Save the Humans

DROUGHT CALIFORNIA CATTLE

A few years ago, I was talking with Al Gore (yes, I’m name dropping). I asked him a very simple and pointed question: “Animal agriculture contributes about 18 percent of the gases that cause climate change. Why didn’t you mention this in your book or movie?”

His answer was disconcertingly honest. I’m paraphrasing, but he said: “For most people, the role of animal agriculture in climate change is too inconvenient of a truth.”

We like our animal products.

Well, you like your animal products. I’ve been a vegan for 28 years, so to be honest I don’t even remember what they taste like.

But collectively, as a species, we seem to like animal products. A lot.

To wit: Each year, the U.S. grows and kills about 10 billion livestock animals. Globally, we’re raising and slaughtering about 56 billion animals animal agriculture each year. If you do the math, that means we’re killing 1,776 animals for food every second of every day. That doesn’t even include fish and other seafood.

But even though I’m a vegan for ethical reasons, I don’t want to write about the animal ethics of animal agriculture. I want to write about the ways in which animal agriculture is killing us and ruining our planet.

I know, that sounds like left wing hyperbole. “It’s killing our planet!” But sometimes hyperbole isn’t hyperbole. Sometimes hyperbole is just the clear-eyed truth. I’ll start with climate change.

The U.N. released a conservative report wherein they stated that animal agriculture causes about 18 percent of current greenhouse gas emissions.

To put it in perspective: animal agriculture is responsible for producing more climate change gases than every car, boat, bus, truck, motorcycle and airplane on the planet. Combined.

But we like our animals — or at least growing and eating them. So we make the trade-off: animal products for climate change.

Climate is complicated. And climate change is complicated. But the role of animal agriculture in climate change is simple.

And how about famine? There are over 7,000,000,000 people on the planet, and many of them are very, very hungry. Article after article and book after book ask the question: “How will we feed a planet of 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 billion people?” The discussions turn to fertilizer and GMOs and arable land.

But here’s a painfully simple idea: stop feeding human food to livestock.

It takes around 15 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef – which can feed a couple people for a few hours. In comparison, 13 pounds of grain fed to humans directly can feed 13 people for most of the day.

“We’re killing 1,776 animals for food every second of every day.”

Globally, we don’t have a famine problem; we have a livestock problem. Feeding food to animals and then eating the animals is kind of like heating your house during the winter by burning wood outside.

Speaking of winters: a few years ago, tired of cold winters in New York, I moved to California. Last year in L.A., we had around 362 beautiful days of sunshine. It was 80 degrees on Christmas, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Which is great, apart from the fact that California and most of the West are now experiencing the worst drought in recorded history.

As Californians, we’ve been asked to take shorter showers and use less water on our lawns. Both are good ideas. But let’s put it in perspective: a long shower uses around 40 gallons of water. Whereas it takes 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to create a 1/3 lb hamburger.

More than 90 percent of the water in California goes to agriculture. Some agriculture is very water responsible. It takes about 216 gallons of water to make one pound of soybeans, for example.

But other agriculture is egregiously water intensive – including rice and cotton, but especially animal agriculture. Each pound of chicken requires about 500 gallons of water, and pork requires about 576 gallons of water.

“Personally, I’d like to make a deal with California. I’ll take much shorter showers if you stop subsidizing water use for livestock.”

Personally, I’d like to make a deal with California. I’ll take much shorter showers if you stop subsidizing water use for livestock. If I just jumped in the shower and bathed quickly, I could even get it down to five gallons of water per shower. And after 132 showers, I would’ve used as much water as is needed to create one pound of beef.

So we’ve established that having an estimated 56,000,000,000 livestock animals on the planet uses a lot of water and grain and creates a lot of methane and carbon dioxide.

But these billions of animals also make waste. The really disgusting waste, not just invisible climate warming gases.

Let’s put this in perspective: the good people of Philadelphia create roughly1,000,000 tons of urine and feces per year. And one, only one, large pig farm will produce roughly 1,600,000 tons of urine and feces per year.

“One large pig farm annually creates 600,000 tons more urine and feces than the city of Philadelphia.”

Our lakes and rivers are being fouled with algae blooms. Our groundwater is being polluted. And the main culprit is livestock.The 56 billion livestock animals on the planet are making tons and tons of feces and urine every year — three times as much as humans.

And, in addition to fouling our water supplies, it’s also fouling our homes. A University of Arizona study found more residual feces and waste in the average omnivores kitchen than in their toilet bowl. Largely due to meat into the home.

The animals spend their lives in their own feces and urine, and when they’re killed and packaged, they bring their feces and urine with them. Into your home. They also bring pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, cholesterol and saturated fat.

To that end: if we collectively stopped eating animals and animal products tomorrow, studies suggest we’d see a drop in obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

“We don’t have a global health epidemic; we have a global livestock epidemic. “

We don’t have a global health epidemic; we have a global livestock epidemic. Toomuch of the western world health care budgets go to curing people of diseases caused by the consumption of animal products.

And I’m not going to toot the vegan horn too much, but vegans have significantly lower rates of obesity, diabetes and some cancers.

When I talk to people about animal agriculture and meat eating, people often say, “But meat is inexpensive.” And it is. But only because it’s so heavily subsidized by our tax dollars. In the United States, we spend billions of dollars every year in direct and indirect subsidies to the meat and dairy industries. Billions of dollars in our tax dollars, subsidizing a product that ruins our environment and decimates our health.

