I’m not just vegetarian because of concerns about animal welfare
I do it for the future of the human race
There is, still, a stigma attached to vegetarianism. We are labelled as animal cuddling, paint throwing, slaughter condemning nut bags. But when you look at the statistics behind the meat industry you begin to see a different side to the story. You begin to see that if the human race is going to evolve to the next step, and stop destroying the planet, we need to stop eating meat.
I’ll confess to being a tree hugger, but that’s because I don’t like long journeys and Mars seems a bit too far away if we have to resettle. So here are the other reasons how vegetarianism benefits you, and everybody around you.
Global drop in healthcare costs
Eating less meat, or turning fully vegetarian or vegan, could result in a reduction of global healthcare costs of up to £68million per year by 2050. Whilst we’re yelling about poverty and how expensive the health care system is, look how much we could save just by simple changes in our diet. In order to reach this goal we would have to reduce our meat consumption by 50 per cent – so you could just avoid meat during the first few days of the week or over the weekend. That stat speaks for itself really – and you can still have steak on Saturday.
Converting to wind and solar power will cost £29 trillion
On the other hand, despite our attempts to combat the melting icecaps and rising emissions through the reduction of fossil fuels and sustainable power sources, it’s not enough, takes far too long, and look at how expensive it is – especially in comparison to eating a meat-free-chilli or a lentil soup instead.
Reduction of greenhouse gases
You know that thing everyone has been talking about for the last couple decades? That thing that is destroying the O-zone, resulting in widespread skin damage, global warming, and all the subsequent results? It’s estimated that 51 per cent of green house gases are attributed to “livestock and their byproducts”.
Dr Marco Springmann, lead author of the study Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits of Dietary Change, found that if there is a universal change to a vegetarian diet we could see up to a 63 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions. If we swap to a vegan diet this drop could extend to 70 per cent.
A nice analogy is that the production of two pounds of beef is equal to driving a car, or, leaving your house lights on for three hours.
We will only have 60 per cent of the water we need by 2030
Without global policy change the world will only have 60 per cent of the water we need by 2030.
Let’s break it down based on where we use our water. Domestic use – so your morning shower, a bath or washing the dishes – uses 10 per cent. Industry use – so steam machines, and other things – uses 20 per cent. Whereas farming uses 70 per cent of the planet’s accessible water.
To this, there will be people who say: “If everyone stopped eating plants then we wouldn’t have to water them”. Well, hun, what do you think the animals you eat eat? How much water do you think is wasted on growing perfectly edible crops for livestock rather than the direct consumption by people? The answer is a lot of water.
We will have much more land, including the Amazon rainforest
A third of Earth’s ice-free land is occupied by livestock and their feed. Not only this, but livestock covers 45 per cent of the earth’s total land. That’s almost half, which we could use to work or play on. Farmers use two – five acres of land per cow. Imagine having that large a garden to frolic in, or a new water park – or we could let the animals have their habitat back, if we wanted to.
There are lots of things we could do with that space, but we’d rather use it for slaughter and murder rather than the exploration into a healthier way of living.
You’re more likely to be leaner when you consume fewer animal fats – so this also means you’ll weigh less.
So if you’re chasing that “summer body”, why not just go veggie for a couple months? You’ll get there no problem. Plus it can be much easier to cook a bean curry than a mince pie, so if convenience is the issue, I don’t think you have a problem.
Actually live longer
The 2002 study, Adventist Health Study 2, found that vegetarians lived almost a decade longer than meat eaters. This difference is similar to the life expectancy gap between smokers and non-smokers. One of the major contributors to this is the reduction in heart disease, and recent studies find that the change in diet can lower incidences of cancer. A vegetarian diet can also reduce cholesterol intake and increase fibre intake,
So you can put that “vegetarians are weak” spiel to bed.
This section is speculation. But did you ever think about people who work in the factories? Try to forget, for a second, the brutal images of animals being slaughter and consider the people who must conduct the acts, you could see a different story. Human who must shed blood to make a living – where instead they could cut crops in a hot field.
The comparison is daunting.
It is Nation Vegetarian Week this week so I thought that I should just drop you a few facts to why I’m vegetarian. It’s statistics not sentiment. For humans not animals. For the survival of our race rather than its demise.
Even if it is just flexitarianism, or instigating meat-free-Mondays, it really is worth the extra step.
Research from: Peta.org, University of Washington’s ‘Conversation Magazine’, The Vegan Society, TheGuardianOnline, Cowspiracy,
Studies: ‘Analysis and valuation of health and climate change co-benefits of dietary change’, ‘Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?’, ‘The Cost Of Going Green Globally’, ‘Livestock a major threat to environment’