Practical Issues > Health - Index > Vegan Index

ONE HUNDRED & ONE REASONS TO GO VEGETARIAN

People Land Air Water Efficiency Animals Health

    PEOPLE

    Every year in the UK we feed our livestock enough food to feed 250,000,000 people while in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation

    20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater

    Every 3 seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world

    If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)

    If all Americans became vegetarian, it would free enough grain to feed 600,000,000 people (the population of India)

    Intensification in animal farming has displaced 1,000,000's of people from their traditional lands - eg. indigenous people in south & central america, native americans in north america & crofters in Great Britain - this is continuing today

    People displaced from their lands into cities succumb to dietary deficiency, diseases, parasites & opportunistic diseases

    In third world countries 1 in 10 babies die before their first birthday

    The UK imports ?46,000,000 worth of grain from third world countries to feed our livestock

    Due to overgrazing 850,000,000 people live on land threatened by desertification & over 230,000,000 already live on land so severely desertified that they are unable to sustain their existence & face imminent starvation

    1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away & 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink

    LAND

    If they continue to clear American forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left

    1 acre yields 165 lbs of beef or 20,000 lbs of potatoes

    8/10 of cultivated land in the UK is used to grow food for animals (14,732,000 hectares)

    It takes 16lbs of high protein soya to produce 1 lb of beef

    Since 1945 in the UK we have lost 95% of flower meadows, 50% of ancient woodlands, 40% of heathlands, 50% of wet lands & 224,000 km of hedgerows all due to animal farming

    Pressure on land due to meat farming leads to soil erosion 6billion tons/year in the USA

    If everyone went vegetarian upto 90% of land used for animal farming could be taken out of production & used to replant woodlands, leisure activities etc.

    25% of Central america's forests have been destroyed for cattle grazing since 1960

    Between 1966-1983 38% of the Amazon rain forest was destroyed for cattle grazing

    90% of cattle ranches established on cleared forest land go bankrupt in less than 8 years as the land becomes barren due to nutrient loss & overgrazing

    Overgrazing by cattle is destroying the land & increasing desertification, nearly 430 million acres in the USA alone has suffered a 25-50% reduction in yield since first grazed

    An inch of topsoil takes 200-1000 years to develop - yet in the USA they have lost around 1/3 of their prime topsoil in 200 years (around 7 inches) due to animal farming

    Land will be lost due to rises in sea level due to global warming due to animal farming

    AIR

    The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply

    The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming)

    Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year

    Combining these figures, 25% of methane emissions are due to animal farming (not including the billions of sheep, pigs & poultry so the real figure is much higher)

    Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect

    Fertilizer, weedkiller & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail

    CFCs are released into the air from refrigeration units used to store decomposing flesh (meat), milk & butter - CFCs are destroy the ozone layer

    Ammonia from animal urine also pollutes the atmosphere

    CO2 is released by burning oil & petrol in lorries, ships, abattoirs, dairies, factories etc. associated with meat & dairy production

    Emissions from large chemical plants which produce fertilizer, weedkiller & other agricultural chemicals are also poisoning our air

    WATER

    25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat & 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat

    UK farm animals produce 200,000,000 tonnes of slurry (liquid excrement) every year, the majority of which ends up in our rivers

    Bloody waste water from abattoirs ends up in our rivers

    In the USA every second humans produce 12,000 lbs of effluent while farmed animals produce 250,000 lbs

    Nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers

    Meat & dairy farming uses 70 litres of water per day per animal in the UK or 159,250,000,000 litres per year in total

    The water used to produce 10 lbs of steak is equivalent to the average consumption of water for an entire household for an entire year

    Depletion of groundwater reserves to grow crops for animals & to supply abattoirs will lead to greater water shortages

    Aquafers (stores of underground water) in the San Joaquin valley in the USA are being drained at the rate of 500,000,000,000 gallons/year to produce meat

    18% of all agricultural land in the world is irrigated & as global warming increases (partly due to animal farming) it will cost $200,000,000 to keep these systems going

    The water used to produce a 1000 lb beef steer is enough to float a Destroyer battleship

    The liquid waste from the various parts of the meat & dairy industry flow into the rivers & from there into the seas polluting them & encouraging huge algal blooms to grow

    EFFICIENCY

    To produce 1calorie of energy from meat takes 60 calories of petrol, whereas growing grains & legumes to directly feed people produces 20 calories for each calorie of fuel used ( thats 1200 times more efficient)

    Meat & dairy farming uses billions of gallons of oil to run tractors, fuel ships & lorries (to move animal feed & animals), pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields & run slaughterhouses, power refrigeration units to prevent the corpses from decomposing & to power sewage plants to clean up some of the pollution produced

    Cattle convert only 6% of their energy intake (mainly grains & soya) into flesh, the remaining 94% is wasted as heat, movement (which is why they keep many animals in very close confinement), hair, bones, faeces etc

    1lb of beef takes 1 gallon of petrol to produce

    A family of four eating beef for a year uses enough petrol to run a car for 6 months (obviously depending on how far you drive!)