We subsidize the grain that’s fed to livestock. We subsidize the water that’s used in livestock production. We, the taxpayers, subsidize animal agriculture.

And what do we get? We get climate change gases. And we get trillions of pounds of animal waste that fouls our lakes and rivers and reservoirs. We get an end product that causes cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

And, saving the best for last, we also get zoonotic diseases.

“Zoonotic” is a fun and fancy sounding word. It sort of sounds like a very erudite part of a zoo, where the animals read books and live on boats. But zoonotic diseases are not fun or fancy. Some zoonotic diseases you might be familiar with: E.coli, Salmonella, SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola and even some old standards like smallpox and the common cold.

Zoonotic diseases come from animals, and, in many cases, from animal agriculture.

Luckily, thus far, we’ve been able to treat most zoonotic diseases with antibiotics. But here’s the rub: animals on factory farms are so sick, and in such bad shape, that antibiotics are all that’s keeping them from dying before they’re slaughtered. The animals are fed obscene amounts of antibiotics while they’re alive, and these antibiotics are then found in their milk and their eggs and their meat.

When you’re eating an animal, you’re eating the fat and the muscle but you’re also eating all of the antibiotics the animal has been fed during its life.

The double whammy of zoonotic diseases coming from animal agriculture: animals are the source of the zoonotic diseases but they’re also the source of antibiotic resistance. So the zoonotic diseases can kill us, especially as animal agriculture has created superbugs who don’t respond to conventional antibiotics.

That’s the fun world of animal agriculture.

A simple re-cap:

Animal agriculture:
Uses tons of grain that could be fed directly to people
Uses tons of fresh water that could be used to grow healthy food
Creates tons of urine and feces that ruin our lakes, rivers and drinking water
Creates about 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
Contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer
Causes epidemic zoonotic diseases
Contributes to the creation of antibiotic resistant “super bugs”
And is heavily subsidized by our tax dollars.

As a species, we are faced with complicated and seemingly intractable problems. And then we’re faced with animal agriculture.

So rather than focus on the hard, intractable problems (like curing baldness) let’s simply focus on something easy with phenomenal benefit: ending animal agriculture.

All we have to do is stop subsidizing it and stop buying animal products. Simple. And climate change gases are reduced by about 18 percent.

Famine could end. Fresh water could become clean and more abundant. Deaths from cancer and heart disease and diabetes and obesity could be reduced. And zoonotic diseases could be largely reduced.

It really is that simple.

We’ve done hard things in the past. We’ve ended slavery. We’ve given everyone the right to vote. We’ve passed legislation prohibiting children from working in factories. We’re even moving towards a time when cigarette smoking will be seen as a foul, distant memory.

We can do this. We have to. Our reliance on animal agriculture is literally killing us and ruining our climate and our planet.

I’ll end by quoting Albert Einstein:

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” -Albert Einstein

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/moby/moby-meat_b_5889850.html?1412009893

SANE AND SELFISH REASONS TO NOT EAT PIECES OF ANIMALS

1. IT IS ENERGY WISE

Meat production requires 10 to 20 times more energy per edible tonne than grain production and has as high as a 54:1 protein inefficiency ratio (units of plant protein required to produce a single unit of meat protein) [6]. Each cow raised requires (directly and indirectly) 90 to 180 litres of water a day and passes 40kg of manure per kg of edible animal tissue. A study by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 1kg (2.2 pounds) of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometers, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days [4].

Protein rich beans require only fertilization, water and land, with very little maintenance.

Once grown, there’s a long list of energy expensive processes required to turn animals into legally consumable food; from transporting them to the abottoir, slaughtering them, cutting them into pieces, sanitizing and packaging the pieces (usually in plastic) and then delivering the result to shops where they are refrigerated until sale. Refrigeration alone is extremely energy expensive. Suffice to say very few people would be able to eat animals today were it not for this sprawling, around-the-clock, energy infrastructure.

The process required to turn beans, grains and nuts into pantry-apt food is minimal and has an extremely long shelf life, no need for energy expensive refrigeration.

2. GOT KIDS? IT IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTMENT IN THEIR FUTURE

‘Livestock production’ uses more than 30% of the earth’s entire arable land surface, with beef ranches driving 60-70% of Amazon deforestation today[5a][5b]. Conservative forecasts assume that over half of all arable land on earth will be dedicated to the production of cow parts, cow milk, chicken and pig parts by 2050.

Soya has 4 times more calories than red meat so the amount of soy that could be grown using the same amount of land would feed far more people than if used to raise cows. More so, a diet based around animal tissue requires 7 times more land on average than a plant-based diet yet (somewhat ironically) much of the meat eaten world-wide is raised on soya grain. 94% of all soy grown in America, for instance, is fed to livestock rather than people directly. Only 2% of all soy grown in the U.S. is eaten by people with soy based fuels consuming the remaining 4%) [14]. This makes American meat eaters the primary drivers of soy bean monocrops in that country. The trick here is to eat the bean before it gets to the cow. The more cows, pigs and chicken eaten, the more competition there is for wooded land. The more demand for animal parts, the more monocrops there are, significantly threatening the biodiversity upon which we all depend.

