Let’s start by talking about how my vegetarian journey began. I didn’t initially become a vegetarian to save the animals; in college my friend actually talked me into giving meat up for Lent. I tried it for 40 days, and haven’t eaten a burger since. At the time, I had no idea that meat was bad for your health or the environment, I just thought I was saving cute, furry animals. As years have progressed, I have become more passionate about preaching the negative effects of meat. (Yes, I’m turning into one of those people). As you already know, I love the outdoors. I love forests, and oceans, and mountains. I can’t imagine losing our planet because people want to eat meat. Confused as to what I’m talking about? Let me shed some light on it.
This all starts with where we get our meat. Livestock is raised on land so they can graze, and then people can eat them. Obviously animals can only graze on certain types of land. I’ve never seen a cow grazing in a desert, or on a mountain, or in a jungle. It seems silly, but that actually presents a huge problem. We are running out of land for our cows. Did you know that 45% of the land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food? Am I the only one who thinks that’s crazy? Almost half of America is being used just so people can eat a burger. Animals aren’t the only things that take up space; the animals that people eat, need to be fed too. 260 million acres of forests in the U.S. have been destroyed to make land for crops to feed animals that are going to be slaughtered. According to PETA, “The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth.” I’m no expert, but maybe we can use that food to cure world hunger instead.
Raising livestock uses a large amount of land, but it also demands huge amounts of water. More than half of the water in the U.S. is used to raise animals that people eat. According to PETA, “It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.” Eating a meatless diet, puts much less pressure on the environment. The Union of Concerned Scientists ranks meat-eating as the 2nd largest environmental hazard on this planet. According to PETA, “Producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles.”
These aren’t the reasons that I chose to become a vegetarian, but they are definitely the reason that I have stayed one. I don’t expect that everyone reading this post, will become a vegetarian. I just want to help everyone become more informed about their lifestyle choices.
*Disclaimer: All facts and information on this page come from PETA. This post was created January 31, 2016; Stats and information may change as time progresses. All information for this article was found at The PETA Website .