of the body and makes it inhospitable to disease).
But let's not forget a very important point about these studies. The participants in most of these studies not only cut out meat products, but also cut out the processed and refined junk foods and pasteurized dairy on the supermarket shelves today - foods that are the real culprit in the decline of our health. It is not the meat that poses a problem. It is what we have done to that meat that creates the health hazard.