Agriculture has negative secondary effects. The Earth is increasingly saturated in animal waste, far more than it can readily process. Animal waste from agriculture accounts for 50-85% of all ammonia found on land and in water, contributing significantly to acid rain and air pollution worldwide [15].

According to The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, livestock production is at the heart of almost every environmental stress confronting the planet: rain forest destruction, growing deserts, loss of fresh water, air and water pollution, acid rain, floods and soil erosion. [5]

3. THE FISHING INDUSTRY IS DESTROYING OCEAN LIFE

Hard to believe, given that we were all told the ocean is apparently abundant and endless, but it’s true: 40% of the worlds oceans are considered by experts to be detrimentally affected by fishing. According to an FAO estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either exploited to unsustainable limits or depleted.[7]

Species such as the Blue Fin Tuna are now endangered alongside 69 other species of fish in abundance just decades ago [8]. It is safe to say many of the fish species eaten by children today will be facing extinction by the time those children become adults.

The global harvest for fish has more than quadrupled since 1950, from 22 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes over the same period. The environmental cost is already unimaginable, along with a real threat for consumers’ health from the unnatural conditions of inland fish farms. A detailed account of both kinds of production can be found here and here.

If you like the ocean it’s a good idea to stop funding the industries that harm it. It appears too late to hope that regulation and reform will drive a shift to less destructive methods, let alone waiting hundreds of years for coral reefs and underwater ecosystems to heal. You can help slow the decay by not eating fish. If this seems unimaginable then learn to catch fish, one at a time, with a hook and rod. This has a significantly lower environmental impact than any other modern means of catching fish.

4. QUITTING ANIMAL TISSUE IS GOOD FOR YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE

Meat eaters generally consume more than twice as much protein as they need, increasing likelihood of kidney failure, cholesterol, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, stress. [9]

Legumes, especially soybeans, contain the largest percentage of protein among the vegetable foods and are in the same range as many meats. If legumes are a central part of a person’s diet, there will be plenty of enough protein in the diet with no need for animal-tissue. For example, one cup of cooked soybeans contains approximately 20 grams of protein; that is equivalent to three hot dogs, a quarter-pound hamburger, three 8-ounce cups of milk, three ounces of cheese.

On the other hand, industrially produced meat and fish is famously full of nasty things, from bleaching agents to antibiotics, responsible for allergies, resistance to medicines, fatigue, dehydration and a long list of cancers. Seehere and here.

‘Food animals’ consume 80% of all antibiotics produced in America [10a][10b][10c] and at least 45% in the European Union in order to combat the illnesses they get when fed grains (cows and pigs didn’t evolve to eat corn and beans) and those from intensive farming.

Antiobiotics fed to animals are almost always in the same medical group as that of those fed to humans, and so when bacteria develops a resistance to antiobiotics on a farm it cannot be fought when encountered in people. This is the history of most epidemcis (like E-Coli) threatening modern human life.

Many scientists consider antibiotic-resistant bacteria to be the greatest threat to humans on the planet today.Grass-fed, ‘organic’ animal parts are no guarantee of safety either due to it so very often coming into contact with industrially produced animal parts.[10b]

Antiobiotics from animal parts also end up in the bodies of those that consume them, alongside doses of hormones known to have significantly detrimental impact on people, especially children [11][12]. The hormone Oestradiol 17ß, used widely by major exporters of cow pieces, is considered a complete carcinogen. It exerts both tumour initiating and tumour promoting effects.

The eating of meat affects other people, contributing significantly to food shortages worldwide. In the U.S., animals are fed more than 80 percent of the corn and 95 percent of the oats grown. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food once estimated (Gold and Porrit) to be equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people, more than the entire human population on Earth. Instead, a vast proportion of the world’s forests have been felled to grow the grains fed to cattle. A report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change considers agriculture to be the single most prevalent cause of deforestation throughout human history [13], depleting world oxygen supply, threatening and/or extinguishing animal and insect life, tipping surrounding ecosystems and devastating indigenous communities and their cultures.

Consider also the impact on supplies of freshwater. To produce 1kg of feedlot beef requires 7kg of feed grain, which takes around 7000 litres of water throughput to grow. The demand for water to grow food to feed cows is resulting in vast areas of arid, dying land throughout the world as water is pumped out to feedlot farms elsewhere. Data adapted from here.

While the increasing demand for ‘organic’ meat in 1st world countries has a less negative impact on the soil itself, cows still require water and cleared land on which to graze. More so, as organic meat cannot be grown as quickly as hormone engineered meat these animals consume more land and require a larger amount of plant matter over the course of a lifetime.

The Agriculture industry is full of many clever and well researched people, all looking to profit where possible: there would be more grass fed cows if it was as or more efficient than industrial methods. Replacing industrialised meat with grass-fed alternatives would rely on vastly greater rates of deforestation than currently experienced while prohibitively raising the cost of animal parts themselves (see Author’s note, below). ‘Organic meat’ is thus not a drop-in solution at the current rates of meat consumption. It is safe to say meat is no longer an environmentally or socially responsible source of protein at today’s population levels. It was ‘sustainable’ once, but not at all now.

If you are a person that believes it’s not possible to live without eating meat you may consider exploring a more immediate relationship with your choice of diet, with the origin of what you choose to put into your body. Rather than paying someone to kill on your behalf, find a local farmer and arrange to learn to kill the animal you select for eating, preparing the parts for transportation once done; the parts you freeze will last you a very long time.

