The many benefits of eating less meat

Since blogging about the incredible cruelty with which animals are treated on many/most farms, I’ve cut back on my meat consumption and am encouraging my family to cut back further.

Health is a second reason to eat more fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish and less farm-grown meat, esp. red meat:

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That’s compared with those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

A third reason is the tremendous environmental benefits of eating plant-based foods. The Huffington Post reports that just one day’s meat consumption in America consumes an additional:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months; ● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year; ● 70 million gallons of gas—enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare; ● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware; ● 33 tons of antibiotics. ● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France; ● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages; ● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement; ● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

…According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.

Nutrition Action also summarizes the benefits of a low-meat diet.

Posted by James on Thursday, April 02, 2009