    If the full ecological cost of meat was passed onto the consumer - the price would be quadrupled (at least)

    The EC spends ?100,000,000's to subsidise animal production resulting in lakes of unwanted milk & mountains of unwanted meat & butter. This money could be better spent encouraging organic fruit, vegetable & grain production

    In the USA in 1979 145,000,000 tons of crops were fed to cattle resulting in only 21million tons of animal bodies - the cost of the wasted crops was $20,000,000,000

    Between 1950 & 1985 grain production in Europe & the USA increased massively but 2/3 was fed to animals

    70% of all grain is fed to animals

    Eating vast quantities of animal flesh, eggs, milk & butter is a luxury that most of the planet can not afford

    ANIMALS

    Fishing with drift (and other modern) nets weakens & destroys ecosystems by indiscriminately killing billions of sea creatures & disrupting the sea bed

    Fishermen's nets kill 10 times as many other animals as the fish they are hoping to catch

    Fish caught in nets die an agonising slow death of suffocation

    Each year 15,000,000,000 land animals are slaughtered for food & an unknown but much larger number of sea creatures (including 1000's of dolphins caught accidentally)

    Chickens are crammed into battery cages with upto 3 other birds, they are unable to even spread their wings & many can not even stand up

    Unwanted male chicks (because they can't lay eggs) are gassed or pulped while their sisters go to the battery sheds

    Chicks are debeaked without anaesthetic to prevent them injuring each other in the unnaturally confined conditions they are kept in - this is equivalent to having your fingernails pulled out without anaesthetic

    Modern farming methods using growth hormones & artificial lighting mean that many chickens out grow their bones, resulting in fractured & broken legs

    Sows are kept tethered in stalls 1.3 x 1 metre on concrete or slatted floors - they can not even turn around

    Poultry raised for meat are kept in windowless broiler sheds, with around 20-30,000 in each shed, they live in an area of 10-20 cm square - fighting due to overcrowding is common & like battery hens they commonly suffer from supperating bed sores

    Broilersheds are artificially lit 23 hours a day to produce rapid growth

    Animals travel between farms & to slaughter in overcrowded transporters with no food or water - resulting in stress, injuries & deaths - legal requirements are widely ignored

    95% of poultry suffer injuries before being killed & 30% suffer broken bones

    Problems with stunning practices mean that many animals have their throats slit while still conscious (around 6% of cattle or 200,000 per year) & are then dipped in tanks of scalding water (to loosen feathers, bristles etc.) again while fully conscious

    4000 animals die spurting their blood out every minute in a British slaughterhouse

    Calf leather comes from animals killed at just 2 weeks old

    Cows were fed on the ground up remains of other cows & sheep - the result is thought to be BSE (mad cow disease) in the USA cattle are fed partly on recycled plastic pellets

    Cows only give milk for 10 months after they have a calf - so they are routinely artificially inseminated (ie. mechanically raped) to keep them pregnant & milking - their calves are taken away (usually at 12 hours old) for meat or export to veal crates

    Cows would naturally live upto 20 years but are slaughtered after 5-7 years when their milk production begins to fall

    In the UK animals are killed by first being stunned with electricity or a captive bolt gun (ie. a bolt is fired into their heads) before having their throats slit & being plunged into boiling water - all this happens on a production line with the animals being hung upside down from a moving conveyor belt - this is factory farming

    "Animals are those unfortunate slaves & victims of the most brutal part of mankind" - John Stewart Mill (philosopher)

    Veal calves are confined in stalls in the dark, unable to move & are fed on pigs blood , chocolate & dried milk (we are drinking the rich fresh milk of their mothers)

    Cows naturally produce 5 litres of milk per day for their calves - under the intensified systems of modern farming they produce 25-40 litres per day - resulting in swollen & inflamed udders - at this rate they are soon worn out

    Large areas of land are under monoculture to grow crops to feed to animals - these areas are wildlife deserts supporting fewer & fewer species.

    HEALTH

    Vegetarians have a 20% lower rate of mortality from all causes (ie. they live longer & don't get sick as often)

    Meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones, toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten

    Fish contain heavy metals & other pollutants -many of which originated on farms

    The world health organisation recommends a diet low in saturated fat, sugar, salt & with plenty of fibre - exactly what you get on a vegan/vegetarian diet

    Farmed animals contain upto 50% saturated fat in their bodies

    Vegetarians have 24% reduced risk of getting heart disease & Vegans a 57% reduction (heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK accounting for 50% of deaths)

    Obesity is rare in vegetarians, obesity is related to many diseases

    Vegans & vegetarians have lower blood pressure & cholesterol levels - high levels are associated with heart disease, strokes & kidney failure

    Vegetarians have a 50% reduced risk of dying of diabetes

    Vegetarians have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A, C & E

    Vegetarians have a reduced risk of developing gall & kidney stones

    80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat (faeces, bacteria etc.) after all meat is decomposing flesh - most of the rest is due to salmonella in eggs

    Osteoporosis due to calcium loss from bones is mainly due to the sulfur content in meat & casein protein in milk that cause calcium to be lost in the urine - the countries with the highest meat & dairy consumption are those with the highest levels of brittle bones

    50% of people do not have the enzyme to digest milk properly & milk allergy is related to asthma & eczema

    Meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimer's disease as Vegans & Vegetarians - some people also think that Parkinson's disease is also linked to meat eating

    Egg yolk is a dense concentration of saturated fat & the white is high in albumin protein associated with leaching calcium into your urine. Butter is 80% saturated fat, cream is 40% saturated fat & cheese is 25-40% saturated fat

    Meat eaters are two and a half times more likely to get bowel cancer than Vegetarians

    The cling film used to wrap meat in supermarkets & butchers contains chemicals linked to falling sperm counts in men

    Chinese people (living mainly on a vegetarian diet) consume 20% more calories than Americans but Americans are 20% fatter

    Of 2,100,000 deaths in the USA in 1987, 1,500,000 were related to diet (ie. meat & dairy)