On average, the United States consumes around 478 billion pounds of meat, or 270 pounds per person, every year. U.S. citizens are the second largest consumers of meat in the world. Recent studies  by the USDA and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey have displayed an array of health defects directly associated with meat and animal product consumption.

 

Not only is it noticeably harmful to human’s health, but animal agriculture is destroying the planet, with livestock being the main contributor to environmental issues such as climate change and rainforest deforestation. Diets such as vegetarianism and veganism have been directly linked to many health benefits, and may be more than just an ethical response to arguably the Earth’s most critical environmental issue.

 

 

The U.S. is a nation of meat eaters and is also rated as one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. Over two thirds of American adults are considered obese or overweight, which can be related to the amount of animal products being consumed. A recent study done by NHANES revealed the consequences of eating meat, eggs and dairy and how diets high in these substances could be as harmful to a person’s health as smoking. The researchers found:

“High levels of dietary animal protein in people under 65 years of age was linked to a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes, and almost double the risk of dying from any cause over an 18-year period, researchers found.”

 

However, the harmful effects shown in the study were almost entirely diminished when the protein from animal products was swapped out with plant based protein, such as beans and legumes. Conspiracy debunked: people do not need to eat meat to be healthy.

 

The livestock industry is destroying the planet. Here on Earth, there are enough plant-based food resources to feed the entire population of the planet; unfortunately, most of these resources are being depleted by livestock. 40 percent of the world’s land surface is being used for livestock — this means half of the planet is being used for animals harvested for our consumption. Around 80 percent of the Amazon rainforest destruction is due to the clearing to make room for cattle. It is also one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases in the air that we breathe, causing global warming and dramatic climate changes. It emits more harmful substances into the air each year than all of the transportation pollution combined.

 

Awareness of the horrible consequences that come from eating meat is spreading rapidly. Action needs to be taken to dramatically decrease the amount of environmental issues associated with factory farming. Not only is a change in people’s diets beneficial to themselves, but it can also make a huge impact on the environment.

 

What do you think of vegetarianism and veganism? Let me know by leaving a comment below or tweeting me @julimiller97.