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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

World Vegetarian Day

....October 1st kicks off World Vegetarian Day, which in turn kicks off Vegetarian awareness month.

As many of you know, David and I are vegetarian, vegan in essence, but not strict - so sometimes we end up consuming a little dairy or eggs that may be contained in something else.

We have chosen this diet for many reasons, mostly - because our personal palettes never quite agreed with the taste of meats. We also do it for ethical, environmental, and health reasons.

I'm sure that most people are aware of the health benefits of becoming vegetarian, but many are not aware of the environmental impact that industrialized meat has on our planet.

Here's a brief listing I picked up while in Seattle last year explaining a few key points of the effects of industrialized livestock on our Earth:


Last year the United Nations and the FOA stated that livestock contribute more to greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world. There are now 20 billion livestock on earth – more than triple the number of human beings!

The world is heading towards a drinking water shortage. It takes 130 gallons of water to produce 2 pounds of potatoes, 520 gallons for 2 pounds of rice, but 26,000 gallons for 2 pounds of beef. Livestock consume 80% of the world’s water supply.

60 million people die of starvation each year. It takes 26-35 pounds of grain to produce 2 pounds of meat or milk. Livestock consumes 40% of the total grain grown worldwide. A vegan needs ½ acre of land for sustenance; a non-vegetarian needs 30 times this amount of land! Starvation can literally be wiped out by wiping meat and dairy off our diets.

Our diminishing forests are seriously threatened by grazing animals. Large numbers of wild animals are killed each year to protect or make room for grazing animals in our food chain. 260 million acres of virgin forest in the world have been cleared for cropland to support a meat centered diet.

Meat is energy intensive. The world’s petroleum reserves would last for only 13 years if all humans were meat eaters, but 260 years if all humans were vegetarian.

Animal husbandry and slaughter result in air, water, and land pollution. The total increase in the number of animals killed for food in the world each year exceeds the total human population.

Death is never a pleasant affair, least of all for the animals killed. 56 billion land animals are killed each year to appease our appetites! (This does not include aquatic animals)They suffer claustrophobic confinement, terrible transport without food, water, or rest, to meet their final bloody end in the slaughterhouse.

We are descendants of primates that are primarily fruitarian, and our anatomy is similar to theirs. There is ample evidence to show that a balanced, non-refined vegan diet is the best for our health.

Whether it is to improve our health, end starvation, save wildlife, conserve water or energy or reduce pollution or to reduce animals’ suffering, perhaps the greatest impact an individual can have is to reduce or stop animal products in their diet.


We are not opposed to eating meat, its just that we choose not to do it ourselves. In toady's market, we prefer not to support an industry that has, for the most part, blinded itself to the cruelty that is inherent. Factory farmed animals come from an industry that has put more value on profit than life itself, or the respect of life.

So, if you choose to keep meat as a part of your diet, there are several good options that we hope people would take advantage of. Store bought, organic being one of them. Free-range if you can. There are options that do take a little more effort, and maybe cost a little more, but can end up being better for your family, better for your conscience, better for the animal, and better for your taste buds. Buying an animal at auction from a family farm and having it slaughtered is one. Seriously. You just need a bigger freezer.

Either way, meat or not - all of our actions have an impact.

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

Here are a few links, one of which is a book I HIGHLY recommend by Jane Goodall.

I haven't got enough good things to say about her topic or her approach. Both are wonderful, informative, and inspiring. She's not trying to convince anyone NOT to eat meat, just trying to provide honest coverage of the subject - the book is much more broad in subject matter though- covering our food supply as a whole, meat is only one tiny portion. Please read the book - it can likely be found at your local library, and I have a copy I can lend out if you'd like. 'Harvest For Hope'

A series of animated shorts, entitled 'The Meatrix':

Animated Short - A little more propaganda-y but not off the mark. 'Backwards Hamburger':

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