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Spring Cleaning: Defeat the Meat

Attention carnivores: there’s a simple way to clean up your diet. Stop eating meat, or eat a hell of a lot less of it.

Attention carnivores: there’s a simple way to clean up your diet. Stop eating meat, or eat a hell of a lot less of it.

But you LOVE meat! You even have a t-shirt proclaiming how much you love bacon!

Come on, have you already forgotten about pink slime?

I know you love meat. I do, too. And there are better farms and farm practices in addition to the nasty ones, and plenty of philosophical or moral gray area (not just gray steak). But committing to eat less meat bodes well for better treatment of animals, a healthier body, and a brighter future for everyone on the planet.

Save the Environment: The United Nations says that livestock makes up 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and much of that comes solely from cows sitting around burping and farting all day. Ever consider how many precious resources went into the production of your dinner before you ordered it off a menu? Compare how much water it takes to source a vegetarian meal versus a meaty one. A serving of pasta with sauce: about 50 gallons of water. A single 8 oz. boneless steak: 1,232 gallons. In fact, most animal products--meats, fish, eggs, and cheese--carry high carbon footprints, according to the Environmental Working Group. Lamb carries the highest carbon footprint of all, 50 percent higher than the second place winner, beef. Maybe it’s about time we started eating more goat?

Save the Animals: The vast majority of meat production is cruel at worst and harsh at best. Factory farms do not take the quality of life of its livestock into consideration. Animals are often kept in filthy, dark and overcrowded conditions. At slaughter, they may be anally stunned, paralyzed but still able to feel pain as their throats are slit or their bodies are passed through boiling water. Maybe you should know how the sausage is made.

Save Yourself: The overuse of antibiotics at industrial farms as a preventive measure instead of as medicine has helped give rise to the modern superbug, according to a report by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. On a more basic level, a recent study from Harvard researchers found that the more red meat you eat, the higher your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any other cause. Dean Ornish, author of the Archive of Internal Medicine's commentary of the study, wrote, “What is personally sustainable is globally sustainable. What is good for you is good for our planet.” That’s really all you need to know.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user woodleywonderworks

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