Live longer, lower your weight, slash pollution and twelve other good
reasons to start cutting meat out of your diet.
People are drawn to vegetarianism by all sorts of motives. Some of us
want to live longer, healthier lives or do our part to reduce
pollution. Others have made the switch because we want to preserve
Earth's natural resources or because we've always loved animals and
are ethically opposed to eating them.
Thanks to an abundance of scientific research that demonstrates the
health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, even the
federal government recommends that we consume most of our calories
from grain products, vegetables and fruits. And no wonder: An
estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all
cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for
chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery
disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer
including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophageal
9. You'll help reduce pollution. Some people become vegetarians after
realizing the devastation that the meat industry is having on the
environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is
responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and
streams. Runoff from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water
quality today. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include
confined animal facilities, plowing, pesticide spraying, irrigation,
fertilizing and harvesting.
11. You'll help reduce famine. About 70 percent of all grain produced
in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. The 7
billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as
much grain as is consumed directly by the American population. "If all
the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people,
the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million,"
says David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University. If
the grain were exported, it would boost the US trade balance by $80
billion a year.
12. You'll spare animals. Many vegetarians give up meat because of
their concern for animals. Ten billion animals are slaughtered for
human consumption each year. And, unlike the farms of yesteryear where
animals roamed freely, today most animals are factory farmed --
crammed into cages where they can barely move and fed a diet tainted
with pesticides and antibiotics. These animals spend their entire
lives in crates or stalls so small that they can't even turn around.
Farmed animals are not protected from cruelty under the law -- in
fact, the majority of state anticruelty laws specifically exempt farm
animals from basic humane protection.