AR Philosophy > Debating AR

How to Win an Argument With a Meat Eater

"Outsmart him. Outrun him. Outlive him." -- Dave Scott


The Hunger Argument

Number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year: 20 million
Number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100 million
Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by people: 20
Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 80
Percentage of oats grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 95
Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90
How frequently a child dies as a result of malnutrition: every 2.3 seconds
Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on an acre: 40,000
Pounds of beef produced on an acre: 250
Percentage of U.S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef: 16


The Environmental Argument

Cause of global warming: greenhouse effect
Primary cause of greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels
Fossil fuels needed to produce meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 3 times more
Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75
Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85
Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million
Amount of meat imported to U.S. annually from Central and South America: 300,000,000 pounds
Percentage of Central American children under the age of five who are undernourished: 75
Area of tropical rainforest consumed in every quarter-pound of rainforest beef: 55 square feet
Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year


The Cancer Argument

Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times
For women who eat eggs daily compared to once a week: 2.8 times
For women who eat butter and cheese 2-4 times a week: 3.25 times
Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times
Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times.


The Cholesterol Argument

Number of U.S. medical schools: 125
Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30
Nutrition training received by average U.S. physician during four years in medical school: 2.5 hours
Most common cause of death in the U.S.: heart attack
How frequently a heart attack kills in the U.S.: every 45 seconds
Average U.S. man's risk of death from heart attack: 50 percent
Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat: 15 percent
Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy or eggs: 4 percent
Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption of meat, dairy and eggs by 10 percent: 9 percent
Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption by 50 percent: 45 percent
Amount you reduce risk if you eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet: 90 percent
Average cholesterol level of people eating meat-centered-diet: 210 mg/dl
Chance of dying from heart disease if you are male and your blood cholesterol level is 210 mg/dl: greater than 50 percent


The Natural Resources Argument

User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock production
Amount of water used in production of the average cow: sufficient to float a destroyer
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 25
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of California beef: 5,000
Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78
To get 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2
Percentage of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by U.S. that is devoted to the production of livestock: 33
Percentage of all raw materials consumed by the U.S. needed to produce a complete vegetarian diet: 2


The Antibiotic Argument

Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55
Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13
Percentage resistant in 1988: 91
Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support


The Pesticide Argument

Common belief: U.S. Department of Agriculture protects our health through meat inspection
Reality: fewer than 1 out of every 250,000 slaughtered animals is tested for toxic chemical residues
Percentage of U.S. mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 99
Percentage of U.S. vegetarian mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 8
Contamination of breast milk, due to chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in animal products, found in meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating mothers: 35 times higher
Amount of Dieldrin ingested by the average breast-fed American infant: 9 times the permissible level


The Ethical Argument

Number of animals killed for meat per hour in the U.S.: 660,000
Occupation with highest turnover rate in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker
Occupation with highest rate of on-the-job-injury in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker


The Survival Argument

Athlete to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner)
Food choice of Dave Scott: Vegetarian
Largest meat eater that ever lived: Tyrannosaurus Rex (Where is he today?)

Source = "Diet For A New America" by John Robbins
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