Pros and Cons of Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism is the limitation of ones diet to only vegetables, or reducing the intake of different types of meat. Vegetarianism has been around for centuries, but recently we have seen the eruption of a more militant vegetarianism that is inspired by the “animal rights” movement. Today, vegetarian activists are throwing pies at Ronald McDonald and the Pork Queen, scrawling "meat is murder" in prominent locations, committing terrorist acts of arson, and waging media campaigns equating meat consumption with cannibalism. While it is important to be kind to animals and avoid animal cruelty (which is an issue), taking such drastic measures against those who eat meat or sell it is going too far. Some presume that a pound of animal foodstuffs is nutritionally and energetically equivalent to a pound of plant foodstuffs. These arguments also ignore the energy content and opportunity cost of replacing animal by-products, which is considerable. Certain animal products, such as fetal calf serum, collagen and laminin are crucial for medical research using cell cultures, and have no available alternatives. If certain practices associated with animal agriculture are found to be ecologically unsound, it does not merit a general opposition to eating meat. Vegetarians are, on the average, far healthier than those who consume the typical Western diet, and enjoy a lower incidence of many chronic diseases. However, it has not been proven that one must eliminate meat from one's diet in order to be healthy. It has been aptly demonstrated that the typical Western diet contains too much fat. Eliminating meat from the diet is one way to reduce fat, but it is not the only way. Vegetarian diets have also been shown to increase the risk for nutrient deficiencies. Children are particularly vulnerable and can lead to growth problems. Vegetarian children often fail to grow as well as their omnivorous counterparts despite protein intakes. A decade ago and...
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