savetheworld

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HAPPY EARTH DAY! Go outside and pick up some garbage if you get a chance! Keeping the earth clean and safe for animals and plants is really important and everyone should take part! 

Vegan essay

     The Importance of Veganism

           Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. The vegan movement has grown rapidly since the turn of the century and has become a widespread part of pop culture. It is very important that society stays well educated in matters that concern their everyday life. There are many unfortunate things going on in the world right now that are caused by the production of animals and veganism is one of the healthiest available ways to reject animal injustice. There are many reasons veganism is believed to be beneficial, some of them are the positive impact it has on the environment, the tremendous health benefits, or the respect of animal welfare. Experts are popping up every day coming up with new evidence that veganism is very beneficial. Like every controversial topic, veganism is faced with a slew counter arguments. Many of these are supported by evidence ranging from social to dietary. Many people do believe that animal products are necessary for consumption, although there is also new evidence to support that a plant based diet is a much healthier way of living. The main topic for debate is the benefits and drawbacks of a plant based diet and how they affect one’s health.

           Many people refuse to switch to a plant based diet because of the additional effort necessary to obtain the nutrients derived from an omnivore diet. There is debate by nutrition experts on what these essential nutrients are. The AHA has an article called “The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.” In this article they have a list of guidelines for healthy eating choices. The first guideline says “Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.”(AHA) This is heavily encouraging meat consumption as it is the first thing they discuss on their list.

           The second guideline the American Heart Association has on their list of healthy living is “Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.”(AHA). They are not only encouraging meat in a diet; they are stating that this particular kind of meat should be consumed at least a few times a week. Next on their guideline list is “Select fat-free, 1 percent fat and low-fat dairy products.”(AHA) Nowhere on this list does it suggest to incorporate fruits and vegetables, as it is based primarily on the importance of meat and dairy consumption, as well as to cut back on calories.
           The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health claims that animal protein is very important in a diet and states “Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids we need.” This statement may be true although there are plenty of other foods that deliver all the necessary amino acids and proteins. Harvard continues with “Vegetarians need to be aware of this. People who don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products need to eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day in order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein.”

There is a ton of new evidence that supports that a plant based diet is ideal for healthy living. T. Collin Campbell, an American biochemist and author of The China Study has a lot of valuable information on why a plant based diet is important. Campbell states in “The China Study” that, “Plant foods have dramatically more antioxidants, fiber and minerals than animal foods. In fact, animal foods are almost completely devoid of several of these nutrients.”(p.231) This is a very basic yet important fact that most people need to be reminded of, because a lot of the time protein is the main concern. People tend to forget that there are many essential nutrients required for a healthy diet. Campbell continues “While some animal-based foods are low in fat, usually because they are stripped of their fat by artificial processing (e.g., skim milk)”(p.231) Eating artificially processed foods is malnourishing because not only is it stripped of the little value it comes with, but it is also packed full of antibiotics and hormones. Campbell adds “But if one looks a little more closely, the fat and the protein of nuts and seeds are different: they are more healthful than the fat and protein of animal foods.”(p.231) This statement debunks a huge misconception that animal protein is one of the most important parts of a diet because protein can be easily obtained by other means such as nuts and seeds. In addition, if one sustains a plant based diet, only around five percent of overall consumption needs to be nuts and soy because many vegetables contain protein as well as many other nutrients.  

           The general concern when switching to a plant based diet is if it will be possible to obtain the same vitamins and nutrients as before. Campbell proves this statement to be false in saying “There are four nutrients which animal-based foods have that plant based foods, for the most part, do not: cholesterol and vitamins A, D and B12. Three of these are nonessential nutrients.”(p.231) Campbell goes on to discuss that cholesterol is made up in the human body naturally as well as vitamin A. Vitamin D can be gained by a daily fifteen minute exposure to the sun. Both of these vitamins are toxic if consumed in high amounts. Vitamin B12 is a little trickier to absorb. Campbell explains that plants grown in “healthy” soil contain a good concentration of this vitamin. Plants grown in lifeless soil are more than likely deficient in B12. Campbell also claims “It is estimated that we hold a three-year store of vitamin B12 in our bodies. If you do not eat any animal products for three years or more, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a small B12 supplement occasionally”(p.232) This proves that if all of the right foods are added in the right diet, there is no need to worry about what is not being obtained.

