A FEW WORDS ABOUT VEGANISM, ANIMALS, NUTRITION, THE ENVIRONMENT AND Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Would anything persuade you to go vegan? What about the unnecessary slaughter of sentient animals? Every hour six million farm animals are stabbed in the neck. Does that bother you? Would you go vegan for them, for all those innocent and defenseless animals? I’d like to think the answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” but, alas, I know all too well from spending entirely too much time online suffering speciesist fools ungladly that all too often the answer is a self-serving “No!” Such people regard farm animals as mere things, consumable commodities, no more worthy of our moral consideration than a head of lettuce, even though chickens, cows, pigs and the rest are as fully sentient as the beloved companion animals we fetishize. These non-vegan bullies victimize the most vulnerable among us and chuckle and brag about it as though it were a point of pride, a praiseworthy accomplishment. For them, it is unthinkable to forgo that bacon ‘n cheese, chicken ‘n steak quadruple-decker, grease-drenched, blood-soaked 5-pound cowburger, because titillating their palates is vastly more important than the meaningless life of some stupid animal. “Stab ‘em in the neck and fire up the grill” just about sums up their inspiring perspective.
I hope you are not one of these lost causes. If, unlike the “mmm bacon” brigade, you have genuine moral concern for animals but, for whatever reason, harbor reservations about veganism, I urge you to read Gary Francione’s Eat Like You Care, an eloquent defense of veganism which debunks nearly every conceivable objection to it in a straightforward, easy-to-read, commonsensical style.
But even if you have little or no regard for the wellbeing of sentient nonhumans, and value your palate pleasure over their very lives, there is still ample reason to go vegan, notably the recognized health benefits of a well-planned vegan diet. Would you go vegan for that, for your health? After all, there is widespread consensus across the full spectrum of health care organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, Kaiser Permanente, and nearly everyone else except those with a vested interest in the animal abuse industries, that a properly planned vegan diet is not only nutritionally sound but also provides optimal protection against, among myriad other ailments and diseases, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
If you’re interested in good health and longevity, do yourself a favor and read Joel Fuhrman’s Super Immunity, and/or The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life, both of which are lucidly written, painstakingly researched nutrition guides that expose the health risks associated with consuming animal products and tout the health benefits associated with a plant-based, nutrient-dense, whole foods diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and mushrooms. (Note: Fuhrman cannot be accused of having a vegan agenda because he does not insist upon a strict vegan diet, allowing for an extremely limited intake of animal products once in a while, but it is fair to say that he encourages veganism based upon an objective, comprehensive analysis of the scientific literature.)
I happen to live in Texas where the vast majority of people are noticeably overweight, if not downright obese, which is both alarming and, well, thoroughly repugnant. Don’t mess with Texas…because they’ll sit on and crush you - then swallow you whole. I swear, these bad food junkies, who just can’t lay off the bacon wrapped, cheese-stuffed, fat-saturated, calorie/cholesterol/carcinogen-loaded 2-foot frankensteinfurters, would rather get ass cancer and keel over prematurely from a coronary than live vegan for 100 years. I can hear them now: “Whoopie ti yi yo and a yippee-ka-yay, stab ‘em in the neck, fire up the grill, slather on the butter and let the feeding frenzy begin!”
Apparently these yahoos think, quite mistakenly, that we vegans nourish ourselves on rabbit food and other tasteless shit, as though we nibble on lettuce and tofu all the livelong day. For the record: I don’t eat tofu. Hate it. Nor do I eat much lettuce, although I do eat a lot of phytochemical-laden leafy greens such as kale, spinach and arugula, all of which contain more protein per calorie than steak. Stick that in your pit and grill it.
Vegans also eat “tasteless shit” like this:
Above photos courtesy of Beyond Meat
Above photos courtesy of Reverie Bakeshop
Above photos courtesy of vegan chef Vincent Guihan
That’s a mere sample of vegan chow, but it should be enough to convince even the staunchest animal-gobbler that we vegans can titillate our taste buds with the best of them. But the real pleasure, one that transcends the mere pleasures of the palate, comes from knowing that no animals were enslaved, tortured and stabbed to death in the making of these delicious meals and confections.
Not all animal abusers/eaters display such reckless disregard for their health. Currently the so-called Paleo diet is all the rage among gullible bros back-slapping and high-fiving each other at the local CrossFit gym. A few bench presses and cave-manly grunts later, the pumped-up bros sharpen their spears, form a hunting party, and head to the supermarket to buy lots of meat with their mom’s credit card. Just like a caveman.
For an utter demolition of this inane diet fad - whose entire premise, that we should eat like our Paleolithic ancestors did, rests on a fallacious appeal to nature - check out this outstanding website. It is, in bro parlance, a total smackdown.
