Tuesday, October 27, 2009

101 reasons to be vegetarian



*** Note:  This text is widely available on the www.  The statistics cited are not the most recent.  The content is shocking nonetheless.  Imagine how horrifying this article would be with the most recent statistics.  The basic reasons for avoiding animal protein remain the same - the most pressing of which is to save our planet.  Please read on.


Every year in the UK we feed our livestock enough food to feed 250,000,000 people while in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation

20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater

Every 3 seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world

If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)

If all Americans became vegetarian, it would free enough grain to feed 600,000,000 people (the population of India)

Intensification in animal farming has displaced 1,000,000's of people from their traditional lands - eg. indigenous people in south & central america, native americans in north america & crofters in Great Britain - this is continuing today

People displaced from their lands into cities succumb to dietary deficiency, diseases, parasites & opportunistic diseases

In third world countries 1 in 10 babies die before their first birthday

The UK imports �46,000,000 worth of grain from third world countries to feed our livestock

Due to overgrazing 850,000,000 people live on land threatened by desertification & over 230,000,000 already live on land so severely desertified that they are unable to sustain their existence & face imminent starvation

1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away & 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink


If they continue to clear American forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left

1 acre yields 165 lbs of beef or 20,000 lbs of potatoes

8/10 of cultivated land in the UK is used to grow food for animals (14,732,000 hectares)

It takes 16 lbs of high protein soya to produce 1 lb of beef

Since 1945 in the UK we have lost 95% of flower meadows, 50% of ancient woodlands, 40% of heathlands, 50% of wet lands  224,000 km of hedgerows all due to animal farming

Pressure on land due to meat farming leads to soil erosion 6 billion tons/year in the USA

If everyone went vegetarian upto 90% of land used for animal farming could be taken out of production  used to replant woodlands, leisure activities etc.

25% of Central america's forests have been destroyed for cattle grazing since 1960

Between 1966-1983 38% of the Amazon rain forest was destroyed for cattle grazing

90% of cattle ranches established on cleared forest land go bankrupt in less than 8 years as the land becomes barren due to nutrient loss & overgrazing

Overgrazing by cattle is destroying the land & increasing desertification, nearly 430 million acres in the USA alone has suffered a 25-50% reduction in yield since first grazed

An inch of topsoil takes 200-1000 years to develop - yet in the USA they have lost around 1/3 of their prime topsoil in 200 years (around 7 inches) due to animal farming

Land will be lost due to rises in sea level due to global warming due to animal farming


The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply

The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming)

Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year

Combining these figures, 25% of methane emissions are due to animal farming (not including the billions of sheep, pigs & poultry so the real figure is much higher)

Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect

Fertilizer, weedkiller & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail

CFCs are released into the air from refrigeration units used to store decomposing flesh (meat), milk & butter - CFCs are destroy the ozone layer

Ammonia from animal urine also pollutes the atmosphere

CO2 is released by burning oil & petrol in lorries, ships, abattoirs, dairies, factories etc. associated with meat & dairy production

Emissions from large chemical plants which produce fertilizer, weedkiller & other agricultural chemicals are also poisoning our air


25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat & 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat

UK farm animals produce 200,000,000 tonnes of slurry (liquid excrement) every year, the majority of which ends up in our rivers

Bloody waste water from abattoirs ends up in our rivers

In the USA every second humans produce 12,000 lbs of effluent while farmed animals produce 250,000 lbs

Nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers

Meat & dairy farming uses 70 litres of water per day per animal in the UK or 159,250,000,000 litres per year in total

The water used to produce 10 lbs of steak is equivalent to the average consumption of water for an entire household for an entire year

Depletion of groundwater reserves to grow crops for animals & to supply abattoirs will lead to greater water shortages

Aquafers (stores of underground water) in the San Joaquin valley in the USA are being drained at the rate of 500,000,000,000 gallons/year to produce meat

18% of all agricultural land in the world is irrigated & as global warming increases (partly due to animal farming) it will cost $200,000,000 to keep these systems going

The water used to produce a 1000 lb beef steer is enough to float a Destroyer battleship

The liquid waste from the various parts of the meat & dairy industry flow into the rivers & from there into the seas polluting them & encouraging huge algal blooms to grow


To produce 1calorie of energy from meat takes 60 calories of petrol, whereas growing grains & legumes to directly feed people produces 20 calories for each calorie of fuel used ( thats 1200 times more efficient)

Meat & dairy farming uses billions of gallons of oil to run tractors, fuel ships & lorries (to move animal feed & animals), pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields & run slaughterhouses, power refrigeration units to prevent the corpses from decomposing & to power sewage plants to clean up some of the pollution produced

Cattle convert only 6% of their energy intake (mainly grains & soya) into flesh, the remaining 94% is wasted as heat, movement (which is why they keep many animals in very close confinement), hair, bones, faeces etc

1lb of beef takes 1 gallon of petrol to produce

A family of four eating beef for a year uses enough petrol to run a car for 6 months (obviously depending on how far you drive!)

