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Live and let live
Fifty six billion farm animals are killed in the United States each year. They are slaughtered mercilessly, taken away from their loved ones inhumanely, and cut down ruthlessly in pieces just for one simple reason – to feed us. Being a vegetarian since childhood, it hasn't been really hard for me or my family to stick to this diet. “How do you manage to resist meat? Once you start eating meat – you won't be able to quit it,” and “Do you eat leaves if you don't eat meat?” are some of the hilarious questions I am often asked. Beans, Vegetables, cheese, fruits, and so many other options are out there. I am a vegetarian because of my religion. But, a lot of modern Hindus eat meat; it's really rare to find one who doesn't these days. Not all Hindus or Indians are vegetarians. It's a choice that one makes. This choice could be based on a desire to save the animals or a bigger perspective – the Planet. This choice could be based on religious reasons, and this choice could simply be based on a dislike of the taste. I am a vegetarian because of religious reasons. It has gone on through many generations of my family and we do not plan on changing it. Is a small Cheeseburger really worth killing another living being? A Vegetarian Diet is rewarding for us AND the planet because it can do the following: help in rescuing a billions of animals and their species around the world and enriching for our own health.
Imagine your baby going missing and the next thing you know is that it has been killed… or just imagine if your baby has been slaughtered right in front of you. How would you feel? Yes, this is what happens to thousands of animals’ everyday or to say a billion a year. Animal Consumerism is not new – it has been happening since centuries. As stated in an encyclopedia reference source written by Robin Kline, “Domestication and hunting of animals is not a new thing and evidence shows that it also occurred in all the seven continents between 7,000-10,000 B.C.E” (“Mammals”). They ate animals because their options were limited then. This was the Paleolithic era where people were mostly nomads. They didn't have anything more nutritious and filling other than meat. They only had animals and fruits as their options. But we have so many options today like the following – Soy, Fruits, Vegetables, Cheese, Butter, etc. As stated by Gary Steiner, a Philosophical Professor at Bucknell University, “Animals were made closely with the God's eye and have all rights to live and expand their kind” (“Animal, Vegetable, Miserable”). This statement is significant because the article in The New York stated that People often eat their meat without thinking about the most important question – where does their meat come from? Was the animal cleaned nicely? Did the animals have a good quality of a lifetime before they turned into anyone dinner? Today, nobody tends to think about these crucial questions. Life of these poor animals matter just as our life does! As stated in the reference entry written by Donna Maurer, a Sociology Professor at Cornell University, “The second biggest reason why people started becoming a vegetarian was because of the harsh treatment of the farm animals” (“Vegetarianism”). The second reason stated in this source was because of religious purposes. Another strong statement that was found in an article written by Jane Laura, a researcher from Harvard University said, “To produce 1 pound of beef, the friendly neighborhood farmer will need 13 pounds of grain and an estimated 2,500 gallons of water. If a 1,000-pound cow yields 600 pounds of beef, that cow used 1.5 million gallons of water and 7,800 pounds of grain. So, on a basic level, farming at this scale is pretty inefficient, when you could effectively feed thousands of people with just the grain and water it takes to produce that one cow” (“Your Meat Addiction Is Destroying The Planet”). It's crazy how so many resources are being used from an animal to feed the population. We take so much from these animals and in return give nothing! It's becoming a one-sided relationship. It was found in the same article that “Since the 1990s, the possibility of growing animal cells in a lab by using stem cells has become a viable prospect. NASA spent the early 2000s working with turkey stem cells, and the first edible specimen — cultured goldfish cells — was successfully produced in 2002. In the United States, the effort to grow meat in a lab has been most vocally supported by Jason Matheny” (“Your Meat Addiction Is Destroying the Planet”). This proves that the slaughtering of animals to consume meat isn't required. Scientists are growing all these cells in the research labs and people can get these modified products which are not good for their health. This is bad for our health since we are getting processed food and not fresh meat. There is a simple solution: STOP ANIMAL CONSUMPTION. So many animals are being killed just to feed our self-serving stomachs. A Vegetarian Diet can protect these animals.
