Sir Paul McCartney answers this question as follows:
"If any one wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you could do. It's staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot : ecology, famine , cruelty."
The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization issued a stunning report on global warming in Nov. 2006. Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. In total, it is responsible for 18 percent of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
Livestock production is at the heart of almost every environmental catastrophe confronting the planet - rain forest destruction, spreading deserts, loss of fresh water, air and water pollution, acid rain and soil erosion.
The less we eat meat , the less livestock /animals we need to farm and feed. A meat based diet requires 7 times more land than a plant based diet. Meat production requires 10 to 20 times more energy per edible tonne than grain production.
It takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons. A totally vegetarian diet requires only 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.
It just makes so much common sense therefore to be a vegetarian.
Contrary to popular belief, fish is not a health food. Fish flesh contains toxins from the water that fish live in, and those toxins get passed on to people who eat fish. Fish raised on farms are given antibiotics, which are also passed on to consumers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 325,000 people in the U.S. get sick or die every year from eating contaminated fish and other sea animals. Even if you could be sure that the fish you eat were free of chemicals, the flesh of some sea animals, especially shrimps and scallops, contains even more cholesterol than beef!
As an alternative, you can enjoy seaweeds (such as nori and dulse), and flax oil is an excellent source of omega-3.
From a moral standpoint, actions that harm others are not matters of personal choice. Murder, child abuse, and cruelty to animals are all immoral. Our society now encourages meat eating and the cruelties of factory farming, but history teaches us that society also once encouraged slavery, child labor, smoking and many other practices, which are now universally recognized as wrong.
Meat eating is an act of violence and adds directly to world's hunger and misery. It takes 16 lb. (7.26 kg) of grain to produce 1 lb. (0.45 kg) of beef. Thus, if consumed as grain, it could have alleviated the hunger of another six persons and saved the lives of innocent animals. In short, more food would be available to feed the world if most of us switch to a vegetarian diet. While many millions die of hunger annually and many more suffer malnutrition, world-wide one third of all grain is fed to animals being raised for slaughter. In the USA alone, this proportion is over 66%. Converting grains to meat, wastes about 90% of grains' proteins, 96% of their calories and 100% of carbohydrates and fiber. This is unnecessary and unethical. Awareness about world hunger, pollution, concern for environment and human welfare does not let meat eating remain a truly personal matter.
All of us are created with a special purpose and have a special place in the Universe. Physiologically, humans have similar characteristics as that of non-meat eating animals, such as monkey, cow, horse, camel, sheep, goat, deer, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros etc. Human anatomy or body structure strongly resembles that of plant eating creatures. (See the article Humans are Natural Vegetarians).
Most of the animals who kill for food could not survive if they didn't. As humans we do not have the same instinct to kill and eat. Do we get the same pleasure when we enter into a butcher shop vis-A-vis going to a strawberry farm? Man's instinct is to care for the animals, not to kill them for food.
Humans do, too, but that doesn't give us the right to kill animals or to cause them a lifetime of suffering.
It's unrealistic to expect that everyone will stop eating meat overnight. As demand for meat decreases, the number of animals bred will decrease too. Farmers will stop breeding so many animals and will turn towards real plant based farming. More grain production will lead to overall human welfare and gradual reduction in world hunger and poverty.
Life on factory farms is so miserable that it is hard to see how we are doing the animals a favor by bringing them into this type of existence, confining them, tormenting them, and then slaughtering them.
Yes. We feed so much grain to animals in order to fatten them up for consumption that if we all became vegetarians, we could produce enough food to feed the entire world. In the U.S., animals are fed more than 80 percent of the corn grown and more than 95 percent of the oats. The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth. As noted in question no. 1 above, if one third of all grain currently fed to factory animals is freed up, humans world-wide will have lot more food to eat. Also this will significantly promote the real plant based agriculture instead of factory farming of animals.
In the West, our problem is that we get too much protein, not too little. Most Americans get about seven times as much protein as they need. You can get enough protein from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, or broccoli—almost every food contains protein. Unless you eat a great deal of junk food, it's almost impossible to eat as many calories as we need for good health without getting enough protein. By contrast, too much protein is the major cause of osteoporosis and contributes to kidney failure and other diseases of affluence. Since plant foods contain the essential amino-acids (protein) in varying amounts, vegetarians need to eat a variety of plant foods but the good news is that these foods are inexpensive and easily available.
Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Dietetic Association have endorsed vegetarian diets. Studies have also shown that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters and that meat-eaters are almost twice as likely to die of heart disease, 60 percent more likely to die of cancer, and 30 percent more likely to die of other diseases. Consumption of meat, fish and eggs has been conclusively linked with diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, clogged arteries, obesity, asthma, and impotence.
