Reasons for being a vegetarian

Vegetarianism has become fashionable (for some very strange reasons). The following list was compiled in 2008 but is just as valid now as it was then.

  1. Avoiding meat is one of the best and simplest ways to cut down fat consumption. Modern farm animals are deliberately fattened up to increase profits. Eating fatty meat increases your chances of having a heart attack or developing cancer. The following diseases are known to be commoner among meat eaters: anaemia, appendicitis, arthritis, breast cancer, cancer of the colon, cancer of the prostate, constipation, diabetes, gallstones, gout, high blood pressure, indigestion, obesity, piles, strokes and varicose veins. Lifelong vegetarians visit hospital 22% less often than meat eaters – and for shorter stays. Vegetarians have 20% lower blood cholesterol levels than meat eaters – and this reduces heart attack and cancer risks considerably.
  2. Every minute of every working day thousands of animals are killed in slaughterhouses. Many animals are bled to death. Pain and misery are commonplace. In America alone 500,000 animals are killed for meat every hour.
  3. The vast majority of cases of food poisoning are caused by eating meat.
  4. Meat contains absolutely nothing – no proteins, vitamins or minerals – that the human body cannot obtain perfectly happily from a vegetarian diet.
  5. African countries – where millions are starving to death - export grain to the developed world so that animals can be fattened for the dining tables of the affluent nations. This problem is getting worse now that agricultural land is widely used for growing crops to be used as a petrol and diesel substitute. If we ate the plants we grow – instead of feeding them to animals – the world's food shortage would disappear virtually overnight. One hundred acres of land will produce enough beef for 20 people but enough wheat to feed 240 people.
  6. Food sold as ‘meat' can include the tail, head, feet, rectum and spinal cord of an animal. A sausage may contain ground up intestines. Who wants to eat the content of a pig's intestines?
  7. Animals which are a year old are often far more rational – and capable of logical thought - than six week old babies. Pigs and sheep are far more intelligent than small children.
  8. It's much easier to become – and stay – healthily slim if you are vegetarian. Vegetarians are fitter than meat eaters. Many of the world's most successful athletes are vegetarian.
  9. Half the rainforests in the world have been destroyed to clear ground to graze cattle to make beefburgers. The burning of the forests contributes 20% of all greenhouse gases. Roughly 1,000 species a year become extinct because of the destruction of the rain forests. Around 300 million acres of American forest have been cleared to grow crops to feed cattle so that people can eat meat.
  10. Approximately 60 million people a year die of starvation. All those lives could be saved if the starving people were allowed to eat just some of the grain used to fatten cattle and other farm animals. If Americans ate 10% less meat, world starvation would be a memory.
  11. The world's fresh water shortage is being made worse by animal farming. And meat producers are the biggest polluters of water. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.
  12. Meat eaters consume hormones that were fed to the animals. No one knows what effect those hormones will have on human health. In some parts of the world as many as one in four hamburgers contains growth hormones that were originally given to cattle. Some farmers use tranquillisers to keep animals calm. Others routinely use antibiotics to stave off infection. When you eat meat you are eating those drugs. The indiscriminate feeding of antibiotics to animals is one of the main reasons for the rise in antibiotic resistant infections.

Taken from The Wisdom of Animals by Donna Antoinette Coleman and Vernon Coleman. Available as a paperback and an eBook.