Does a Vegetarian Diet give all the nutrients, proteins, and keep our health safe that a diet including meat does? According to Kehumile Mazibuko, a Japanese researcher “Becoming a Vegetarian can help our health and keep our blood pressure in control” (Vegetarian Diet helps in keeping Blood Pressure in control). Mazibuko held a research where 21,000 participants and researchers concluded that a Vegetarian Diet can be held responsible for a decline in blood pressure. In an article I found in Opposing Viewpoints in Context named “Vegetarian Diets can be problematic” written by Victoria Reiner Anisman, “Vegetarianism comes with hazards—like vitamin B and protein deficiency — that must be prevented for a meat-free diet to be a healthy one” (Vegetarian Diet Can Be Problematic). In simple terms, this statement means that the people who don't eat meat don’t get the same proteins and nutrients that a meat-eater gets. This is wrong because there are so many vegetables, fruits, and other products out there that can provide a person with the same nutrients that a person who eats meat can get. The following are some meat alternatives that can give us the same proteins:
Why eat meat and kill all those animals if we can get the same proteins by these Vegetarian options that don’t require any living sacrifice. People also have a misconception that a Vegetarian Diet is not as nutritious as a diet containing meat and can make them weaker, prone to diseases much quicker, and doesn't have the same “taste” that they want. As stated by Victoria Reiner Anisman, a holistic practitioner in Toronto, “A Vegetarian diet can make people weak and obsessed to sugar.” (A Vegetarian Diet can be Problematic). She states in this article that a Vegetarian Diet can make a person weak and makes them eat more sweets or dishes that contain a lot of sugar. Does every Vegetarian dish have sugar in it? It's a choice of a person to put sugar in their food and it has not been proven that every vegetarian is obsessed with sugar. Millions of meat eaters can be seen equally eating those delicious candy canes, chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. “Certain meat alternatives such as Yogurt, Cheese, Butter, and Cultured Cream can be used for consumption and can give the same proteins as meat” (Mammals). These meat alternatives are used in dishes in place of meat so it can be as nutritious and give the same amount of fats and proteins to a person that meat can give. A person wouldn't be weak if they're getting the same amount of proteins that a meat-eater gets. Not every vegetarian is weak (including myself). According to Robert Kiener, an award winning writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, and Time Life Books said, “Major health problems are caused by meat, high level of calories, and sugar.” (Food Policy Debates). He states in the article that meat can cause certain diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, and heart diseases. On the other hand, Kehumile Mazibuko, a Japanese researcher states “A Vegetarian Diet is responsible for lowering the risk of Cancer”. (Vegetarian Diet helps in keeping Blood Pressure in Control). A person can stay healthy and get the same nutrients and save the animals at the same time by switching into a Vegetarian Diet. Risks of certain serious diseases are lowered, same levels of proteins and nutrition is consumed, and you can get the same “taste” that you like by adding the alternatives.
A Vegetarian Diet is healthy and a Vegetarian Diet can save not only a thousand but billions of animal species around the world. A Vegetarian Diet can save our Mother Earth by saving all the species residing on it. Don't restrict yourself from eating meat completely but – eat it occasionally. There are three types of Vegetarian Diets – Lacto Vegetarian, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, and Flexitarian. These three don't stop you from eating meat but only limit your options. Just think about the horrible conditions of the animal or imagine the animal living peacefully with its family and then suddenly a hunter coming and slaughtering it right in front of its family before you take the first bite of your Cheeseburger. Is it really a beautiful sight? Just because they can't speak, doesn't mean we are superior to them and can do anything to them. We are superior just because we have evolved and made such great achievements, but we should use this credibility in a useful way by saving and protecting them. Fifty six billion animals are being killed every year just to feed our self-serving stomachs. So, in the end I would like to ask you one question: Is all the meat really worth it?
"Food Policy Debates: CQR." CQ Researcher, Robert Kiener, 3 Oct. 2014. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.
Harbolics, Betty Kovacs. "Vegetarian and Vegan Diet: What's the Difference?" Vegetarian and Vegan Diets, edited by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, New York, MedicineNet, 2015. Medicine Net.com. Accessed 8 Apr. 2017.
June, Laura. "Your Meat Addiction Is Destroying the Planet." The Verge [London], 13 Aug. 2013. The Verge. Accessed 6 May 2017.
Kline, Robin. "Document - Mammals." Mammals, edited by Solomon H. Katz, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003, pp. 443-50. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.
Maurer, Donna. "- Document - Vegetarianism." Vegetarianism, edited by Solomon H. Katz, New York, Charles Scribner's son, 2003, pp. 488-91. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Mazibuko, Kehumile. "Vegetarian Diet Helps in Keeping Blood Pressure in Control." News Tonight [New Delhi], National ed., 25 Feb. 2014. Health Reference Center - Academic. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
Reiner, Victoria Anisman. "Vegetarian Diets Can Be Problematic - Opposing Viewpoints in Context." Disadvantages of Going Veg: A Diet to Those considering the Health Impact of Vegetarianism, edited by Christine Watkins, Greenhaven, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.
Steiner, Gary. "Animal, Vegetable, Miserable - The New York Times." The New York Times [New York], 21 Nov. 2007. The New York Times. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.