To clarify, “vegetarian” here will refer to one who does not eat meat but does eat eggs, dairy or honey
Veganism is a topic for another day.
The benefits of a vegetarian diet are well established. It typically reduces that hot-button health topic obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer.
Eating meat, especially processed meat, often does the opposite. In addition, vegetarian benefits continue to be discovered, such as the recent reveal that it lowers the chance of metabolic syndrome. Also, an informed vegetarian can easily get enough iron and protein in their diet.
Fast food burgers, frozen chicken nuggets and the toppings of a pizza are little more than junk. Compare the percentage of healthy meat to that of healthy fruits and veggies in a diet—which is higher?
On to the unquestionably disgusting meat processing industry. Have you ever been eating a hot dog and had someone ask, “You know how they make those?” and hurriedly yelled, “I don’t want to know!”
We’re angry about everything–whether that newscaster is a closet racist or how slow it’s taking for the food to get here, yet many of us simply don’t care to care what’s in our meat.
Ninety-nine percent of America’s meat is factory farmed, a truly horrendous process with a disgusting end product. Some cogs in that machine: pink slime, meat glue, large amounts of antibiotics and pesticides, animal feces. I’m getting hungry.
Now, to one of the most powerful yet polarizing points: animal cruelty. This isn’t about whether eating meat in general is moral or not. This is more about the absolute joke that is “humane slaughter.” This is beside the animals’ short, painful lives composed of cramped, feces-drenched living conditions and being pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that grossly, unnaturally “blow them up.”
Have I said “you are what you eat” yet? Whether by throat-slitting or bolt-to-the-braining, it’s not odd for this to fail, leaving a paralyzed animal still alive far into processing. This largely accounts for “just” birds, but with birds being by far the biggest source of meat, that accounts for most meat.
Cramped conditions on all factory farms lead to the spread of disease. This is combated by antibiotics and pesticides (reportedly 70 percent of the pesticides used in the United States are used in agriculture). Those go into the meat (or the land), which then goes directly into the American consumer. Guess where many 24-hour flus come from?
Factory farming is a major part of environmental deterioration, deforestation and water use. The concentration of animals and chemicals is a major pollutant, a reduction of bio-diversity and an increase in animal extinction. It also involves a major emission of greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide and the like.
This isn’t preaching. These are simply facts. Please, do savor that KFC in front of me. I’m not the one being hurt by it. Simply, we should be informed before taking that bite rather than shout “I don’t want to know!” or “I don’t care!” What we do with the information presented to us is our choice.
We care so much they put pickles on the burger when we explicitly asked them not to, yet we don’t care where the burger came from. We should be vegetarians, but at the very least, let’s be more aware