Julian, one of the authors of this document, grew up on a small farm and attests to the awakening importance of taking direct responsibility for the choice to eat meat; selecting an animal, holding it down as it struggles, and then taking its life with a blade.

This is a perspective those that wish to sell you animal parts (and the large agricultural corporations they work for) would dearly rather you do not have.

A LIST OF INTERESTING CITATIONS TO RUMINATE UPON

“People who are comfortable with eating meat should be equally comfortable with killing animals.”

The Meat License Proposal

Meat and fossil fuel:

Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat were given a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry. [1]

Environmental degradation:

According to a 2006 report by the Livestock, Environment And Development Initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contributes on a “massive scale” to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. The initiative concluded that “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” In 2006 FAO estimated that meat industry contributes 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gasses. This figure was revised in 2009 by two World Bank scientists and estimated at 51% minimum.[3]

Meat production and food shortage:

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States. [4]

94% of all Soy grown in the United States is fed to livestock rather than people directly. [14] 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report summary:[5]

  • 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock (more than from transportation).

 

  • 60-70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon now hosts cattle.

 

  • Two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems, come from cattle.

 

  • The livestock sector accounts for over 8 percent of global human water use, while 64 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025.

 

  • The world’s largest source of water pollution is believed to be the livestock sector.

 

  • In the United States, livestock are responsible for a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources.

 

  • Livestock account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife, in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity.

 

  • These problems will only get worse as meat production is expected to double by 2050.

REFERENCES

1. How meat contributes to Global Warming. Scientific American, 2009

2. Williams, Erin E. and DeMello, Margo. Why Animals Matter. Prometheus Books, 2007, p. 73.

3. The Environmental impact of Meat Production, Wikipedia page

4. New York Times analysis.

5. Livestock’s Long Shadow, UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2006.
5a.Deforestation in the Amazon

6. U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestockNews.cornell.edu. 1997-08-07. Retrieved 2010-05-01.

7. Overfishing: a threat to marine biodiversity

8. Guardian report on Compass ban of fish in restaurants

9. Meat and Health, UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.

10a. Farm Animals Get 80 Percent of Antibiotics Sold in U.S.
10b. Politics of the Plate: Drug Bust, Barry Estabrook, 2009
10c. Whether you buy grass-fed or ‘natural’ meat safety isn’t guaranteed

11. Meat hygiene 10th edition, Von J. F. Gracey, D. S. Collins, Robert J. Huey, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1999.

12. Barnard ND, Nicholson A, Howard JL. The medical costs attributable to meat consumption. Prev Med. 1995;24:646-655.

13. UNFCCC (2007). “Investment and financial flows to address climate change”. unfccc.int. UNFCCC. p. 81.

14. GMO Inside Blog

15. Ammonia Emissions and Animal Agriculture, Virginia Tech.

N/A. A favourite meat-free recipes blog. Here’s another and another.

This page was written by Marta Peirano and Julian Oliver.

UPDATED: 16.02.2014

Source: http://julianoliver.com/sane/

Ironically, Climate Change Marchers Line Up to Buy Meat, Fish & Dairy at Parade

News & Opinion

Wearing t-shirts with slogans like “Climate Justice Starts Here,” hundreds, if not thousands, of Climate March participants in NYC lined up at food trucks at the street fair after the parade to buy meat, fish and dairy products, demonstrating either a lack of awareness or disregard for what the United Nations says is, by far, the number one contributor of climate change and the planet’s biggest polluter, animal agriculture.

How can the nation’s leading enviromental groups expect the general public to make eco-friendly choices if their own members engage in the most environmentally destructive activity — and if they themselves don’t promote a plant-based diet? Can we really expect world leaders at this week’s United Nations’ Climate Summit to take drastic measures to reverse climate change if “environmentalists” can’t take the most basic one?

At Climate Change marches around the world, plant-based/vegan participants displayed compelling posters and distributed information about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and their efforts will assuredly effect some change. However, as evidenced in the groundbreaking documentary film Cowspiracy, animal agriculture must be eliminated altogether in order to reverse climate change and save the planet.

A Slaughterhouse Nightmare: Psychological Harm Suffered by Slaughterhouse Employees

A Slaughterhouse Nightmare:
Psychological Harm Suffered by Slaughterhouse Employees and the Possibility of Redress through Legal Reform

Jennifer Dillard

“The worst thing,, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. . . . Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them—beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.”

—Ed Van Winkle, hog-sticker at Morrell slaughterhouse plant, Sioux City, Iowa

I. INTRODUCTION

What’s the true cost of a hamburger? To the consumer, it’s anywhere from under a dollar to, say, ten bucks in a fancy burger joint. But to the slaughterhouse workers, as many Americans are aware,1 the cost of your hamburger includes the financial and physical hardships of the slaughterhouse work itself.

However, less publicly discussed or understood is the psychological trauma inflicted on slaughterhouses workers.2 Not only do the employees face serious physical health hazards daily, but they also experience, on a daily basis, large-scale violence and death that most of the American population will never have to encounter.3 This article will discuss the psychological harm caused by slaughterhouse work and will propose several methods, including OSHA reforms, workers’ compensation, and expansion of tort doctrine, by which the legal regime can prevent the harm from occurring and can compensate the employees for their psychological injuries.