Government of British Columbia online health guide for BC residents answers this question as follows: Vegetarian diets are healthy and can provide all the nutrients a person needs if they are properly planned. As a group, vegetarians are less likely to:
• Die because of coronary artery disease (CAD).
• Develop high blood pressure (hypertension).
• Develop lung and colorectal cancer and, possibly, breast cancer.
• Develop type 2 diabetes.
• Be overweight.
Besides, there is tremendous body of evidence to suggest that vegetarian diets overall is much healthier than meat based diets. The catastrophic proportion of obesity and overweight problems in USA which is home to most of world’s multinational fast food meat based restaurants does prove that such food are unfit for long term human health. Recent calls for more fruits and vegetables in American and Canadian diets further prove that vegetarian diets are the answers for problems such as overweight, obesity, stroke and many, many more.
Though plant foods are loaded with most essential nutrients, vegetarians do need to take some extra precaution to make sure that their diet includes a variety of plant foods. Lack of such variety may result in deficiency of vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium and Zinc. Vegetarians can easily fix these possible deficiencies by including certain functional foods and taking certain inexpensive supplements. In any case however, these potential deficiencies do not justify consumption of meat, fish and eggs simply because of the following reasons:
• It is not difficult to include a variety of plant foods in diet to avoid certain potential deficiencies.
• The potential deficiencies can be fixed easily through supplements.
Meat consumption at current levels cannot be justified only to avoid some deficiencies since such consumption adds tremendous long-term complications on human health and results in large-scale violence against innocent animals. Even if it is proved that certain nutrients are found only in meat, humans have no right killing animals for their food and health since they should try to find an amicable and rightful solution to their small problems. For example, we know that 40% of average Canadians earn less $25,000 annually but let's say they need $26,000 to live comfortably. Will this shortfall allow them to steal or commit fraud at work just because they need extra income? Don't we preach that we need to live and manage within our means or try to increase our incomes through rightful means? Why is the same principle not followed for some minor deficiencies in plant foods? Medical science is sufficiently advanced now to solve the minor problems caused if any due to vegetarian diets. Is it not better to live with minor problems and try to solve them rightfully rather than facing obesity, overweight and increased risk of diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, clogged arteries, asthma, impotence and many more?
Actually, human bodies are better suited for a vegetarian diet. Carnivorous animals have long, curved fangs, claws, and a short digestive tract. Humans have flat, flexible nails and our so-called "canine" teeth are minuscule compared to those of carnivores, and even compared to vegetarian primates like gorillas and orangutans. Our tiny canine teeth are better suited to biting into fruits than tearing through tough hides. We have flat molars and a long digestive tract suited to a diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Eating meat is hazardous to our health; it contributes to heart disease, cancer, and many other health problems.
There are healthy and unhealthy vegetarians. But doctors agree that vegetarians who eat a varied, low-fat diet stand a much better chance of living longer, healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.
No, but you hired the killer. Whenever you purchase meat or fish, which means that the killing was done for you and you paid for it.
The answer is who gave humans the right to kill animals raised by them? Can a mother kill a little child just because she raised the child? We all have a right to produce but none has a right to kill other creatures deliberately for self-interest and that too for food and taste only. Better alternatives are available for human food and meat cannot be claimed as a necessity for human health.
Vegetarians are not against animal products but violence against innocent animals. It is possible to produce milk without harming the animal. Unlike meat, chicken or fish, the animal is not killed during or after milking. There is nothing wrong in human use of animals to the extent violence is not caused. The Creator has created animals for human benefit but with the responsibility on humans to look after and protect them. Milk is a good example of how a wonderful relationship can be created between humans and animals which in fact works both ways. Besides, milk is known to be rich in Calcium and other nutrients. We see nothing ethically wrong in consuming milk and milk products provided milk is produced humanely.
I don't know. Humans will go to extremes to save their own lives, even if it means hurting someone innocent. (People have even killed and eaten other people in such situations.) This example, however, isn't relevant to our daily choices. For most of us, there is no emergency and no excuse to kill animals for food.
The eggs we buy in the supermarket are sterile and not unborn fetuses." This is true, but the real cruelty of egg production lies in the treatment of the "laying hens" themselves, who are perhaps the most abused of all factory-farmed animals. Each egg from today’s factory farms represents 22 hours of misery for a hen packed in a cage the size of a filing cabinet drawer with up to five other chickens. Cages are stacked many tiers high, and feces from cages above fall onto the chickens below. Hens become lame and develop osteoporosis from forced immobility and calcium lost to produce egg shells. Some birds’ feet grow around the wire cage floors; they starve to death because they are unable to reach the food trough. At just two years old, most hens are "spent" and they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Egg-laying hatcheries don’t have any use for male chicks; they are killed by suffocation, decapitation, crushing, or are ground up alive.