But even if you have little or no regard for sentient nonhuman life and/or for your own health and longevity, there still remains compelling reason to go vegan. What about the fact that animal agriculture is an environmental disaster? Did you know that livestock alone emit more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector? That’s right, more than all the modes of transportation *combined* - as in every motor vehicle, locomotive, watercraft and aircraft on…the…planet. Although estimates of the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions linked to livestock range from 15% to 51%, even the lower of the two percentages exceeds that of the transportation sector, which is estimated to be around 13%. Moreover, as this article points out the 15% was calculated by livestock specialists, the 51% by environmental specialists. Don’t know about you, but I’d put more (live)stock in the latter.
Would you go vegan for that, for the environment, for the planet? Imagine the good we could do for the planet, literally overnight, if we all just stopped stabbing farm animals and went vegan instead.
I defy anyone to read this fact sheet, and the studies therein, and not come away convinced that the gross wastefulness and inefficiency of animal agriculture is a major contributor to the escalating climate crisis. Here’s a sample of what you’ll learn:
“Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year: Vegan: 1/6th acre; Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan; Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan” “Our food our future.” Earthsave. http://www.earthsave.org/pdf/ofof2006.pdf
“Methane has a global warming power 86 times that of CO2.” NASA. “Methane: Its Role as a Greenhouse Gas.” Jet Propulsion Laboratory. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/pdfs/podest_ghg.pdf
“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.”
“Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.
“One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.” Catanese, Christina. “Virtual Water, Real Impacts.” Greenversations: Official Blog of the U.S. EPA. 2012. http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/2012/03/virtual-water-real-impacts-world-water-day-2012/
“2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.” Robbins, John. “2,500 Gallons, All Wet?” EarthSave http://www.earthsave.org/environment/water.htm
“1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.” “Water trivia facts.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. http://water.epa.gov/learn/kids/drinkingwater/water_trivia_facts.cfm#_edn11
“477 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of eggs; 900 gallons of water are needed for cheese.” “Meateater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/interactive-graphic/water/
But, hell, on second thought, who gives a shit about the planet anyway? Why not let future generations worry about global warming and climate change? Why not ignore the facts, pretend that global warming either doesn’t exist or if it does exist that we had nothing to with it, and have faith that, even if we did instigate and now continue to perpetuate the ever-worsening climate crisis, we could fix it with a little elbow grease and a can-do attitude, plus a helluva lot of technological know-how, before the situation crosses the point of no return. Besides, why should I care about future generations that will exist after my death any more than I care about past generations that existed before my birth? Makes no sense. What I really care about, above all, is pleasuring my palate like there’s no tomorrow. So commence with the neck stabbings!
If, on the other hand, you care about the planet and the fate of our species and countless others, then I urge you to watch Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, a somewhat amateurish but fact-filled, eye-opening documentary which deserves attention, if for no other reason than that it exposes an inconvenient truth that Al Gore neglected to mention. The film does what Gore and so many gutless others, including most of the environmental agencies, failed to do: take on the powerful meat/dairy/poultry industries and their lobbying bullyboys, and call attention to the hormone-oozing, freakishly humungous cow in the room. See her? She’s the one belching, farting and shitting unholy amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
Breaking news: cows unleash an earth-shattering fart into the face of humanity. You might call this poetic justice, bovine-style. Our species, in all its absurdity, is literally dying for a hamburger. How delicious is that?
By the way, if you think that organic beef from grass-fed cows is the answer, I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
First, the argument is moot, because unless there is a dramatic paradigm shift toward veganism, factory farming ain’t going away. As a practical matter, the quaint family farms of yesteryear, where happy animals once grazed peacefully on picturesque pastures before being lovingly herded into trucks and leisurely driven to the friendly neighborhood slaughterhouse to be oh-so-humanely exsanguinated, cannot possibly meet the rising global demand for meat and other animal products in this increasingly overpopulated world. Only intensive, hyper-efficient factory farming has the wherewithal to churn out the massive amounts of meat, eggs, and dairy needed to satiate the gluttonous appetite of the non-vegan.
Second, grass-fed cows are *worse* for the environment than their feedlot counterparts. As Plant Positive explains in the video below:
“Some people believe they are getting around the environmental costs of meat-eating by selecting grass fed beef. I’m not sure why they believe this. If you are concerned about land use or greenhouse gases, the regular feedlot system is much better. Giving an animal growth promotants like hormones and antibiotics makes it more efficient at converting its food into muscle and fat mass that will eventually be food for the meat-eater. Therefore, it needs less resources and less time to develop all that meat, milk and fat. How is it better for the environment to eat an animal that requires more land and more resources to produce the same number of calories?”
Veganism is better for the animals, for your health, and for the planet. Any one of those benefits is a good reason to go vegan; combined, they make the case for veganism overwhelming. So stop looking for excuses to keep harming animals, yourself and the environment, and just…GO…VEGAN!
I thank you. The planet thanks you. And they thank you:
Posted on February 8th, 2015 by Mat Viola
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