READ MORE HERE (Download PDF file)

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1016401

Meatonomics: The Bizarre Economics of the Meat & Dairy Industries

The meat industry in the United States is big business: The vast majority of Americans eat meat, and we eat a lot of it–roughly 200 pounds per person every single year (in animals, that’s about 30 chickens, 1 turkey, one-third of a pig, one-tenth of a cow, and dozens of fin fish).

And although per capita consumption has fallen in recent years, we’re still eating far more than our parents and grandparents–including six times as many chickens per capita as were consumed in the 1930’s.

Now, for the first time, we know how much our national meat habit is costing us: Roughly 414 billion dollars annually in external health, environmental, and animal welfare costs, according to a superbly researched new book, Meatonomics, by California attorney David Robinson Simon.

2013-09-03-animalfoodproduction.jpg
Courtesy Meatonomics.com.

If those costs were incorporated into the price, according to Simon’s analysis, animal products would cost almost three times as much as they do today. With the true costs included, consumption levels would plummet.

Simon stresses that his figures are conservative: Because his estimates are limited to those supported by published research, he necessarily omitted some costs that have gone unmeasured in the scientific and economic literature. For example, Simon’s numbers on health care assign only a fraction of the heart disease tally to meat, even though we know that a low fat vegan diet will reverse the disease for almost everyone who has it.

His numbers on the environment look at lost property values due factory farms destroying local environments and carbon offsets, but of course, the external effects of warming are far greater than the value of the offsets, and property values can’t capture the fact that these industrial farms destroy communities and ruin lives.

Finally, his quantification of the cruelty meted out by these industries discusses just five meat industry abuses–such as cramming pigs and chickens into tiny crates where they never spread their limbs or go outside–and relies on consumer willingness to pay to get rid of them. It’s an impressive analysis, based on work published by Oxford University Press and carried out by agricultural economists from Oklahoma State University, but of course these are the sorts of things that defy valuation.

The fact that $414 billion is conservative is in no way a problem with the book, of course–the real figures are incalculable, and conservative figures are more than adequate to accomplish Simon’s task of explaining that the USDA’s promotion of meat, and the lack of inclusion of external costs, mean that Americans consume vastly more of the stuff than we would if we were paying the true costs.

Simon’s solution comes in three parts: An excise tax on all products that contain animal ingredients, a tax credit for every American (basically giving back most of the tax revenues), and a reformulation of the USDA’s mission away from promoting the consumption of animal products to instead promote the public health.

The tax and subsidies are proposals that should be supported by all sides of the political spectrum: Progressives should love them for their positive impact on human health, the environment, and animals. Conservatives should love the consumption focus, as well as the tax relief and reward of responsible behavior.

Though enacting Simon’s proposals will require a steep climb, Simon makes his case persuasively: The meat industry is harming our health, destroying our environment, and abusing billions of animals annually. As he notes in discussing prospects for his plans: “Change does happen, often in swift and surprising ways.”

Meatonomics deserves a prime spot in the library of everyone who cares about the politics of food.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/meatonomics-the-bizarre-e_b_3853414.html

Best Speech

Here is a speech from Gary Yourofsky that is very straight forward and to the point, I recommend listening to what he has to say, very informative and factual ( between the 16th minute to the 20th minute mark there is some graphic content). 

If people don’t understand or find “Veganism” extreme or laughable, I urge everybody to watch and share this speech and the documentary “earthlings” before starting another conversation about veganism. It is not a “trend” a “fad” or “elite”it is a stance against abuse in every form, not only animals, but human beings too. It is about love, compassion and acceptance. 

 

Rollingstone – In The Belly of the Beast

Sarah – let’s call her that for this story, though it’s neither the name her parents gave her nor the one she currently uses undercover – is a tall, fair woman in her midtwenties who’s pretty in a stock, anonymous way, as if she’d purposely scrubbed her face and frame of distinguishing characteristics……

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists#ixzz37TV4OakO

 

Meat the hidden culprit of climate change

 

Several cows stare into the camera
PHOTO 

Moving to a completely meat-free diet would go a long way to tackling climate change.

PHIL WALTER: GETTY IMAGES

Most of us agree that action needs to be taken to address climate change, but when it comes to moving to a meat-free diet to drastically reduce emissions, suddenly we’re not so keen, writes Ruby Hamad.

The cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said, “It is easier to change a man’s religion than his diet.” It is also, apparently, easier to change the entire world’s energy production.

Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, “Mitigation of Climate Change”, citing fossil fuels as the biggest source of emissions, with coal, oil, and natural gas the major culprits.

However, the panel also implicates animal agriculture, noting that“changes in diet and reductions of losses in the food supply chain, have a significant, but uncertain, potential to reduce GHG emissions from food production.”

Seventy per cent of agricultural emissions come directly from livestock – and about 37 per cent of total worldwide methane emissions – and it is clear that moving away from animal products is not just potentially significant but downright necessary.

The IPCC findings come hot on the heels of another study, “The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets”, published in the April edition of Climate Change.

The study’s lead author argues that targeting the fossil fuel industry alone is insufficient because “the agricultural emissions … may be too high. Thus we have to take action in both sectors.”

