Cleaning Up the Mess through Vegetarianism

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A vegetarian diet is not only an efficient way to stay healthy, it also can be the answer to other negative dilemmas worldwide. A vegetarian diet excludes all meat, fish, and poultry. According to a study by Nathan Pritikin, nutritionist and longevity researcher, found that a diet low in protein and high fruits and vegetables, can successfully help aid reversing symptoms of cardiovascular disease (Pritikin).

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Another researcher, Dr James Howard Winer, a former instructor at the University of Pittsburgh for nutrition explained: Many demographic studies have linked numerous forms of cancer to meat eating (Winer). Given the ethical complications, negative environmental impact, and detrimental health consequences of consuming certain animal products; turning to a vegetarian diet will alleviate numerous issues facing our modern society.

Although vegetarianism has plenty of health benefits, many fear it does not provide the adequate nutrition due to its lack in protein from meat. Becoming vegetarian would not mean becoming nutrient deficient. However there are, multiple substitutes that are high in protein. In fact, Matthew Lee, researcher in life-style based treatment programs, found that Legumes (beans, lentils, soy, etc.) can provide anywhere from 1489% of daily protein intake; approximately 1 cup of chickpeas can equal 12 grams of protein (Lee). Another substitution he found was with wheat and grains, about 2 slices of wheat bread is equal to 5 grams of protein (Lee). These are substitutes that offer a variety in options for daily protein intake. Other than the obvious healthy well-being of the diet, there are more advantages to vegetarianism than just that.

As population increases day by day, the demand for water and food also swells and is needed to sustain life and growth. The earth is tapped out of viable land usage and the majority of it is used for housing and livestock purposes.

(Approximately) 26% of the planet’s ice-free land is used for livestock grazing and 33% of croplands are used for livestock feed productions. (That is enough) cropland to feed 9 billion if 40% of all crops produced today for animals were directed for human consumption. (FAO)

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) points out. The world already holds 7.7 Billion people, and in the next 20 years world population is projected to reach 9 billion people (WPP). Although there is a gap of 20 years from now for the population to reach that point, society is growing at an alarming rate. To put it simply, there will not be enough resources to feed that many humans if there is no change to the way we use our land. Despite the amount of land used for crops to feed livestock, the grain to meat ratio varies greatly. Depending on the place or type of animal, it is hard to predict the ratio. Many animals do not eat human edible grains such as, hay or cornstalks. But the ratio for human edible grains can range from 16 pounds of grain: 1 pound of meat to as little as 0.13 pounds of grain: 1 pound of meat (Yacoubou). Dr Rick Rasby found that water usage can be high too, but this also varies greatly due to the stage of life and temperature of the environment that the livestock are in (Rasby). Not only does livestock consume a large amount of resources, they also have to get rid of them.

While the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that in manufacturing soy-based proteins like tofu can possible be producing more greenhouse gas emission than locally produced meat (WWF). Actually, animals produce a large amount of methane through gas and manure. This is a main result of raising livestock such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, etc. Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas (OGG). Greenhouse gases are gases that are able to keep in any radiation in the atmosphere causing it to hold heat (Lallanilla). CH4 is extremely good for trapping radiation, which takes some blame for the heating up of the environment. It makes up about 10% of all greenhouse gases (OGG). Global warming is not something society can ignore any more than it already has. Global warming is problem that needs to be faced today or it may be too late. Cutting back on livestock use can help the least bit and slow the rate gas emissions are released into the environment.

The figure to the left shows that methane in comparing to other greenhouse gases (OGG).

As unfortunate as it is, animals being raised for society’s needs are greatly genetically modified. Many livestock animals are held in factory farms for two main reasons: profit and efficiency. For the most obvious efficient way of obtaining animal products and meat, they are genetically manipulated (FF). Why breed animals to help efficiency? They are modified for growth or to produce more products like milk or eggs than they naturally would. Since animals are producing more goods, factory farms are gaining tons of profit. The animals are more than just bred for use, they are brought up in unethical ways.

Research shows that nearly 10 billion fam animals each year, just in the United States suffer in poor conditions (FAW). Some of these conditions may include small cages and overcrowding, indoor confinement with poor air quality, and unnatural light patterns (FAW). This also comes along with abusive handling by workers. Due to some unsanitary conditions that these animals would live in, this leads to the misuse of anti-biotics (FAW).

Although anti-biotics are to sustain livestock in unclean conditions, they are also used to make animals grow faster (FF). Research claims that the widespread use of anti-biotics can lead to anti-biotic resistant bacteria that threaten human health (FF). If people are becoming immune to certain anti-biotics due to this, what will happen when a new bacteria becomes prevalent for humans and the anti-biotic used for it can no longer help? Society is in for a rude awakening.

So what should be done to help prevent these situations? Perhaps the best result is for society as a whole is to take proactive steps to play a hand in benefiting the earth’s environment, ones bodies, and the livestock by making a small change in diet. Just not eating vegetables is required, there are numerous different delicious dishes that can satisfy the needs of the humans preferred tastes. For example, there are many cookbooks that are simple and do not require a chef like Vegetarian Cookbook for Beginners: The Essential Cookbook To Get Started and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Other resources that could be used are online websites that provide recipes that someone might have in mind for a special night or magazines for new recipes monthly. Starting out with cutting out little portions of meat or even using less animal biproducts can make a huge impact. If society as a whole became vegetarian there could be many positive outlooks on todays current issues.

Works Cited

Factory Farming: The Industry Behind Meat and Dairy. PETA, www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/.

FAO. Livestock and Landscapes. Www.fao.org, 2012, www.fao.org/docrep/018/ar591e/ar591e.pdf.

Farm Animal Welfare. ASPCA, www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/farm-animal-welfare.

Lallanilla, Marc. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Causes & Sources. LiveScience, Purch, 10 Feb. 2015, www.livescience.com/37821-greenhouse-gases.html.

Lee, Matthew. Alternative Sources of Protein for a Vegetarian. Healthy Eating | SF Gate, 11 June 2018, healthyeating.sfgate.com/alternative-sources-protein-vegetarian-3906.html.

Overview of Greenhouse Gases. EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 31 Oct. 2018, www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases.

Pritikin, Nathan. Nathan Pritikin, Founder. Pritikin Weight Loss Resort, www.pritikin.com/home-the-basics/about-pritikin/38-nathan-pritikin.html.

Rasby, Rick. How Much Water Do Cows Drink. Management of Cheatgrass in Rangelands & Pastures | UNL Beef | Nebraska, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, beef.unl.edu/amountwatercowsdrink.

The Meatless Diet. Umoja Sasa, vol. 6, no. 5, 1982, pp. 68“68. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43690981.

World Population Projections. United Arab Emirates Population (2018) – Worldometers, www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-projections/.

WWF Report . Www.wwf.se, WWF, 2012, www.wwf.se/source.php/1568593/sojarapporten-2014.pdf.

Yacoubou, Jeanne. Factors Involved in Calculating Grain:Meat Conversion Ratios. Return to Vrg.org, The VRG Blog, www.vrg.org/environment/grain_meat_conversion_ratios.php.

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