Vegetarians are people who choose what they consider better eating habits by eating more fruits and vegetables and avoiding meat products for several reasons. A main one is concern about unsafe, unhealthy meat products loaded with hormones, feces, antibiotics, and bacteria like salmonella.
Read John Robbins’ book May All Be Fed in which he “exposes the commercial and political forces that cause the affluent to suffer from heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and other diet-related diseases, and also cause the poor to be deprived of a basic human right — ample, wholesome food.” He writes that even 60 of 84 poultry inspectors he interviewed for the book said they no longer eat chicken because of contamination levels.
Vegetarians have found that not eating meat creates a healthier, leaner body and avoids many common diseases. Carb-cutters, carb-loaders, and intermittent fasters all benefit from clean eating as much fresh produce as possible. This provides vitamins and nutrients and soluble fiber to get the most nutrition out of everything eaten. Since the average adult needs 60 to 80 grams of protein daily, about three servings for muscle mass and to prevent disease and infections, vegetarians get this in legumes like beans, peanuts and peas, and eggs and cheese.
Many animal lovers become vegetarians because of their concern for animal rights and their disgust with factory farms where animals suffer in horrendous conditions. An estimated “9 billion broiler chickens, 113 million pigs, 33 million cows and 250 million turkeys are raised for our consumption in dark, filthy, pestilent barns” each year. One of the animal rights activists who infiltrated meat factory farms for Rolling Stone’s In the Belly of the Beast said of a hen farm, “chicken shit is piled six feet high, and your lungs burn like you took a torch to ’em.” Having driven by large livestock corrals in Texas of cattle standing deep in their own filth, the acidic nitrogen in the air is so strong there it burns your eyes and you cannot hold your breath long enough to pass through it. Imagine the pain to the animals held in those pens. Read about the 10,000 pigs crammed in Wyoming barns with 3 feet of dung, crying in pain with broken legs, bloodied and unable to turn or lie down. Could you really enjoy your bacon and ham if you saw this for yourself?
There is much concern about the use of excessive natural resources in raising the increasing number of livestock which destroys rain forests, topsoil, and water supplies, and pollutes the air. 26 percent of the Earth’s total land mass is used to graze animals. 528 million U.S. land acres are devoted to animal production. 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states have waterways polluted with farm animal excrement. One livestock farm can emit 5 million pounds of ammonia each year and airborne ammonia gas can travel 300 miles from animal waste before polluting soil and killing fish. 500 million tons of factory-farm animal waste is created in the U.S. yearly. About 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared for crop, pasture and rangeland for the meat-centered diet, resulting in over-grazing and soils too acidic with ammonia to grow crops. Every year 32 million acres of tropical rainforest, about the area of England, is lost to grazing and cropland which is a large part of global warming.
The earth can not support a world full of people on meat-centered diets as it could on plant-centered diets. At least a third of the world’s population today is either dying from starvation or enduring chronic hunger. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, one in nine, suffered chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014. Enough grain is grown to feed two times the number of people in the entire world, but 70 percent of it is fed to livestock. This wastes 90 percent of its protein and 96 percent of its calories. The grain amount it takes to feed 100 cows could feed 1,000 people. “The feed cost of an 8-ounce steak will fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains.”
Vegetarianism dates back to 600 B.C. with Pythagorean societies where Plato, Plutarch, and Porphyry promoted the vegetarian diet as ideal. They noted the human body is not designed for meat eating with its long, twisted intestines where meat remains much longer than fruits and vegetables and begins decaying inside the body. Proportionately smaller kidneys and livers than carnivores, and lack of beaks, claws, and sharp pointed teeth for flesh tearing are further proof. Plato warned eating meat would require more doctors and more territory to support the increased food requirement, and would result in wars to acquire and defend such territories.
The bottom line is it takes roughly 10 times more land to feed a meat-eater than a vegetarian. There are not enough world resources for everyone to eat meat the way Americans do which means Americans are taking more than their fair share of the earth’s resources. A Vegetarian Research Group survey found 23 million Americans follow a “vegetarian-inclined diet”; 7.3 million do full-time veggies. It is a step in the right direction, but not big enough to end the world burden of meat-centered diets.