June 18, 2012
Why should humans turn toward a vegetable-based diet for themselves, not only for the animals?
Human beings over-stress the planet to produce inordinate amounts of grain to feed animals that we label as “livestock”. Feeding the 50+ billion animals that we exploit, torture and slaughter each year has a vastly detrimental affect on our world. There are over 1.5 billion cows being “utilized” in the animal agriculture industry, which consume grain at 50 times the rate of full grown human beings. We lose a land mass of rain forest that could cover a mid-sized nation every 5 years and there will not be any rain forests in 40 years, mainly due to humanity feeding animals in animal agriculture.
The exploitation of animals by the current human population is so extensive that we have also resorted to adding ground fish to their feed, seeing as roughly half of every grain that we reap is not enough to sustain the industry. This is obviously the main factor when considering why humanity is depleting the number of fish species in our oceans. The Earth was never meant to sustain the billions of animals that we slaughter each year. It simply can not cater to so many meat and dairy consuming human beings. We are condemning our grandchildren to a gruesome future through our inability to see reality and change for the sake of human posterity.
We can not rely on lawmakers to do the right thing on their own. Corruption is rampant at the legislative level in most nations, no less, if not more so, in the United States. Everything is based on consumerism/corporate structure, the majority of which, is connected to animal agriculture, energy companies and obviously, banking conglomerates. The “powers that be” expend a great deal of resources making sure that people either do not know, or do not care. Money has become the basis for humanity’s moral structure. It is more important than life, itself. It doesn’t matter if 20,000 human children starve to death each day, how many animals are tortured, how many people are exploited or how much of the planet is irreparably damaged by animal agriculture through deforestation, so long as the bottom line is nice and healthy. Citizens must alter the way that they live their own lives, stand up together and enact a demand for positive changes on a national, as well as global scale.
Below, are but a few frightening statistics released by the United Nations, National Agricultural Statistics Service, United States Department of Agriculture, American Heart Association and the Human Rights Watch. Thanks to Skylar Jordan for helping to compile some of them.
Human rights/food distribution statistics:
Number of people worldwide who will die specifically of starvation this year: Nearly 15 million, whilst many more will die of related diseases and well over 900 million live without adequate food or water.
Number of people who could be adequately fed with the grain saved if United States citizens alone, reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 60 million
Human beings in America: 310 million
How frequently a child starves to death: Roughly every two seconds
Number of people who could be fed with grain and soybeans now eaten by United States based “livestock”: 1.3 billion
Percentage of corn grown in the United States consumed by humans: 20%
Percentage of corn grown in the United States consumed by “livestock”: 80%
Percentage of soy grown globally consumed by “livestock”: 80%
Percentage of all grains fed to “livestock” reaped by humans on a global scale: Nearly Half
Percentage of fish stocks, caught or farmed, fed to “livestock”: 40%
Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce one pound of beef: 16
Gallons of water needed to produce one pound of beef: 2,500
Fatalities per 100,000 in “livestock” occupations: 28
People employed in slaughterhouse operations in the United States alone: Over one half million
Even if you do not believe in the environmental impact caused by methane, animal agriculture is still the primary cause of CO2 emissions and deforestation.
More carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels(“livestock” transport, slaughterhouse operations, logging operations to make room for “livestock”, etc…) are produced by animal agriculture than any other human action.
Deforestation itself, produces more CO2 emissions than the entire global human transit system.
Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million
Area of tropical rain forest consumed in every quarter-pound hamburger: 55 sq. ft.
Current rate of species(plant and animal) extinction due to destruction of rain forests habitat in favor of animal agriculture use: Almost 50,000 per year
More than half of all fresh-water sources are used for the purposes of “livestock” production
Some health-based statistics:
70 percent of billions of chickens, cows and pigs produced annually in the United States are fed a diet containing roxarsone, the most common arsenic-based additive used in animal feed. Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancer, while low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes.
Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat 4 times a week vs. less than once a week: 4 times.
For women who eat eggs daily vs. less than once a week: 3 times
Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times.
Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who eat meat daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 4 times
Most common cause of death in United States: heart attack
How frequently a heart attack kills in the United States: every 45 seconds
Average United States male’s risk of death from heart attack while eating a meat-based diet: 50%
Risk for average U.S. man who avoids the meat-centered diet: 15%
Percentage of pesticide residues in the United States diet supplied by grains: 1%
Percentage of pesticide residues in the United States diet supplied by fruits: 4%
Percentage of pesticide residues in the United States diet supplied by dairy products: 23%
Percentage of pesticide residues in the United States diet supplied by meat: 55%
This message is meant to explain that we, as animal rights activists, care about the posterity of our own species and all life on Earth, in addition to animals. Humans disregard how damaging meat consumption is, not only for us and the animals, but for our planet. Eating something because it tastes good is not justification for destroying the Earth, allowing children to go hungry, torturing animals, or maiming/crippling the people who are exploited under horrendous work conditions in the agriculture industry.
Humanity has some very hard decisions to make, and equally difficult times ahead. We must stand together against human apathy and ignorance.
President of AELLA