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Essay/Term paper: Vegetarian (health, ethics and environmetnal effects)

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society

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Must We Kill To Live?
Today you've arrived here with questions. After you read this maybe you'll have the answers? If not go to Http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/andes/4004 Whether you're already a vegetarian or if you're only curious about vegetarians I hope you find this informative and maybe influential. Ihope to open your minds enough that you'll agree that we don't have to "kill to live". I hope to expose you to a lifestyle that doesn't promote violence or death. These are all the reasons you should need to convertyour lifestyle. I've been a practicing vegetarian for 2 years. A vegetarian is defined as someone who avoids all animal flesh, including fish and poultry. Vegetarians can be sub categorized: Those who avoid flesh but still indulge in animal products such ascheese, milk and eggs are referred to as ovo-lacto-vegetarians. People who reject all animal products are referred to as purevegetarians or vegans. Scientific research shows that ovo-lacto-vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters and vegans arehealthier than both. Now I'm going to present you with four reasons everyone should be a vegetarian. First the obvious ethical reasons, second the physiological reasons, third the health reasons and finally the most important reasons for our planet, the environmental impact of a meat based diet. First the ethical reasons to become a vegetarian. The ethical reasons were the first to occur to me when I began considering becoming a vegetarian. Why should any creature lose it's life to fill my stomach? Unfortunately most people don't associate the meat on their plate as having had life at one time. In some countries people eat meat of monkeys, dogs. cats, and even other people which is disgusting to us. But it's OK for us to kill cows, chickens, or fish cause they are different? At 20 weeks of age, 85 million pigs die for Americans to eat. Another 24 million die due to abuse before they reach slaughter age. Cows normally have a 25 year life span, but most only live to be 3-5 years old before dying to become hamburgers. More than 1 million calves a year are raised for veal. They spend a miserably short life of 16-18 weeks in a crate that's not big enough for them to even stand or move in. Not given any water or solid food, only deficient milk replacers, so they will stay white and tender. Since only female chickens lay eggs over 280 million male chicks are thrown into plastic bags and piled on each other to die. Something to ponder, when you eat out, what's really in that meat? Besides a dead animal? The FDA says certain percentages of "unknowns" are acceptable. Like cockroach parts, rat feces, and other unknowns. There are over 660,000 animals killed every hour for meat. The average American consumes 200 pounds of meat a year. Hindus believe that eating an animal ingests its fears and misery from the time of it's death. Ethically animals live and breath, as we do, they feel pain and know fear. If by not eating meat I spare the torture of another living creature, how small a sacrifice is that? If the ethical reasons weren't convincing read on to the physiological reasons. Physiology refers to the way we're built, our anatomy. The differences between animals who were created to be predators (carnivores) and humans are distinct. Carnivores have long teeth and claws for holding and killing prey, humans have short teeth and no claws. The jaws of carnivores open in an up and down motion and shred, a humans jaw moves sideways for grinding and chewing as well as up and down. Humans are more similar to monkeys than carnivores like lions. There are many more differences that are too technical for me. Well, we've covered ethical and physiological reasons, now let's move on to health. Vegetarians enjoy excellent health consistent with dietary guidelines and meet the recommended daily allowances for nutrients. The PCRM also lists a host of health benefits of a vegetarian diet including, prevention of cancer, heart disease, lowering blood pressure, preventing and reversing diabetes, preventing and alleviating gallstones and kidney stones as well as aiding osteoporosis and asthma. When looking at the health benefits of a veg diet it helps to cover specific risks. Heart attacks: The most common cause of death in the USA is by heart attack. A vegetarian male only has a 15% chance of heart attack compared to a 50% chance by the average male. Heart attack is caused by cholesterol acquired by eating meat. Reducing your meat intake by 10% reduces your heart attack risk by 10%. Cancer: The risk of breast cancer is 3.8 times more for meat eating women and the risk of prostrate cancer is 3.6 times more likely for meat eating men. The Physicians committee for responsible medicine, part of the American Medical Association, states,"numerous studies have shown that vegetarians are nearly 50% less likely to die from cancer." General: According to the USDA at least one in every 50 eggs and one in every three chickens sold in supermarkets are infected with live salmonella bacteria. Of all the antibiotics used in the US 55% are fed to livestock. The bacteria that cause disease are becoming immune to the antibiotics. The percentage of penicillin resistant staphylococci has grown from 13% in 1960 to 91% in 1988. These antibiotics and the bacteria they are intended to destroy reside in the meat that goes to market. Eventually into the people who ingest that meat. The response of the European Economic Community to the routine feeding of antibiotics to US livestock was a ban on the importation of U.S. meat. And mentioning European meat, does "Mad Cow Disease" ring a bell. That's not spread by vegetables. U.S. produced meat contains dangerously high quantities of pesticides, as evidenced in the breast milk of meat eating mothers. 99% of meat eating mothers had significant levels of DDT in their breast milk, whereas only 8% of vegetarian mothers showed DDT levels. Contamination of breast milk by chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides is 35x higher in meat eating mothers over vegetarian mothers. According to Boyd Epley, the assistant athletic director at the University of Nebraska, his football players eat soy. He says soy doesn't have the high fat content of animal protein. The two time national champs maintain their strength and speed on a vegetarian based diet. Now it's time to get to the environmental and ecological reasons to convert your diet. 20 million people will die from malnutrition this year. 100 million people could be fed if Americans lowered their meat intake by 10%. 20% of the corn grown in the U.S. is eaten by people, 80% of the corn and 95% of the oats grown each year are eaten by livestock. One acre of land can produce 40,000 pounds of potatoes or 250 pounds of beef. 56% of all U.S. farmland is devoted to beef production. To produce 1 pound of beef requires 16 pounds of edible grain. 20 vegetarians could be fed on land needed to feed 1 person consuming a meat based diet. Three times more fossil fuel is burned to produce a meat centered diet, contributing to global warming. If every living human ate a meat centered diet the worlds known oil reserves would last 13 years. With a worldwide vegetarian diet they'd last over 260 years. It takes nearly 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein and only 2 calories to produce 1 calorie of soy protein. Meat eating is the number one driving force behind agricultural expansion. Contributing to deforestation. 260 million acres of U.S. forestland has been cleared for cropland to produce a meat centered diet. 85% of the U.S. topsoil loss is directly attributable to livestock raising. To keep up with U.S. consumption of beef over 300 million pounds of meat are imported annually from Central and South America. This economic incentive leads to these nations destroying more forests to create more pasture land. 55 square feet of tropical rainforest is destroyed to produce every quarter pound of rainforest beef. Each year over 1000 species are eliminated due to destruction of rainforests for grazing land. More than ½ of all water used for all purposes in the U.S. is consumed in livestock production. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat. It takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of California beef. 33% of all raw materialsconsumed are devoted to livestock production, while only 2% are used for a vegetarian based diet. A few famous vegetarians: Einstein, Plato, Newton, Ben Franklin, Ghandi, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley. All these people knew the answer to the question I began with. " NO you do not have to kill to live". A vegetarian diet meets all the RDA, without the guilt of murder while preserving our environment. Isn't that easy? Wow. It takes so little to do so much. Quoting Ghandi, "Why turn your body into a graveyard by devouring the flesh of other creatures?"

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