If the full ecological cost of meat was passed onto the consumer - the price would be quadrupled (at least)

The EC spends �100,000,000's to subsidise animal production resulting in lakes of unwanted milk & mountains of unwanted meat & butter. This money could be better spent encouraging organic fruit, vegetable & grain production

In the USA in 1979 145,000,000 tons of crops were fed to cattle resulting in only 21 million tons of animal bodies - the cost of the wasted crops was $20,000,000,000

Between 1950 & 1985 grain production in Europe & the USA increased massively but 2/3 was fed to animals

70% of all grain is fed to animals

Eating vast quantities of animal flesh, eggs, milk & butter is a luxury that most of the planet can not afford


Fishing with drift (and other modern) nets weakens & destroys ecosystems by indiscriminately killing billions of sea creatures & disrupting the sea bed

Fishermen's nets kill 10 times as many other animals as the fish they are hoping to catch

Fish caught in nets die an agonising slow death of suffocation

Each year 15,000,000,000 land animals are slaughtered for food & an unknown but much larger number of sea creatures (including 1000's of dolphins caught accidentally)

Chickens are crammed into battery cages with up to 3 other birds, they are unable to even spread their wings & many can not even stand up

Unwanted male chicks (because they can't lay eggs) are gassed or pulped while their sisters go to the battery sheds

Chicks are debeaked without anaesthetic to prevent them injuring each other in the unnaturally confined conditions they are kept in - this is equivalent to having your fingernails pulled out without anaesthetic

Modern farming methods using growth hormones & artificial lighting mean that many chickens out grow their bones, resulting in fractured & broken legs

Sows are kept tethered in stalls 1.3 x 1 metre on concrete or slatted floors - they can not even turn around

Poultry raised for meat are kept in windowless broiler sheds, with around 20-30,000 in each shed, they live in an area of 10-20 cm square - fighting due to overcrowding is common & like battery hens they commonly suffer from supperating bed sores

Broilersheds are artificially lit 23 hours a day to produce rapid growth

Animals travel between farms & to slaughter in overcrowded transporters with no food or water - resulting in stress, injuries & deaths - legal requirements are widely ignored

95% of poultry suffer injuries before being killed & 30% suffer broken bones

Problems with stunning practices mean that many animals have their throats slit while still conscious (around 6% of cattle or 200,000 per year) & are then dipped in tanks of scalding water (to loosen feathers, bristles etc.) again while fully conscious

4000 animals die spurting their blood out every minute in a British slaughterhouse

Calf leather comes from animals killed at just 2 weeks old

Cows were fed on the ground up remains of other cows & sheep - the result is thought to be BSE (mad cow disease) in the USA cattle are fed partly on recycled plastic pellets

Cows only give milk for 10 months after they have a calf - so they are routinely artificially inseminated (ie. mechanically raped) to keep them pregnant & milking - their calves are taken away (usually at 12 hours old) for meat or export to veal crates

Cows would naturally live upto 20 years but are slaughtered after 5-7 years when their milk production begins to fall

In the UK animals are killed by first being stunned with electricity or a captive bolt gun (ie. a bolt is fired into their heads) before having their throats slit & being plunged into boiling water - all this happens on a production line with the animals being hung upside down from a moving conveyor belt - this is factory farming

"Animals are those unfortunate slaves & victims of the most brutal part of mankind" - John Stewart Mill (philosopher)

Veal calves are confined in stalls in the dark, unable to move & are fed on pigs blood , chocolate & dried milk (we are drinking the rich fresh milk of their mothers)

Cows naturally produce 5 litres of milk per day for their calves - under the intensified systems of modern farming they produce 25-40 litres per day - resulting in swollen & inflamed udders - at this rate they are soon worn out

Large areas of land are under monoculture to grow crops to feed to animals - these areas are wildlife deserts supporting fewer & fewer species.


Vegetarians have a 20% lower rate of mortality from all causes (ie. they live longer & don't get sick as often)

Meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones, toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten

Fish contain heavy metals & other pollutants -many of which originated on farms

The world health organisation recommends a diet low in saturated fat, sugar, salt & with plenty of fibre - exactly what you get on a vegan/vegetarian diet

Farmed animals contain upto 50% saturated fat in their bodies

Vegetarians have 24% reduced risk of getting heart disease & Vegans a 57% reduction (heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK accounting for 50% of deaths)

Obesity is rare in vegetarians, obesity is related to many diseases

Vegans & vegetarians have lower blood pressure & cholesterol levels - high levels are associated with heart disease, strokes & kidney failure