Fish consumption is as unethical as red meat. Fishing involves killing the fish for no valid reason. Fish is an extremely concentrated source of protein, cholesterol, and heavy metals. The smaller the fish, the more likely you are to eat the intestines and fecal material along with the animal. The bigger fish eat the smaller fish and accumulate all the metals. Fish particularly oily fish can concentrate toxins in their flesh. The heavy metal mercury is a grave concern and its presence makes fish unsuitable for human consumption. Salmon both farmed and to a lesser extent caught wild can contain worrisome levels of PCBs. Freshwater anglers are advised that their catch can contain various toxins, depending on the waters they come from. Species from polluted waters are another concern and it’s difficult to ensure or know the extent of water pollution. Children and pregnant or nursing women should particularly be careful against fish contamination. Health Canada warns against consuming fresh Tuna more than once a month. There is just nothing worth getting from fish, unless you have no other source of calories. Overall, eating fish is unnecessary and not worth taking all the risk besides being a result of violence against innocent animal.
It's true that most meat eaters think like that because they are grown up eating these items only and are in fact addicted to meat and meat based foods. Most meat eaters are unaware that enormous number of plant based excellent foods are available for human consumption. However, its profitable for the multinational food chains to serve us meat and animal based factory produced junk foods that are easy to produce, serve and market. Our advise to those who still can not understand this conspiracy against human health is as follows:
• Reduce your portion sizes down to earth. Health Canada considers 100 gm of meat a serving or less as appropriate. Make sure that you do not exceed the Health Canada advice. When you order a hamburger or rib-eye steak, the steakhouses serve you portions large enough to fulfill your red meat rations for a couple of months.4 Even a 75 % reduction in portion sizes for meat and fish could be a good start.
• If you think you are too accustomed to meat and fish, please do not make your children addicted to these items. Allow them to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and other excellent plant foods. Let them decide when they grow up whether they need meat based food or not. This is similar to what you do for smoking. You try to prevent your kids from smoking so why not from meat and fish addiction?
PAVF believes that such killings if done humanely and to the extent there is no other alternative may not be unethical. Medicinal and medical use of animals could benefit the entire mankind but should be done for these limited purposes only.
At PAVF our mandate is to promote better and healthy foods. We are equally against excessive consumption of salt, sugar, sodium, Potato chips, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and other fatty foods.
Raw foods meaning fresh fruits and vegetables including salads, juices and smoothies made from dark leafy greens are an important source of nutrients and therefore must be part of every Vegetarian meal.
We however do not endorse those who advocate 100 % raw food as the only source of human diet. Excluding all form of cooking and all cooked foods altogether does not make any reasonable sense. 100 % raw food life style is very expensive, time consuming, unhealthy, and unnecessary.
All 3 food requirements- Nutrition, Energy and Taste must be so balanced that we exclude few unwanted / unhealthy items only, do not have to spend a lot money on our food and still be able to enjoy a large varieties of Vegetarian cuisines both cooked and uncooked. A 100% raw diet does not meet the test of energy and taste requirements. Regarding Nutrition also, many researchers have found that a raw diet may cause deficiencies in Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, Zinc, and B12 along with low bone density and body fat so low that women either had very light menstrual periods or none at all. In our view therefore a 100 % raw diet could be suitable for the super rich but certainly not for the masses.
PAVF supports PETA and appreciates the good work done by it to promote Vegetarian life style and concern for environment and animal issues. However, we do not endorse all that PETA does including its stand against Milk consumption, its use of provocative nude models and its focus and branding as an animal rights movement. Lets talk on each of these 3 issues.
1. PAVF supports milk consumption and humane milk production and the dairy industry. By not doing so, PETA has not been able to attract main stream population who firmly believes that milk production does not cause any violence. It is simply impossible to exclude all dairy from human diet as a general rule and insisting on it had made PETA’s other good objectives unattainable.
2. PETA’s use of provocative advertising and nude models may catch some headlines but won’t win too many hearts and minds of average people. Nudity is good privately not publicly. PETA itself must be ethical first before asking ethical treatment of animals. Public display of Nudity all the time is not good ethics for a large section of the society and for the kids who must be made part of any social change since they are our future.
3. PETA must focus more on human rights to have good healthy violence free foods rather than branding itself as an animal rights group. Anyone focusing too much on animal rights will have limited effect.