Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ethics and Vegetarians

Many non-vegetarians and some vegetarians alike question
whether being a vegetarian really makes any difference
at all. Some bring up blurry ethical situations to make it
impossible to see a vegetarian lifestyle as ethical.

If you are a prospective vegetarian for ethical reasons,
but you aren't sure whether or not a vegetarian lifestyle is
really a more ethical choice, here are a few statistics
from EarthSave to help you make your choice (for
or against):

1. Over 1.3 billion human beings could be fed each year
from the grain and soybeans that go to livestock in the
United States.

This means that the entire population of the United States
could be fed (without losing any nutritional value) and there
would still be enough food left over to feed one billion
people.

In a world where millions of people die each year of
starvation, that type of food excess and inefficiency
could be considered unethical.

2. Livestock in the US produces roughly 30 times more
excrement than human beings. While humans in the US have
complex sewage systems to collect and treat human waste,
there are no such systems on feedlots. As a result, most
of this waste leeches into water.

This means that large-scale, massive production and
slaughter of animals is not only unethical, but it also
causes serious environmental degradation.

3. It takes 7.5 pounds of protein feed to create 1 pound of
consumable hog protein; and it takes 5 pounds of protein
feed to create 1 pound of consumable chicken protein. Close
to 90% of protein from wheat and beans is lost to feed
cycling.

This means that a huge amount of resources are
dedicated to producing wheat and soy just for the purpose
of feeding it to animals, which will be slaughtered as "a
source of protein"--even though they only provide about
1/5 of the amount they consume.

Not only can the production of meat be considered an
injustice against animals, but it can also be considered an
injustice against human beings, as well as the environment
in general.

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