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Great American Meat Out Day or Why I don't eat meat

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March 20 is the Great American Meat out Day. It’s a day to show how easy a wholesome, compassionate and green a diet can be. Consider choosing this day to go meat free. You could also go meat free once a week on Meat out Mondays, or begin a meat free lifestyle by becoming vegan or vegetarian. I’ve pledged to do the latter, and I have four main reasons why. Here they are:

1. Fight World Hunger

  • A total of 925 million people don’t have enough to eat. That’s more than the populations of the U.S., Canada, and the European Union combined. This year, 2.6 million children will die of malnutrition.
  • Every 12 seconds a child dies from a hunger-related disease. That’s 7,100 children a day.
  • 40% of corn and 67% of soy in the U.S. is fed to farmed animals.
  • It takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat. If people were to eat the grain itself, an entire village would be fed instead of only one family.
  • Using an acre to raise cattle for slaughter gives people only 20 pounds of meat. That same amount of land would grow 365 pounds of protein rich soybeans, and 17 times more people could be saved from starvation.

2. For Personal Health

  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegetarians and vegans enjoy a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and lower body mass indexes, as well as lower overall cancer rates.
  • The ADA concludes that vegetarian or vegan diets “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
  • Well-planned vegan diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy foods.
  • Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses such as the flu. Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.

3. It’s Humane

  • Animals on factory farms are treated like meat, milk, and egg machines. Chickens have their sensitive beaks seared off with a hot blade, and male cattle and pigs are castrated without any painkillers. Farmed chickens, turkeys, and pigs spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses; many of them so cramped that they can’t even turn around or spread a single wing. They are mired in their own waste, and the stench of ammonia fills the air.
  • Animals raised for food are bred and drugged to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible—many are so heavy that they become crippled under their own weight and die within inches of their water supply.
  • Animals on factory farms do not see the sun or get a breath of fresh air until they are prodded and crammed onto trucks for a nightmarish ride to the slaughterhouse, often through weather extremes and always without food or water.
  • Many die during transport, and others are too sick or weak to walk off the truck after they reach the slaughterhouse. The animals who survive this hellish ordeal are hung upside-down and their throats are slit, often while they’re completely conscious.
  • Many are still alive while they are skinned, hacked into pieces, or scalded in de-feathering tanks.

4. For the Planet

  • As the world’s appetite for meat increases, countries across the globe are bulldozing huge swaths of land to make more room for animals as well as crops to feed them. From tropical rain forests in Brazil to ancient pine forests in China, entire ecosystems are being destroyed to fuel humans’ addiction to meat.
  • Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide together are the cause of the vast majority of global warming. Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on for the same period of time.
  • Each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water.

There are more in-depth details in each category that a simple web search will reveal. But the bottom line is you will be contributing to great causes by living a meat free lifestyle.

By just going meat free today - the Great American Meat out Day - you will prevent 8,000 animals from being killed, 3.7 million square feet of forests from being destroyed, and 10,500 doses of antibiotics from being misused on farms. Imagine how much more you can prevent by going meat free once a week (Meat out Mondays) or every day.

Click here and check out the official Great American Meat out Day site to learn more and take the pledge to go meat free for one day a year, 52 days a year, or 365 days a year.

Also, check out Meat Out's video: 10 Billion Lives. (Not for the extremely sensitive).

Stay up to date on the latest in green activism. Amanda Carlucci has her finger on the pulse of the green movement. Click here to subscribe to her column (it's anonymous and free). You CAN make a difference. Be a part of the movement.

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