Why should one care about vegetarianism? Specifically, in the West? There are lots of reasons for both these questions.
Let us first understand why vegetarian at all?
Less Carbon Dioxide Emissions
According to an FAO Report – Livestock’s Long Shadow (FAO report) about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are contributed just by the meat industry! When more meat is consumed, then the agricultural patterns in a society change. With that changes the crop patterns. It is estimated that the changes in the land use related to livestock will alone emit 2.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year
Improper land use and lopsided production
Number of people dying of malnutrition in the world: 20 mn
If Americans reduced meat intake by 10%, then # of people who could be fed from land freed up: 100 mn
Corn Grown in US Percentage consumption: Human = 20%; Livestock = 80%
Oats Grown in US Percentage consumption: Human = 5%; Livestock = 95%
1 acre of land can produce: 40,000 lbs of Potatoes or 250 lbs of beef (that’s 1:160)
And guess how much of farmland is used for beef production in the US? 56%! The waste of land for more food production is just massive!
It takes 16 lbs of grain and soyabeans to produce 1 lbs of edible beef.
Meat production is remarkably inefficient in the way it uses the natural resources. We can start with the usage of water for plants used for human consumption vs that which goes into production of a similar quantity of livestock.
Consider this: (source)
The amount of water used to produce a single hamburger can be used to take a luxurious bath by you every day for 20 days!
If you think, oh well.. even the crops for human consumption need a lot of water. Well they do, but the “Meat to Wheat Water Inefficiency Ratio” (I just coined that metric!) is 100:1! See the table below.
Make life unsustainable on Earth
Do you know that an international team of ecologists and economists led by Boris Worm of Dalhousie University with colleagues from UK, US, Sweden and Panama – came to a startling conclusion. That, by 2048, the world’s oceans will be empty of fish! Why? Due to “overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change”.
And this is not any doomsday type of prediction just for the heck. It is happening as we speak! At this point, the study says “29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90%”
Look at these headlines – which not many people register in their consciousness:
Empty Net Syndrome: For the first time, federal and state fisheries officials have closed the season in California and in most of Oregon. The reason: only 90,000 fish returned last fall to the Sacramento River chinook run, down 90 percent from just a few years ago.
Salmon population dwindling in California: California’s salmon fisheries may be closed for a second year in a row. (Jan 20, 2009) “We’ve reached a point now, where the winter run of salmon is listed under the Endangered Species Act, so is the Spring Run, so is Steelhead, Green Sturgeon, Delta Smelt a growing list of species are all in trouble, including salmon,” said Nelson
These people are worried about the jobs lost, which go over and beyond the loss of fish on the dinner plates. Yet, there is something bigger than the job losses! The loss of ability for this planet to sustain life!
The species in Ocean and the diversity impacts sustaining of any life in the ocean! The survivability of all the species is interlinked and related.
Are we.. YOU.. really worth so much destruction?
With so much of destruction imparted on so many species of animals in this world – and on humans, poorer ones who can’t eat because someone wants meat….. do we even pause to think if we are really worth so much of destruction?
Why should our lives be sustained by killing of so many creatures and species on this planet?
Its not about religion or God or anything else “out there”. It is about us – you and I – and our very survival! Think of it.
“If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.” ~ Paul McCartney
Now let us go into the video which shows what goes on into getting a piece of meat on your dinner plate. Is that what you are trying to endorse? Is that something that you can live with?
This video also gives you a better perspective on how the meat production is handled in the West, specifically the US. The ways and methods are absolutely inhuman! Even milk production is very inhumanly done in the US.
I find it mind-boggling that a family that showers so much of love on their pet have no qualms in treating all other species of animals with such cruelty – either because they are oblivious or they are apathetic!