In 2010 a UN report, “Priority, Products, and Materials” concluded that, “A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

That report puts agriculture’s global emissions at 14 per cent, and while not giving an exact figure, the researchers warn that “animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives”. Subsequent research suggests emissions from livestock and their by-products may be much higher (even as high as 51 per cent). Even if we err on the side of conservatism and stick to the lower UN figure, it still indicates that agriculture is responsible for more emissions that all means of transport combined.

No one who cares about the threat of climate change is ignorant of the importance of renewable energy and a reduction in energy use. So why do we still have our collective head in the sand about the need to change our diet?

In an impassioned tirade against Earth Day (April 22), which he dismisses as emblematic of “the culture of progressive green denial”, The Nation’s Wen Stephenson calls for radical action, namely, “physically, non-violently disrupting the fossil-fuel industry and the institutions that support and abet it … Forcing the issue. Finally acting as though we accept what the science is telling us.”

I don’t know what Stephenson’s food habits are but, ironically, in a piece railing against denialism, he does not mention meat consumption once. It is rather extraordinary how we acknowledge the need to address climate change and then carry on with those very activities that are causing the damage in the first place.

While some media outlets do report on the link between animal agriculture and global warming, they also undermine the urgency by featuring stories on, for example, how to include bacon in every meal – including dessert. TV channels flog reality shows glorifying high levels of meat consumption, and fast food outlets compete to see who can stuff the most meat and cheese into a single, fat-laden item.

All as scientists warn of the need to move away from dependency on animals as a food source.

When those of us who are concerned by the devastating effects of animal agriculture raise the issue, somehow the focus shifts from saving the planet to respecting personal choice, as if the choice to eat certain foods is sacrosanct.

We have to compromise our personal preferences every day in the interests of public safety. Smoking prohibitions, speed limits, alcohol restrictions, even initiatives promoting recycling and “green” household products all affect our choices.

But, for some reason, requesting people reduce their consumption of meat is taken as a personal affront to their very being. Humans have been eating animals for so long, and in such large quantities, we think we are entitled to their bodies, regardless of the consequences.

Clearly, our dependence on fossil fuels has to change but it is quite remarkable that we actually consider restructuring our entire energy system as an easier and more viable undertaking than simply altering our food habits.

The Guardian’s food writer Jay Rayner unwittingly demonstrates this in his reaction to a University of Aberdeen study that found a worldwide adoption of a vegan diet would reduce CO2 emissions by a massive 7.8 gigatonnes. But, rather than take this on board, Rayner chooses instead to shrug his shoulders, declare that “the world is not going vegan any time soon” and condemn “self-righteous vegans” for “making airy proclamations about the way forward when [they] have no power whatsoever to make it happen”.

But why don’t we have the power to make it happen?

Even if we don’t all go completely vegan, surely the takeaway is that everyone should eat less meat and more plants, and not just on Meatless Mondays?

It’s easy to point the finger only at fossil fuels because this requires no major personal sacrifice. We can pin all the blame on big corporations, demand policy change, and then feel good about ourselves by declaring on Facebook that we are against dredging the Barrier Reef and we don’t support fracking.

But meat is different. Meat means we have to change. It means we have to sacrifice something we enjoy, something we believe we are entitled to. And most of us simply aren’t willing to compromise that entitlement, so we pretend that the idea of a worldwide shift to a plant-based diet is simply too ridiculous to contemplate. That’s if we even acknowledge the crisis at all.

So we sign petitions and attend demonstrations. Some of us even drive less, take shorter showers, and use eco light bulbs. But nothing it seems, not even the looming threat of environmental catastrophe, could compel a significant number of us to simply change our diet.

Ruby Hamad is a Sydney-based writer and filmmaker. View her full profile here.

 

Source: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-28/hamad-meat-the-hidden-culprit-of-climate-change/5414894

EGO vs ECO

Superiority


ego_vs_ecoHumans have always believed that they are superior to all other beings and still continue to have this ideology to this day. They think they are superior to other species, genders, religions, races, etc. We’ve seen this behavior of superiority within spousal abuse, women fighting for equality, the Holocaust, lynching’s of African American’s in the western south, and even today with homosexuals. Why is it that we as humans are always mistreating the other beings that inhabit this earth along with us? Why does man think he has the power to control everything and everyone around him?

Humans believe that just because we have always been “hunters and gatherers” that it is the way we are supposed to live. People think that humans cannot survive without meat, and that we are designed to be carnivores. That is a very false statement.

Not only do humans think they need to consume another creature to survive, they also find joyin eating them, hunting them, killing them, caging them, testing on them, torturing them, and many more. What makes an animal inferior to human? We consider cannibalism sick and horrendous, yet we justify eating other beings of this earth as normal? If a man was to go out into the city, the home of thousands of humans, and shoot one in the head, bring him home, cook him and eat him, the man responsible would be sent to a prison and most likely a psychiatric hospital. Yet man does this every single day to animals. When you put it in that perspective, it really isn’t that different, is it?

People ask, “Well if we aren’t supposed to eat animals, why did God make them taste so good?” I’d just like to point out that humans that eat other humans are probably thinking that same thing. Second of all, animal meat does not naturally taste good. If you were to murder a cow in cold blood and eat him right then and there, I highly doubt you think it would be “tasty” and “enjoyable”. In fact, you would most likely die from consuming raw meat. Doesn’t that right there say something about what we were truly designed to eat? We are not meant to thrive off of something that NEEDS to be cooked properly and have spices and herbs added to it just so we are able to consume it. Unfortunately, the animals that humans consume go through a brutal process from the minute they are slaughtered, to the minute they hit your plate.