           Converting to a plant based diet can be life changing to some people for some very important reasons. T. Collin Campbell says that good nutrition can actually pause, slow, or even reverse many diseases such as obesity, heart disease, melanoma, breast cancer and more. Some diseases such as autoimmune diseases cannot be reversed, although good nutrition can slow it dramatically. Campbell backs his statement saying “Type 1 diabetics can lower their medication requirements by eating the right food. Evidence also shows that rheumatoid arthritis can be slowed by diet, as can multiple sclerosis.” (p.237) This is vital evidence and more people need to be informed of this. Doctors often prescribe multiple medications for a single problem or illness resulting multiple side effects. Not many people think about how their diet could be affecting their health when it comes to illness. Good nutrition could solve nearly all problems with only positive side effects.

           The public’s favorite argument against a plant based diet is that humans are omnivores, even though the evidence against this argument is all over. William C. Roberts, an American physician specializing in cardiology states his medical opinion on why humans aren’t designed for meat consumption in the article “Were humans meant to eat meat?” in The Environmental Magazine. Roberts points out that the evidence is pretty clear and that “it does not take a genius to figure it out”. He starts off by making multiple correlations between humans and herbivores. Humans have much longer intestines much like an herbivore and require vitamin C for their diet, whereas carnivores produce it internally. Both Humans and herbivores sip water instead of lapping it up with their tongue. Humans cool their body with perspiration while carnivores pant. (Roberts)

           Dr. Neal D. Barnard, PCRM’s founder and president also featured in the same article, says humans lack the raw abilities to be good hunters. Barnard states that “We are not quick, like cats, hawks or other predators,” Barnard also claims that dairy foods are not natural for human diets, since we only started to consume them around ten thousand years ago which is pretty recent in our evolution. Most doctors will agree that the human body can digest meat, although it isn’t really designed for it. The most popular claim made by the public defending human omnivore nature is canine teeth. Humans have two slightly sharper individual teeth that don’t compare to the length or the sharpness of a meat eater. Human stomach acid is also 20 times weaker than an average carnivore.

           One of the biggest reasons people choose to go vegan is the environmental footprint that animal agriculture is leaving on the world. Factory farming is the biggest contributor to global warming and water pollution, as well as land pollution. All of the go green companies refuse to discuss this matter as it would cause factory farms a huge loss. These companies constantly promote green living with new ways to conserve water and alternative transportation. The truth is humans are only causing a small fraction of this. In the documentary Cowspiracy narrated by Kip Anderson, they attend multiple interviews with go green foundations to investigate where all of the water is being used. When they learned that mass amounts of water are going to factory farms, they question these foundations on why people are not aware of this. Some of the foundations gave a vague statement on the matter but most of them decided to drop contact. They learned that it takes on average 2500 gallons of water to make one single pound of beef. To add to that, 5% of water consumed in the U.S. is used by private homes. Animal agriculture is responsible for 20% of all fresh water consumption. That’s a number that the people cannot ignore. (Cowspiracy)

           The water consumption is just a part of the environmental issue. Animal agriculture is also taking a major toll on the land. Livestock covers 45% of Earth’s total land. To add to that, there are massive holes all across the U.S. alone the size of three football fields and are 40 feet deep full of animal blood, feces, and urine. That’s a huge amount of completely unnecessary waste. With all of this occurring, 10,000 square miles of rainforest are being cut down every second to grow food for our livestock. This is a tremendous and absolutely unacceptable matter. The rainforests are the lungs of the planet, once the rainforest is gone; humankind does not have long before extinction. If this kind of action continues, humans are estimated to only live for 50 more years max. This also contributes to species extinction since we are destroying all of the animal’s homes and food. On top of all of this, animal agriculture is having a big impact on the ozone. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane a day. That’s more than cars, trucks, and trains produce in one day put together. (Cowspiracy.)

           It is said that if everyone had to slaughter their own food everyone would be vegetarians. Many people don’t know or don’t want to know what goes on in slaughterhouses. The documentary Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix discusses how the animals are treated in slaughterhouse are mistreated and killed. To start off, transportation to and from slaughterhouses for the animals is so compact the animals are practically on top of each other. There is no heating or cooling depending on the weather, so some animals nearly freeze to death, and some die of heat exhaustion. Cows are branded with a hot metal rod to the face. Second, they are usually de-horned with no pain relief with pliers. Milking cows are chained to their stations all day long with no exercise. Pesticides and antibiotics are also used to increase milk productivity. Cows are so over milked that utters become swollen and bloody and infected, causing them to leak fluids other than milk. Eventually milking cows collapse from exhaustion. (Earthlings)

