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3 Reasons to Reduce Your Meat Consumption That Benefit Humans, Not Animals

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In recent years more and more of the United States population have been adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. However, according to Forbes the U.S. is also the second most eat-meating country in the world. Many who choose “veg” lifestyles do so to fight animal cruelty, or to maintain a healthier diet. In fact, a British study cited by Choose Veg shows that eating vegetarian can reduce your risk of heart disease by over 30%. However, although many people understand why animal-lovers adopt these lifestyles, few realize the impact that a meat-heavy diet has on mankind. Here are three crucial reasons why every human should be embarking on Meatless Mondays.

It Helps the Economy

A recent article from The Atlantic called attention to a study found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that analyzed the economic effect of various dietary choices. You can read the article in its entirety here, but we will explain the gist. The study demonstrated the vast costs to our country for maintaining so many meat-heavy diets. The reason that meat-heavy diets cost the U.S. so much is three-fold. First, meat-heavy diets have extremely detrimental effects on our environment (explained in the next section), and thus it costs a lot of money to try to counteract these effects on the environment. Secondly, meat-heavy diets are correlated with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and many other health issues which lead to increased health care costs. Finally, producing energy and protein from animal products vs. plant-based products is far more costly. In fact, the study estimates that it will cost the U.S. $1.6 trillion by 2050 if current meat-heavy diets continue in our country, whereas if everyone switched to more balanced reduced-meat diets, it would save the U.S. $191.7  billion (even more for those who become vegetarian and vegan). Even vaster economic savings would occur worldwide if other countries increased their plant-based eating, but the U.S. would benefit more than others due to its greater-than-average meat consumption. Other studies have also shown side benefits from less meat consumption in the U.S., like reduced costs for corn production.

It Helps the Environment

Ever wonder what meat production does to our environment? The Guardian has a great article that discusses these many impacts. In the U.S. most of our animals are bred simply to be killed and eaten. Having such a vast number of these animals on earth results in increased greenhouse gases and methane. In fact, emissions from meat-centered farming exceeds the amount of emissions resulting from all forms of transportation combined. Such methane and greenhouse gases come from animals farting, their manure, and the destruction of their carcasses (among other factors). Farming animals also uses a great amount of the planet’s oil, and factors such as fertilizer contribute to pollution. You may think that these issues will result from any type of farming (including that of plant production). However, the environmental impact is far greater for animal farming because farmers must produce grain which is fed to the animals, which we then eat. Thus, factors like fertilizer impact the environment for years as the animal is raised, and as grain is produced for the animals. Producing soy protein uses 8% as much fossil fuels and 7% as much water as producing the same amount of protein from animal products.  Meat production leads to increased deforestation (even much of the rainforest has been destroyed for pasture), use of water (that animals drink over their life), air and water pollution (from polluting gasses and animal waste), flooding (from overgrazing), and soil erosion. In fact, eating a vegan diet actually results in a reduction of carbon emissions twice as large as that from driving a Prius.

It Reduces the Extreme Amount of Resources Used by First World Countries

World poverty is always a critical issue to keep in consideration, especially with increased population growth on the planet. Meat production uses far more resources than plant-based food production. Why? Because in order to consume animals, we must first produce plants and grains to feed these animals, which we then eat. In fact, 70% of the grain produced in the United States is used to feed animals, not humans. Additionally, 30% of the world’s land is used for farming animals just for meat consumption. This does not include farmlands for grain or plants. Thus, the way in which we currently eat in most first world countries uses an imbalance of precious resources that far surpasses what we need to use. Another article from The Guardian explains the need to manage our resources better. Due to the massive increase in world population over the years, we have minimum resources that must be used wisely to feed everyone on planet Earth. We cannot simply increase food production to handle population growth, we must be aware of the way we are using the resources that we have, and the truth of the matter is we could feed far more people if we used some of that grain for feeding people directly instead of feeding cattle which are later eaten. You can read this entire article by following this link.

To learn more about how to incorporate vegetarian meals into your diet, check out ChooseVeg.com.

"Get Ready to Save the World." ChooseVeg.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
Lusk, Jayson L., and Bailey F. Norwood. "Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism." Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 38.2 (2009): 109-24. Web.

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