9 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat in Honor of Earth Day
There are tons of psychological reasons why many people still eat meat, from cultural affiliations to early formed habits, flavor preferences and more. Whether you’re flirting with vegetarianism or reaffirming your commitment to the cause, here are a handful of reasons to stop eating meat in honor of Earth, and everything that inhabits it.
Eating meat is downright bad for the environment. From water pollution to deforestation, our country’s meat consumption is wreaking havoc on Mama Earth. A 2009 study found that 80 percent of Amazon deforestation was linked to cattle farming, and factory farming methods are a notorious culprit for water pollution.
Eating meat can kill you. From heart disease to colon cancer, numerous studies have shown the deadly dangers of a meaty diet. Frequent meat consumers aren’t the only ones who should be worried. A Harvard study concluded that just one serving of red meat a day increases the risk of early death by 13 percent.
Eating meat kills endangered animals. Cows and chickens aren’t the only ones at risk from our society’s carnivorous appetite. Researchers at Florida International University uncovered that meat consumption is the number one cause of species extinction due to habitat removal. Next time you order a burger, think about your furry friend the panda.
Eating meat depletes precious fossil fuels. Forget driving cars. Meat consumption is what takes up the majority of our fossil fuels. To make matters worse, meat consumption is an inefficient use of these precious fuels. It takes eight times the fossil fuels to produce meat than to produce plant-based proteins.
Most meat is infested with bacteria. Because of our large-scale factory farming practice, the majority of the meat consumed across the country is riddled with bacteria. A 2013 report by the FDA found that of all the meat tested, 81 percent of ground turkey was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Pork chops came in at a gross second, with a 69 percent infestation rate. Ground beef ranked at 55 percent and chicken brought up the rear with 39 percent.
Meat consumption is unsustainable. “Sustainability” has become a major buzz word, from coffee to chocolate and everything in between. Despite the interest in becoming more sustainable, many fail to realize (or choose to ignore) that eating meat is one of the least sustainable things you can do. The large amount of energy meat production consumes has been shown to contribute to global warming, as well as a loss of important biodiversity, soil erosion, grassland destruction and more.
Meat consumption contributes to world hunger. Wait what? That’s right. While an estimated 56 million acres of land are producing feed for livestock, only 4 million are growing veggies for human consumption. A simple shift could equal much more food for the world population.
Meat contains harmful hormones. What does Europe know that we don’t? When it comes to meat consumption, the answer is, a lot. The European Union has repeatedly stated they want nothing to do with U.S. beef because it is pumped full of harmful, synthetic hormones known to increase risks of breast and prostate cancer. Yikes.
The easiest way to help out our planet is to cut meat from our diets. However, for many giving up meat completely is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Reducing your daily consumption and consuming more consciously can help—but not as much as quitting, pardon the pun, cold turkey.