           In this documentary there is footage of one of the top quality kosher meat farms. One of the qualifications for meat to be kosher is the cleanliness of the area, although in the footage it is shown as an absolutely filthy area. Rules for kosher butchering include minimal suffering, although they are using electric prongs on the cows, which is against violation. They slice the cow’s throat upside down which causes them to breath in their blood. Following that, they rip the trachea and the esophagus out, which is another violation. Sacred meat is not to be touched until bleeding is stopped; therefore they dump the bodies onto the blood soaked floor and hang them with their breathing tubes and vocal cords hanging out and half conscious. This process is neither clean nor compassionate. (Earthlings)

           Pigs are other animals that have a nightmare to live in slaughterhouses. When pigs are dropped off at the slaughterhouse, they can hear the other pigs being slaughtered. This will not only stress them out, but contaminate the meat. The pigs are kept in metal bar stalls so small they cannot spread their legs or turn around. When procreate, half of them eventually get crushed from the mother rolling over. Their tails, ears, and teeth are cut off with no anesthetic so that they won’t bite each other. Piglets are also castrated. When pigs have difficulty moving or do not cooperate they are hit with electric prods. Throat slitting is the most common way of slaughter, after that the pigs are sprayed with searing hot water to remove their hair, during which most pigs are still conscious. (Earthlings)

           Americans consume as much poultry during one modern day as they did in the entire year of 1930. In order to keep chickens from violently pecking each other in slaughter houses, the chickens are de-beaked with a searing hot knife. Chickens live in a very crowded environment with anywhere from sixty thousand to ninety thousand chickens in a single building. Hens are kept in electrically charged cages in turn causes them to lose their feathers and gain sores. Most chickens are killed by either being beat to death or decapitated. Male baby chicks are all thrown into a massive blender because they do not produce enough meat or any eggs. (Earthlings)

           For those that believe seafood is better to consume than land animals, one must not forget about all of the toxic waste poured into the oceans. There has been a recent outbreak of pfiesteria, a microorganism one thousand times more potent that cyanide spawned from millions of gallons of hog feces and urine. This is poured into rivers lakes and oceans. Pfiesteria has killed over one billion fish. It is a level three biohazard in-between AIDS and Ebola. The huge nets that are used for commercial fishing cast in tons of other types of fish than intended. This is called over fishing. Over fishing may be the result of a fishless ocean by the year 2048. (Earthlings)

            Dr. Richard Oppenlander is a consultant, researcher, and lecturer on the topics of food choice and sustainability, as well as the author of the books Comfortably Unaware and Food Choice and Sustainability. He explains the shocking truth about the connection between meat consumption and world hunger in the article “Animal Agriculture, Hunger, and How to Feed a Growing Global Population: Part One of Two.” Dr. Richard Oppenlander begins the article by stating facts about starvation such as “More than 870 million people in world suffer daily from hunger. This year alone, six million children will die from starvation.” This is a huge number of people dying from starvation and most people are aware of this, although what they don’t know is that their food choices is what’s aiding this tragedy. Oppenlander states “In 2011, there was a record harvest of grain in the world, with over 2.5 billion tons, but half of that was fed to animals in the meat and dairy industries. Seventy-seven percent of all coarse grains (corn, oats, sorghum, barley) and over 90 percent of all soy grown in the world were fed to livestock.” We are producing enough grain globally to feed two times Earth’s population. It would make so much more sense to have grass fed cattle because we cannot digest. In addition we would have more grains to feed the population, not to mention that the cattle would contain more nutrients. Oppenlander ends the article by saying “Eighty-two percent of the world’s starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, which are then killed and eaten by wealthier individuals in developed countries like the US, UK, and in Europe.” The majority of people that live in these areas cannot legally touch the food being grown for the animals. These statistics are insane yet nonetheless prove that the rest of the world has to pay for Americas unhealthy eating choices.

           All of this information gathered together in a few pages is just a small section of all the new evidence and research out that proves animal agriculture is taking a large toll on the world and the creatures that live on it. Veganism is the answer to many of the problems the world faces today such as obesity, species extinction, world hunger, pollution etc. It is very important that people open their eyes to what can be done instead of shutting information out for their own personal comfort and lifestyle. The issues of today are nearly impossible to ignore and the evidence above proves this. Obtaining a plant based lifestyle is much easier in today’s world with all of the transportation and abundance of available fruits and vegetables, therefore most people do not have a reason to keep using animal products. If more people were informed on what good this lifestyle can achieve, it would do the world a huge favor which is what truly matters particularly for the generations to come.