Vegetarians have a 50% reduced risk of dying of diabetes

Vegetarians have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A,C & E

Vegetarians have a reduced risk of developing gall & kidney stones

80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat (faeces, bacteria etc.) after all meat is decomposing flesh - most of the rest is due to salmonella in eggs

Osteoporosis due to calcium loss from bones is mainly due to the sulphur content in meat & casein protein in milk that cause calcium to be lost in the urine - the countries with the highest meat & dairy consumption are those with the highest levels of brittle bones

50% of people do not have the enzyme to digest milk properly & milk allergy is related to asthma & eczema

Meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimers disease as Vegans & Vegetarians - some people also think that Parkinsons disease is also linked to meat eating

Egg yolk is a dense concentration of saturated fat & the white is high in albumin protein associated with leaching calcium into your urine. Butter is 80% saturated fat, cream is 40% saturated fat & cheese is 25-40% saturated fat

Meat eaters are two and a half times more likely to get bowel cancer than Vegetarians

The cling film used to wrap meat in supermarkets & butchers contains chemicals linked to falling sperm counts in men

Chinese people (living mainly on a vegetarian diet) consume 20% more calories than Americans but Americans are 20% fatter

Of 2,100,000 deaths in the USA in 1987, 1,500,000 were related to diet (ie. meat & dairy)


If you've read this far, I hope that you are beginning to see that the Meat & Dairy industry is a major contributor to misery on this planet. It is destroying the health of people in rich countries, starving those in poor countries, it is torturing & killing billions of animals every year and in the meantime it is one of the major factors in the destruction of the environment - so what does the meat & dairy industry have to say in it's defence?

Note: ARC is @nti-copyright throughout - Copy and distribute any part as you wish.


  1. Hi Bonnie :)
    This is a tough one. I was a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian for 12 years. When I got pregnant with my son for some reason I was craving chicken so I started eating chicken again. I just felt stronger when I went back to having the extra lean protein. Still don't eat red meat but I do eat organic chicken and fish in small amounts. I think it is terrible what they do in most slaughter houses and hen farms. I think it's great that you are drawing attention to these issues. Maybe if people don't fully give it up they will consider limiting their intake for a more healthy planet and a more healthy them too :)

    Peace and Love to You, Bonnie!

  2. I have gone nearly vegan - fish very infrequently. No dairy, meat or eggs. Amazing how well it works for well being. It has helped my sinus condition.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this very important set of statistics. I knew some of them, but learned a great deal. My daughters are vegetarians, one is vegan. The new statistics with meat being a directly related to cancer are just one more reason to give up animal protein.

    Great post!

  4. Yes, I read through it all. Back in the very early 80's I studied at the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and was introduced to the full benefits of a balanced vegetarian eating program. It has become a way of life that has resulted in well being, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I use the term 'balanced vegetarian eating program' for in total it was and is more than a 'diet.'

    When researching the ill effects of toxic chemicals, toxic pesticides and fertilizers, upon health, growth and development of children, much of what you have posted here came up in the research.

    For the readers that are yet meat eaters do not take offense. You too, can reconsider the benefits and the trade-offs and come to an intelligent decision. You will be pleasantly surprised on how clean and good food can feel and be when violence and slaughter is not part of its existence.

    Thank you Bonnie for a most informative post - one to deeply consider.

  5. Kelly (ChicGeek): I think you are right. It is a balanced approach that is necessary. People need to look into it, assess it, and then make the changes they can if they choose.

    Apparently, even eating 3 meatless meals will do much to save forests from being cut down and limit pollution in the air and in our waters from breeding stock for food.

    I really don't like to make this into some sort of 'religion' - I prefer to think of it as a greener and healthier approach to living.

  6. Leslie: My husband and I are doing the same. We eat fish a couple of times a week. We have cut out dairy (except for goat cheese and goat milk) and I feel that has made a big difference for me with some health issues.

  7. Nancy: My daughter who had cancer last year has become vegan - and is enjoying the process and feeling better because of it.

    If people want to read about the latest research on the health dangers that come with ingesting animal protein, check out The China Study or Food Revolution.

  8. Barry, Brian & Sherry: I had some trouble posting this evening - actually I had no intention of posting at all! Somehow one of the pieces I had on tap re vegetarianism got posted by accident and before I discovered it - the 3 of you had commented. It was not the post I wanted - so I deleted it and replaced it with the above. Unfortunately your comments were deleted too. If you come back, I hope you will be kind enough to try again!! :)

  9. Rose Marie: Thank you for your comments. I, too, hope those of you who are meat eaters do not take offense. I bring no judgment to your choices. It is a personal choice. I just wanted to offer up information that some may not be aware of. What you do with the information is entirely your business.

    When we find something good that works for us, we like to share it and that's what I and those commenting here are doing.

