by noeyduchesne on October 28, 2016 - 11:48am
According to the Vegetarian Ressource Group, “approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish or poultry”. Vegetarianism is a plant-based diet that has many variations, such as lacto-vegetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, veganism, and many more. Many people adopt a vegetarian diet for three main reasons linked to environment, health and animals.
First, vegetarians want to reduce environmental impacts resulting from omnivore diets. For instance, meat production requires a higher water footprint than vegetable production. This is what the P.E.T.A. illustrates in its web article “Vegetarianism and the Environment”: “It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 180 gallons of water to make 1 pound of whole wheat flour.” Additionally, meat production creates a lot of greenhouse gasses. In the same article, the P.E.T.A. shows that “producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on the same period of time”. Without a doubt, eating on a plant-based diet implies less environmental resources than eating on an omnivore diet.
Second, many people go vegetarian to enjoy health benefits. As an example, losing weight is easier when eating on a vegetarian diet. The reason why “numerous studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower body-mass indexes than non-vegetarians” is that plant-based diets are low in fat and high in fiber. Actually, there is no need to count calories, which makes weight loss easier. Furthermore, many studies made by health foundations such as the Harvard Medical School prove that vegetarianism reduces health diseases and chronic illnesses: “Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid and phytochemicals… As a result, they’re more likely to have lower total and DLD (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index” (Harvard Medical School. Thus, going vegetarian comes with loads of advantages related to health.
Third, a lot of people adopt a plant-based diet to support animal welfare. To exemplify, animals (cows, pigs and hens) are often slaughtered. GRACE Communication, a foundation dedicated to animal welfare, shows some slaughter situations: “Once beef cattle have grown to an adequate size, or when dairy cows are no longer producing milk at an acceptable rate, they are taken to be slaughtered.” In addition, some animals are confined to small farrowing crates, In fact, they are deprived of exercise, so the production is maximalized. Moreover, many of them are raised in an inappropriate diet. That is to say that hens follow a low iron diet, so they suffer from anemia to whiten their flesh because that is how the market wants poultry to be. In brief, being on a plant-based diet prones animal welfare.
To conclude, vegetarianism involves reduced environmental impacts, health benefits and animal welfare, which is why many people go vegetarian. Plant-based diets have so many benefits, and certainly represent a step forward to a better world, whether for the environment, health and animals.
Partner: Alexanne Germain