William D Jordan
To Meat or Not To Meat
It seems like the United States of America is quickly becoming a nation of dieters. Every day more people become increasingly cautious about what they eat. Magazine racks everywhere are full of how this celebrity lost weight, or some new secret dieting tip will give the reader the body of their dreams. Some of these methods, when looked into, just take old fads that have been tried in the past and put a new spin on them, and some diets require you to cut out entire food groups. The vegan lifestyle requires a diet such as this. They have cut meat from their lifestyle altogether. Vegans claim that they are healthier, and kinder to animals than omnivores, when in fact, omnivores live a healthy lifestyle that also sustains many animal species. Problems
Of the many reasons to be a vegan, health is the argument that most non-meat eaters claim to be the best. When meat is consumed, fat from the animal is also ingested. “Most animals contain high levels of saturated and Trans fat that when eaten, correlates with hardening of the arteries, and heart disease.” (Walker, 2006). Vegans seem to think that it is possible to obtain all of the nutrients that the human body requires to survive through eating a wide variety of plant life. There is also an assortment of vitamins that ensure those who do not eat meat will have the opportunity to supply themselves with everything that the body needs to remain healthy. There is also a myth that the sunlight helps to provide vitamin D. Dairy products also fall under the big red x stamped on all things bad for the health of humans according to vegans. The main problem with dairy is that when animals ingest things such as growth hormones, antibiotics, and feed that has been sprayed with pesticides they pass small amounts of those things through their milk by-products. So when humans partake of meat and dairy products they too ingest these harmful products and this can cause the human body to breakdown. The unethical treatment of animals is another sticking point with vegans. In order to have a tasty slab of meat placed on one’s plate, an innocent animal must first be slaughtered. “The industrial farming practices used to raise the majority of meat in the United States right now is in no way healthy -- for the animals, the environment or you.” (Mercola, 2010) Factory farms and the slaughtering process is enough to turn many people away from eating meat in protest of the treatment of these animals. Once people have been persuaded to put aside meat, they have to find a replacement. Many people look to soy to fill that newly empty place on the plate. “The billion-dollar soy industry has profited immensely from the anti-cholesterol, anti-meat gospel of current nutritional thought. Whereas not so long ago soy was an Asian phenomenon, now soy products proliferate in the US and European markets.” (Byrnes, 1999) “One of the greatest arguments that vegetarians and vegans use to support a meat-free diet is its apparent toll on the environment. And in its current state, industrial animal farming is an atrocity to the planet.” (Mercola, 2010) Many animal rights activists, such as Mercy For Animals, have resorted to making videos like “From the farm to the fridge”. Videos like this show the animal’s life cycle from being raised on factory farms, and the abuse that many animals receive while living there, to the end of their life when they are slaughtered. While these videos are not necessarily meant to turn everyone into a vegan, they do have the ability to persuade many people to take that step. “Just 2 percent of U.S. livestock facilities produce 40 percent of farm animals, and when you raise thousands of animals in one small space, you're left with a lot of waste. This is a form of animal rearing that is very unnatural, and as such leaves a devastating environmental footprint.” (Mercola, 2010) For someone who...