It’s disgusting actually how humans do this. When you see a chicken or a lamb or pig or a cow on a farm, you see an animal. You see them eating grass, and interacting with each other. They were born, they have families, and they have feelings too. So when we look at these animals the way we do on a farm, why don’t we see them as food? We don’t go to restaurants and order ‘one pig’ or ‘one cow’. No – we have created these terms to help us cope with the fact that we are eating another being, so we call them things like steak, pork and bacon to make us feel better, and guess what? It does. When you call a cow a steak while eating it, you feel less guilty. You can justify what you are eating because now that it is on your plate, it is food, not an animal. Well you’re wrong – it’s still an animal, just as a human would still be a human no matter whose plate it is on. But we beautify the idea of eating dead animals, and slice them up into such thin, foreign shapes that we completely forget and become so disconnected from the fact that it was once a living breathing creature. We have expensive restaurants that sell expensive food like caviar and veal. We glorify the idea that eating a dead bird on thanksgiving is a delicacy. We consider it a treat to go out and dine at these fancy restaurants as we indulge in the meat of a dead animal; but no one thinks like that when they’re eating it now do they?

Yet when there are animal attacks – sharks, bears, lions, etc – that harm and kill humans, these animals must be taken away or killed by us because what they did was so horrifying. Yet it is 100% okay for humans to do it for them in clusters, make money off it, and enjoy it because they think it’s “human nature” and “the cycle of life”.

Why do humans get sent to prison and sentenced to be executed for killing another human being, yet millions of animals are slaughtered and nothing gets done about it. How is this legal? And yes, humans torture and kill other human beings as well; it’s not just animals who have this inevitable poor fate. The only difference is that this behavior of killing another human is considered illegal and is punishable to jail and execution. Yet millions of animals are being slaughtered and nothing gets done about it.

I wonder what humans would do if animals could talk. If when you looked into their eyes they spoke to you. If they pleaded to you not to kill them because they had a family to look after, or a loved one to see. Would humans still shoot them in the head and viciously slaughter them? Probably.

People have grown up eating meat and consider it so normal that they never really take the time to realize how un-normal it really it. What I consider normal would be growing a garden and picking your own fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and all the other foods that come from the ground, because that way, there is no violence and no one has to suffer and die. What I don’t consider normal is going out of your way to go and kill an animal, have to cook it’s meat (because you cannot eat it raw.. or you’ll get sick and die) and then eating it. I’m sorry if you consider that normal, but I sure do not.

Most people who argue that eating meat is acceptable usually say that they get their meat locally and that the animals they eat are raised and killed humanely. Okay, first of all, how can killing another creature be humane? You are killing it and taking away it’s life. Second of all, that is not my point at all. My point is not how you are getting your meat and if it’s a good or bad way – my point is that we are all creatures of this earth and mankind brutally slaughters other beings to consume, simply for pleasure. (We don’t need to eat animals to survive)

Man is not superior. I had a friend say to me once that we are smarter than animals, and I just couldn’t help but thinking how wrong that statement was. Dolphins and wales are one of the smartest creatures in the ocean. They can communicate with each other through vocal signals, non-vocal auditory signals, visual signals and tactile signals, meaning physical signals. Dogs are so smart that they can sense when it’s going to rain, or even when their owner has cancer. Can humans do such extraordinary things? I didn’t think so. How can someone say another species is lesser than them when they don’t even know what that creature is capable of? People think so little about animals just because they cannot understand their language – but imagine if they could? What would they say to us?

Many people want to be shielded from the reality of where their food comes from. They turn away and cannot watch cows being slaughtered, or chickens being thrown into grinders. If you cannot even watch that, than you seriously should not be eating it. Yes I have watched those videos and I am fully aware of all that happens to animals. But do I eat them? Not a chance. Seeing those videos is the exact reason I don’t. And I think people are afraid of seeing that because they love eating meat so much that they don’t want that precious idea of food to be ruined for them. And I do not eat anything that comes from animals either because the process to get cow’s milk or a chicken’s eggs is just as bad as eating their meat. The same thing goes for wearing fur and leather, or using products that animals had to be tested on and murdered for. You think that $500 jacket is nice and elegant? Think about where it came from next time you idolize someone for wearing it.

For our entire lives, we have lived in this room that had a bright light bulb, but the blinds were always kept shut. Who needs to open the blinds when having the light turned on is so convenient for us? But now I have reached out of the regular comfort zone of most people, and I have opened those blinds, and what I have seen and learned has shocked me in the worst ways possible. We live in this room thinking that life is perfect under this falsely lighted bulb, but it isn’t until we open the blinds and are greeted by the unpleasant surprise of what’s outside that we suddenly realize what has been going on this whole time.  We have grown up believing so many lies and it’s awful how because we were raised that way, everybody thinks that way is normal, and that being a vegan is the weird/abnormal thing. Most people choose to keep those blinds closed and ignore what is going on around them. Most people keep those blinds closed as they prepare their chicken and steak for dinner that night.

