May 12, 2009
By Luisa Vidales BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
Luisa Vidales BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The soft hairs on his body curled up like papier-mâché on a piñata. His weakened toes trembled as his body swayed back and forth. The shades on his eyes had encountered monotonous darkness. Though darkness and confusion often prevailed over his reality, his imagination often took him to green pastures. Suddenly loud banging on cold metal doors disintegrated the clouds formed in his mind. With a swift motion and a swirl of colors, his world turned upside down. Yelps and cries of agony poured from his mouth as streams of blood descended from his throat.

The Kosher slaughter, the name dubbed to the above murder, is widely practiced by the meat industry on cows and pigs. Mainstream society is reluctant to change; it is happy to conform to norms, yet this does not make it right. On the contrary, society should be open to change and view it as an opportunity for personal growth. One great step towards personal growth is becoming a vegetarian.
There is an extensive amount of arguments put forth by meat supporters or by the meat industry about why people shouldn’t be vegetarians. One common argument put forth by meat supporters is that a vegetarian diet is actually bad for your health and unnatural. The debate starts when it is implied that people will not get as much protein as they previously consumed from meat. They also claim that vegetarian diets don’t follow the natural order of things. They argue that the purpose of animal life is to feed humans.
Vegetarianism is good for the human body and it is the most natural diet that can be adopted. Lowered cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease and reduced risk of cancer are just a few of the benefits that can bloom from a diet rich in tofu. Tofu, made from the curds of soybean milk, is the most popular meat replacement consumed by vegetarians. Meanwhile, eating meat and meat products give humans greater health risks. For instance, meat-centered diets are most likely to cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension as well as other illnesses.
Abstaining from the consumption of meat is the most natural thing a human can do. Our bodies are not built to process meat. If one compares human bodies with carnivores, they discover convincing differences that indicate that humans cannot possibly be meat eaters. For example, analyze our stomach acidity; it is much weaker than that of animals. The reason for this is that animals use the acid to kill the bacteria that meat contains. According to the USDA, meat causes 70% of food illnesses in the US due to bacteria like E. coli. Dr. William C. Roberts M.D. summarizes it nicely, “…When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh was never intended for human beings…” In addition, observations have been made by meat industry workers about several cases of contaminated meat that have slipped into the food supply.
Another argument brought out by meat eaters is that vegetarianism is bad for society. They claim that there won’t be enough food for humans if we abolish the production of meat and other animal products. Their reasoning behind this is that animals will overpopulate and therefore give way to decreased food supply for humans and decreased natural resources. In addition, some have said that the planet will suffer if we all turn into vegetarians. The land will have to be shared with animals thus decreasing the amount of land available for humans. Vegetarians often favor organic vegetables and fruits. Some claim that organic foods contribute to pollution due to desperate companies fleeing to chemical filled manure in order to reach the increasing demand for the organic seal.
The previously mentioned statements and assertions are totally erroneous. Vegetarianism serves as a positive step towards eliminating world hunger. We spend so much money and valuable resources like grain and water to raise livestock for slaughter. Cows and pigs can barely walk due to their fatness yet we have 840 million people dying of hunger all over the world. This is an injustice that needs to be addressed and fixed. One step towards helping those who go nights without food in their tummies is by becoming a vegetarian. According to Compassion in World Framing, 16 pounds of grain equal 1 pound of edible of animal flesh. That’s ridiculous. Another startling fact: 356 pounds of soy protein are yielded from a single acre, using that same amount of land for animal slaughter may only raise 20 pounds.
Deforestation, air pollution and decreased amounts of available clean water are some of the environmental effects of the meat industry. Fast food places in this fast-paced world have become popular but does anyone stop and think of where that meat came from? If the cattle are raised on previous rainforest land, it takes 55 square feet of rainforest to yield one quarter-pound meat burger. We are raping Mother Nature of her beauty and splendor by taking her resources and turning them into camps of animal oppression and wastefulness. In the US, alone, 260 million acres of forest have been destroyed forever in order to support meat production.
Every cause has an effect. The effect of the lack of forests and land due to meat-centered diets is polluted air. Dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide contained in trees are released when people viciously chop them down to make way for the meat industry. Our clean water supply is also affected by meat diets. Three hundred and ninety gallons of water are wasted on one pound of meat while you can yield almost sixteen pounds of wheat with that same amount of water. The amount of water that it takes to produce food for a vegetarian for one year can only turn out food for a meat-eater for a month.
The answer to our environmental and world hunger problems doesn’t lie solely on vegetarianism but by becoming a vegetarian one may take the first step towards positive action against these issues. It’s no wonder that the human body is so apt to process plant products while it rejects meat; the body is signaling that it is healthy and natural to be a vegetarian or better yet, a vegan. Though I am a vegetarian, I learned quite a few more facts about the effects of a meat-centered diet. Compassion for all living beings inspired me to become a vegetarian but I now realize that vegetarians do more than save animal lives. Vegetarians serve humanity in reducing the bad consequences of meat by educating others about the truth behind the meat industry.
Vegetarians realize that we are all connected in some way or another, whether we have four feet or two; we are all in this world together and must learn to share and coexist peacefully in it.

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