    Perhaps we will also receive comments with a different point of view. That's the point of feedback and exchange. I'm happy to hear whatever you think.

  10. Most of this I knew..but seeing it all in one place ++ is shocking and nauseating!! I have been slowly going vegan as much as I could afford this last year and feeling better all the time!! Wonderful eye opening post hon! Thank you for sharing this! Hugs, Sarah

  11. And No. 1: we can't harm those little piggies! I think you really covered it all, Bonnie. We're a country of meat consumers with resultant high blood pressure, overweight, and heart disease. And it's just not that painful to change! Great awareness post.

  12. An excellent post, Bonnie. I agree that there are only good reasons to be vegetarian, but confess to the basest of reasons for not doing so - ignorance and laziness! I have a few vegetarian recipes that satisfy my taste for intense flavours, but not enough to keep me going for even a week. Have you a cookbook to recommend?

    I'm not very optimistic about the western world becoming any less dependent on meat than it is on oil, though.

  13. I am cooking more and more vegetarian dishes and I am enjoying them so much more than the meat dishes. My mother cooked mainly vegetarian when we were at home but mainly because she could not stand touching or cooking meats. It's harder with my husband because he was raised as a meat and potatoes boy and he will look for the meat every single meal. I'm going to win him over but I doubt it will be completely. It's shameful the kind of waste our world produces when producing food products. It's better to keep it simple.

  14. Sarah: Thank you for your comments. The facts are distressing, aren't they? My daughter and I have found it is more expensive to do it a bit, rather than to go 'whole hog' (excuse that awful expression - should not be allowed in this context!!) because eating vegetarian foods is expensive and so is meat. When you cut the meat out entirely then that $$ can be spent on the healthier alternatives.

    Of course, the more of us who eat animal-free, the more the prices will come down. But, it is happening - look at how soy milks, tofu, etc. have taken up there own shelves in all supermarkets.

  15. Margaret: No it isn't all that hard to change. I did have to spend a bit of time wrapping my mind around it - reading up on it - re-thinking our usual menus. I also had to empty my cupboards of unhealthy foods and make one big shopping excursion to stock the cupboards with vegetarian cooking supplies. That was expensive, but it is a one time thing. After that you will purchases things slowly, as needed.

    For me the new way of eating was not so hard - it was the new way of thinking and planning around eating that I found challenging, at first.

  16. Deborah: Well, avoiding animal products is good for our health - and that personal reason might impact more on people's decisions than on oil.

    I felt exactly the same. I have other interests now - and like the expertise I had developed in the kitchen - it required no thought. Now I am back to reading recipes again, reading labels, learning new ways to combine things. So you are right - you do have to embark on a re-education program - and it will require effort at first.

    A great cookbook I just received via amazon is "The Conscious Cook" by Tal Ronnen. Great tips, pics and lucious recipes.

  17. Cathy: Yes, it is hard to change entrenched habits that are full of good memories and feelings. It soothes us to eat the foods our mothers prepared - even if they are not good for us.

    To realize that industrialized meat production is a greater cause of global warming than oil and coal consumption was the big motivator for me. That and realizing that casein in animal products is a carcinogen - those were the two wake-up calls for me.

  18. oh, what a great post! you know, while we all have heard these bits of information - it it not as often that we have them compiled at one time in front of us - all of which gives the WHOLE picture of it all- sobering to think of, very sobering, indeed - it is up to each of us to assume responsibility not only for ourselves but for others and for our planet!

  19. Don't even get me started! I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and have never looked back. My husband just read an article to me yesterday that men with prostrate cancer when fed a vegetarian diet, had the cancer DISAPPEAR in 3 months! Living in a farming and ranching community, I see how the livestock is raised with hormones etc as well as the crops sprayed relentlessly for this or that. It certainly makes one want to go organic (certain products are not true organic but comply to the FDA)and vegan for sure!

  20. Alicia: You have to get "The China Study" - he outlines the UNBELIEVABLE benefits to our bodies and to our dear planet of not consuming animal or dairy products. "The Food Revolution" and "Anti-Cancer" are also good books to read on the topic.

    I am amazed at how many people who have responded to this post are already vegetarians or partially so. It is no longer just some hippy, kooky, fringe faction of society that is aware of the profound benefits of such a change in thinking and lifestyle. No wonder more and more great products are becoming available. But we have to continue to voice our preferences!!

  21. I think the responsible thing to do is buy your food locally, even meat, or 'grow' it yourself. We seldom eat much meat because it's so expensive, but when we do it's locally raised or hunted. Great, informative post, Bonnie. Blessings!

  22. Yowser! What a rude awakening that is! There is NO WAY to convince my husband to become a vegetarian. But I JUST told him this week that we are going to start eating healthier - fish at least once a week, more veggies, etc. Baby steps, you know?


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