Health Factors


Not only is it morally wrong to eat another creature, but it’s not even healthy for us. Humans are not getting the message that putting dead animals and animal by-products into their bodies is not helping them at all. Obesity rates and heart disease have skyrocketed in the United States, yet people still aren’t getting the message that it’s all about what you put into your body. And I’m not just talking about McDonald’s and Burger King – any meat is bad to consume, heavily processed or not. You cannot justify that your meat is healthy because you raised it yourself. The fact is, humans are not natural born carnivores – we are physically not designed to eat meat. Cow’s milk has been said to be ‘full of calcium’ and ‘good for our bones’, when in fact,countries with the largest consumption of milk and dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis, which is the degradation of bones. Eating eggs increases your risk of prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, heart failure, diabetes, colon cancer, and many other diseases. “Eggs are the most concentrated common source of choline in the American diet, which may increase the risk of cancer emergence, spread, and lethality.” “Men who consumed 2.5 eggs or more per week had an 81% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer”.

foodinc2-jpgHowever no one would ever believe these facts because we have grown up being told that “eggs are a great source of protein” and “milk makes your bones strong” Well I am so sorry to break it to you but those are all lies told by the industry to make money. Adolf Hitler once said,

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Don’t fall into the trap of the meat and dairy industries- learn and educate yourself. The best way to get protein, calcium and all your other vitamins and nutrients are through plant based foods, especially leafy greens. “They are calling Spinach the new Steak for the high amounts of iron and vitamins found in it”.

Unfortunately, we have grown up in a world that only cares about money and profit. That means lying to the public about where their food comes from, labelling packages with false information, and telling lies to the citizens that the food they consume is healthy just so they can make more money.

vegetarian

Energy, Fossil Fuels, and Global Warming


which-earth-do-you-want-live-in2

Another big factor that comes with the consumption of animals is the amount of energy used to feed them, breed them, slaughter them, and eat them. “Livestock are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.” Humans are making this planet worse and causing more and more global warming per year just from the captivity and slaughter of animals. When will people realize this is the only earth we have – there is no planet B. We are living in the 59thminute of the hour that is earth and we don’t know how much longer that will last. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsd1IT7ySfE)

The warning about meat and the environment isn’t coming from crazed hippies. It’s coming from people like the head of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who has openly identified eating less meat as an important step in combating climate change. Why? Because cows are more damaging than cars. We put far more energy into animals per unit of food than we do for any plant crop. The main reason is that cattle consume 16 times more grain than they produce as meat,so right there we have 16 times as much energy just to grow those crops, just so we can waste them on livestock.

But the energy use doesn’t end there. The livestock themselves take energy to process beyond the energy that goes into their feed. And then there’s refrigeration, including during transport, necessary for meat but not for grains and beans. And then there’s the transportation itself.

Every year, millions of animals that are raised for food experience terrible living conditions on industrialized or “factory” farms.  These factory farms are large, profit driven companies which view animals as units of production, rather than living creatures, and put efficiency and profits ahead of animal health and welfare. Industrial farms push for the maximum production from the animals regardless of the stress this places them under and the resultant shortening of their lifespan

Since the food industry is rapidly growing, animals that were once raised on pastures are now raised in foodlot where they are kept indoors most of the year and given feed formulated to speed their growth. Animals such as cows, goats and sheep have stomachs that are meant to consume grass. However since farms can’t always provide grass, these animals are fed grain and corn which can produce serious fatal digestive tract problems. They also add chemicals to the feed which can accumulate in animal tissue, potentially exposing consumers to unwanted chemicals such as veterinary drug residues and heavy metals. They also use pesticides which ‘bioaccumulate’ or build-up in the fatty tissues of animals which exposes the consumer to these chemicals. Exposure to pesticide has been shown to negatively affect reproductive, nervous, and immune system functions, as well as increase the risk of developing cancer.

Conclusion


It doesn’t have to be this way.

A whole foods plant based diet is essentially the best way to live. I am trying not to be biased because I too once lived a regular lifestyle. I used to eat meat, cheese, milk, eggs, etc. and thought everything was okay. But once I educated myself on these things, I found out how wrong I was. I am by no means trying to shame anyone’s eating habits or put down anyone’s style of living. I am however trying to get my point across that we are all equal, and that we can help this planet.

Go to your local farmers market, shop in the organic section at the grocery store, or even grow your own garden! I promise you that those options are 10x easier than catching an animal, impregnating them, milking them, cooking them, killing them after their babies are born or their eggs are hatched and so on. Not only are you helping animals but you are helping the planet, and most importantly yourself. Your body will strive off of whole foods and improve much more than it would on an animal based diet.

I have read many articles, documents, textbooks, and watched documentaries to know that the information I am telling you can be backed up and proven. I am not just some crazy vegan girl trying to persuade everyone to live like me. I am trying to make a change in the world, and even if it’s a small change that only affects a few people, at least it’s starting somewhere, and a little change is better than no change.

Vegan

Sources:

The China Study

http://www.sustainabletable.org/260/animal-feed

http://www.sustainabletable.org/274/animal-welfare

http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/environment.html

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/environmental-health-reasons-dairy.htm#page=0

http://www.rense.com/general26/milk.htm

http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/11/19/why-are-eggs-linked-to-cancer-progression/

http://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/about-dolphins/dolphin-communication.html

http://www.youngagain.org/e7.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsd1IT7ySfE

Documentaries:
Earthlings
Vegucated
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Forks over Knives
Food Inc.
The Cove
Black Fish

 

Source: http://thecolourfulkitchen.com/tag/global-warming/