For the Animals
Nine billion land animals (and billions more aquatic animals) are raised and killed for food each year in the United States—that’s more than 1 million animals every hour. The overwhelming majority of them are kept on factory farms, where the goal is to raise as many animals as possible in the least amount of time and space.
With virtually no laws to protect them, these birds, pigs, and cows are routinely treated in ways that would result in criminal prosecution if those same abuses were inflicted upon the cats and dogs with whom we share our homes. By choosing vegetarian foods, we can stand up for animals each time we sit down to eat.
For Better Health
As rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes, hypertension, and other life-threatening conditions skyrocket in the United States, many researchers and medical experts come to the same conclusion: A vegetarian diet can help prevent and even reverse these illnesses, including America’s leading killer—heart disease.
The American Dietetic Association states that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” These findings don’t just apply to adults, either. “Vegetarian diets in childhood and adolescence can aid in the establishment of lifelong healthy eating patterns and can offer some important nutritional advantages.”
For the Planet
While many seek expensive green technologies to decrease our carbon footprints, vegetarian eating is an easy, cost-effective way to reduce our environmental impact at every meal. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of biodiversity loss, resource depletion, pollution, and global warming, and according to a United Nations report, generates 18% of all global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.
Factory farming contributes to the production of Earth’s three most climate change-affecting gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—which are produced in excess through the respiration and digestive processes of billions of animals. The Environmental Protection Agency has cited animal agriculture as a top polluter of rivers, lakes, and wetlands—largely due to animal waste.
Why Veg? | US VegWeek 2014.