Consider Vegetarianism | Teen Ink

Consider Vegetarianism

July 21, 2013
By Erinwolf1997 PLATINUM, San Carlos, California
Erinwolf1997 PLATINUM, San Carlos, California
37 articles 4 photos 4 comments

In 2012, the average American ate over 150 pounds of meat. However, many people don’t know the drawbacks to the meat business. Most, if not all factory farms practice inhumane and cruel methods of raising and slaughtering their animals. Also, diets that do not include meat tend to be healthier and prevent many diseases, as well as being less harsh on the environment than a meat consumer’s would. Instead of consuming meat, we should consider the more ethical choice of vegetarianism.

The meat industry is an industry focused on profit, while paying little or no attention to the health and comfort of the animals they profit from, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, and every other animal raised for consumption. Many of the animals are malnourished or dying from terrible diseases caused by their filthy cages, with only drugs that are used to fatten them quickly keeping them alive. Many of the species that are raised for food are genetically engineered to create the most profit for the meat companies. They are often crippled under their own weight. Sometimes, after being driven miles and miles through all types of weather conditions, they are still semi-conscious as they are processed, feeling everything with no way to escape. These people don’t seem to understand that abusing animals in this way is just as terrible as doing the same to a human. In 1958, President Eisenhower signed a bill to minimize the pain and suffering of meat animals, called the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act. However, to this day, poultry and fur animals are still exempted from this bill which could ease their suffering. Today, it is legal to process a chicken while they are still fully conscious. This is the meat you eat every day. Many people do not know this terrible side to the meat industry, and may still think the beef they’re eating came from a cow that lived its life happy, grazing in a field all day and night. If your meat is filled with drugs, disease, and terror, then why are you still eating it?

Many vegetarians stopped eating meat because of potentially dangerous health risks that could arise due to meat consumption. Many studies have been conducted that have shown that eating less meat and animal products benefits your health, often preventing serious diseases like cancer and diabetes. In 2005, Dr. T. Colin Campbell published a study on vegetarianism, called The China Study. his study shows that people who ate lots of plant foods were healthier than people who ate animal foods, the latter which had a higher rate of developing diabetes and cancer. However, this study was criticized by some for being “biased” in favor of a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Even  in the 1970s, when vegetarianism began getting more popular, there were many skeptics of a diet without meat, something humans have been eating for millions of years.These ideas were challenged  in 1987, when the American Dietetic Association stated that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” This shows that not only are humans capable of practicing a meatless diet, but can actually benefit greatly.

Not only does meat consumption have potential consequences for your health and the health of animals, but it also harms the environment. Overgrazing animals can cause soil erosion and harm to native plants. This can cause damage to otherwise beautiful parts of the world, turning your field of wildflowers into the desolate, grey wasteland of a commercial feedlot. The whole world is impacted by this growth in the meat industry, especially the rainforest. Approximately 55 square feet of rainforest had to be destroyed for that hamburger on your plate. If eating beef for the rest of your life meant that you could no longer see the beautiful, lush rainforests, full of life, would you still choose to eat that hamburger?

In a perfect world, none of these consequences to eating meat would exist, there would be no cruelty on factory farms, destruction to the environment or our own health, but since we’re living in our world today, the best solution is vegetarianism. If we don’t support the meat industry, they may choose to change their ways of producing meat, which will make things better for us, animals, and the world. If this solution is not adopted, this unethical business will continue to be fueled by our own ignorance. Don’t be ignorant; think twice about what you put on your plate.

The author's comments:
A speech I wrote in favor of vegetarianism for my freshman year.

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This article has 1 comment.

Bluekit GOLD said...
on Aug. 1 2013 at 10:29 pm
Bluekit GOLD, Rockton, Illinois
12 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Unicorns and glitter!" -Flo

I very much agree with you. I really liked your article; it was very well-thought out and organized. Keep up the good work!