November 23, 2010
To Eat Meat, or Not To Eat Meat
It is estimated that the average American consumes 180 pounds of meat a year. That is double the global average. Over the years while our meat consumption increased, our lifestyles became more and more sedentary. So, it is no surprise that in America the top three leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The cost to treat these diseases are breaking our health care system, and killing 1.4 million people a year (CDC, Death and Mortality). These diseases can be directly related to our current diet of excessive meat and sedentary lifestyles. Also, our high demand of meat is causing irreparable damage to our environment and the expanding inhumane treatment of animals with the creation of the “factory farm”. By reducing meat substantially in our diet, in addition to a more active lifestyle, I believe it could cut health care costs, save millions of lives a year, and preserve the environment we depend on to survive. Vegetarians versus Meat-Eaters
In Oxford, United Kingdom a study was conducted beginning in 1980 that consisted of 6,000 vegetarian and 5,000 non-vegetarian volunteers. They tested each one of their cholesterol and found the vegetarians had a lower total and LDL cholesterol concentrations than the meat-eaters. They followed up with the subjects twelve years later and discovered the death rate was higher in meat-eaters than in vegetarians. They also determined the causes of death from heart disease were positively associated with intakes of saturated animal fat, total animal fat, and dietary cholesterol. Consequently, a meat-eater is more at risk for heart disease than a vegetarian. (AJCN) Supplementing our Increase Demand
As a child when I envisioned a farm I imagined a sunny place with miles of rolling hills for the animals to graze and walk on, and a friendly farmer who cared for the animals he tended. However, today these quaint farms from my childhood are becoming obsolete due to the rising demand for meat, and are being replaced with something you could only imagine in your nightmares, the factory farm. farmwars.org
Factory farming is a term used for large production of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory. Because of the large volumes the “farms” produce they can sell the meat at a very low price. However, the price tag doesn’t reflect the actual costs. Factory farms pollute communities and adversely affect public health; thereby increasing medical costs for those living near such farms. Jobs are lost and wages driven down, as corporate consolidation bankrupts small businesses and factory farms pay unethically low wages for dangerous, undesirable work. (Weida) Confinement at high stocking density requires antibiotics and pesticides to lessen the spread of disease and pestilence exacerbated by the crowded living conditions in the “farms”. In addition, antibiotics are used to stimulate livestock growth by killing intestinal bacteria. As well as the crowded living conditions, other examples of inhumane treatment the livestock after endure for our selfish needs are, chickens having their beaks removed to prevent them from pecking each other to death because of the tight living quarters, cows standing knee high in their own waste, only have 8-14 square feet to move their whole lives, and never seeing the light of day until they are sent to be slaughtered. (Weida) Crowded Living Condition on Factory Farms
Many people think animals are beneath us and don’t deserve the same kindness and respect that we expect for ourselves. However Karma is a bitch, and these factory farms are coming back to bite us in the ass due to the overwhelming health problems and environmental damage they are causing. Health and Environmental Effects of Meat
When consuming a high-meat diet you put yourself at a higher risk for...