More than the emissions from the cars on the planet combined, greenhouse gases from raising cows on conventional farms, is polluting our planet at a faster rate than any other time in history — and the impact is on a global scale.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.
How the meat you eat is killing wildlife
You may have heard about Washington state’s recent decision to kill an entire pack of wolves –10% of the entire wolf population in the state — from Profanity Peak in order to appease a welfare-rancher on public lands whose calves have been killed. But did you know that wolves are not the only animals killed to protect livestock?
In 2014 alone, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services shot, poisoned, snared or trapped 4 million animals including 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, and 419 black bears at the behest of ranchers.
In March of 2016, Yellowstone National Park began shipping its famous wild bison to slaughter in response to concerns by the livestock industry over a disease that is carried by the bison, which has never actually been transferred to cattle. This irrational fear is not just isolated to the United States either.
Since 2013 in the United Kingdom, thousands of badgers have been inhumanely killed in order to protect livestock from potentially contracting Tuberculosis (TB) from the small animal. According to The Independent, “None of the badgers killed have been tested for TB and the vast majority (over 85 per cent) are likely to be TB-free.
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How you can save the world, and your health, by not eating meat
What do Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Gandhi, Paul McCartney, Charles Darwin and Betty White all have in common? This inspirational crowd has all embraced a plant-based diet, but why?
In addition to weight loss, improved heart health and some extra pocket change, embracing a vegetarian lifestyle has major environmental benefits and supports animal rights. There are also many physical benefits to cutting out meat completely.
By eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables, the world could avoid several million deaths per year by 2050, as Medical Daily reported. Individuals who choose plant-based diets often experience a decrease in blood cholesterol levels, which, according to studies, could drop by up to 35 percent. Additionally, animal-free nourishment is naturally anti-inflammatory — it’s generally high in fiber, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, according to Forks Over Knives.
A lifetime of illness associated with eating animal protein
New research shows that Type 2 diabetes goes hand-in-hand with consuming a lot of animal protein, especially red and processed meat. Astonishingly, omnivores who eat meat once a week or more over a 17-year period have a 74 percent higher risk of diabetes. Overall, omnivores have double the rate of diabetes compared with vegans, even accounting for differences in body weight.
A common misconception about vegetarianism is that it leads to protein deficiency, but there are actually many tasty alternatives to protein — like tofu, beans, lentils and nuts, all have a very good source of protein and fiber too boot.
Not eating meat won’t leave you hungry, either. There are a slew of snacks available for satisfaction and smart eating.
“Recent studies show that even though nuts are high in calories, eating them does not lead to weight gain,” Sass said.
When it comes to climate change, adopting vegetarian diets would cut food-related emissions by 63 percent, and vegan diets would cut them by 70 percent.
Ending a life-long relationship with meat can be a difficult move to make. If you’re not ready to commit completely, try going meatless just one or two times per week and see how you not only feel physically, but how you mentally feel knowing you’re doing your part to save animals and the planet.
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Sources for this article:
- Vegetarian Diet Benefits: What Happens When You Quit Eating Meat?
- Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts
- Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets
- Meat-eaters may speed worldwide species extinction, study warns
- Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret