Food choices have become complicated and even more so when we bring emotion, dogma & attachment to these choices. Like The Chicken or Egg What Was First? All arguments over Vegetarianism Vs Meat Eating can also end up heated & in a circular path.
The ultimate choice to be or not to be is ours.
For both plants and animals there is a stasis of being alive and not being alive. Our food choices should therefore be focused on minimal waste and misuse of lives around us.
Vegetarianism - Pros
1. Human anatomy has evolved to support a primarily vegetarian diet
Carnivores have large mouths, pointed canine tearing teeth’s & short intestines all suitable for meat eating & digestion. Humans have short and flat, non tearing teeth & long intestines that support vegetarian diet.
2. Vegetarians live longer
Eating red meat is shown to increase risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Studies on Vegetarians have shown that life expectancy increases by 7.28 years for men and by 4.42 years for women upon consumption of no meat diet.
3. Vegetarian diet lowers risk of certain diseases
Diets high in animal protein causes excess of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid in body which are responsible for kidney stones, gall stones & gout.
A vegetarian diet also lowers the risk of heart disease & stroke. Vegetarians have 24% lower mortality from heart disease than meat eaters. A vegetarian diet also helps lower blood pressure.
Eating meat increases risk of getting type 2 diabetes. A vegetarian diet rich in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy proteins helps to improve glycaemic control in people who already have diabetes.
Diets high in animal protein are associated with a 4-fold increase in cancer death risk compared to high protein diets based on plant-derived protein sources.
Despite rants of Vit B12 Deficiency caused by Vegetarianism - One must understand that Vit B12 Is produced by Colonic Bacteria’s & that the pickles, papads, fermented foods n sprouts so often included in Indian vegetarian diet are all good source of Vit B12.
4. Eating fish is not healthier than eating other animal protein sources
The US EPA states that nearly all fish and shellfish are contaminated by methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin from industrial pollution.
The omega-3 fatty acid -> ALA found in walnuts, flax Seeds, mustard seed and Olive oil are sufficient to meet the dietary needs of humans & is converted by body into EPA and DHA, the essential omega-3 acids found in fish. Thus, eating Vegetarian diet does not devoid of essential fatty acids.
5. Vegetarian diet is environment Friendly
Overgrazing livestock hurts the environment through soil compaction, erosion, and harm native plants and animals.
Vegetarian diet conserves water. Producing one pound of beef takes about 1,800 gallons of water, about 576 gallons per pound of pork, about 468 gallons per pound of chicken.
Raising animals for food contributes to air and water pollution. Animal wastes produces toxic hydrogen sulphide and ammonia which pollute the air and release poisonous nitrates into nearby waters.
People living near Animal husbandries often have respiratory problems - asthma & bronchitis from hydrogen sulphide and ammonia polluting air.
A vegetarian diet leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are created by enteric fermentation, manure decomposition, and deforestation to make for grazing animals and growing feed.
6. It Is Cruel and Unethical to kill animals for food when vegetarian options are available
Animals have fully developed central nervous system, have emotions and social connections. Cattle, pigs, chickens and all warm-blooded animals can experience stress, pain and fear. These animals should not have to die painfully and fearfully to satisfy an unnecessary dietary preference.
Animals reared for meat live in filthy, overcrowded spaces with little or no access to pasture, natural light, or clean air. Pigs have their tails cut short, chickens have their toenails, spurs and beaks clipped, and cows have their horns removed and tails docked with no painkillers.
Pregnant pigs are kept in metal gestation crates barely bigger than the pigs themselves.
The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act mandates that livestock be stunned unconscious before slaughter to minimize suffering but is seldom followed & chickens are exempted from this.
Animals slaughtered in pain & fear release stress hormones & Cortisol’s and these reach in human body upon meat consumption & are detrimental to human Health.
Vegetarian to be or not to be an individual's decision but can't we all be little more considerate towards other lives on planet that go through same fear & stress that we would to go through if we were to be slaughtered?