July 31, 2013

6 Reasons Why I am Breaking Up with Meat—Again. ~ Sandra Zimmerman

And this time, I mean it!

I debated with myself for some time about whether or not it was necessary to write a piece on the perils of meat consumption. There is already so much information circulating out there, with so many people expressing their passionate opinions on the subject. What could I possibly contribute that hasn’t already been very well said?

In the end, I decided that the person who needs to read this the most is me.

For a few years, I have been trying on and off to cut animal protein from my diet. What it comes down to is I have been lacking the willpower and determination to follow through with my beliefs and do what I know is right. One positive is that in my failed efforts to eliminate meat, I have greatly reduced the amount that I consume and have discovered some delicious alternatives. This has given me some degree of confidence that it can be done.

The greatest challenge in my quest to abandon my carnivorous ways is the feeling that I am walking against traffic. My family members are not willing to participate in this with me, so I still have to prepare meat for them, while at the same time coming up with satisfying alternatives for myself. It’s not that my family and friends don’t care about animals or the earth, instead, I have come to believe that they are just creatures of habit.

Anyone I have ever discussed the topic with completely agrees with my reasons for not wanting to eat animals that have been raised and killed for food. But, they believe that even if they stop eating meat, it’s not going to make a difference, so they might as well continue to enjoy it. (I feel the need to insert here that people used to say the same about recycling 20 years ago.)

Then, they inevitably add in a caveman-like voice “And meat tastes good,” politely signaling that the conversation is over.

Shamefully, for the most part, I have just been giving in and following what everyone else around me is doing because it is less work and less friction that way.

It wasn’t until recently when I read some alarming facts about the amount of the earth’s resources that are used up in the production of animals for human consumption, that my flame was re-ignited.

However, I have been down this road a few times before, and it appears that I am somewhat weak in my follow through. For that reason I knew that I needed to make a personal list of the top reasons why, in order of importance for me, I am finally going to break up with—and stay broken up with meat.

The following list is going to live on my refrigerator door as a constant reminder and inspiration to make sure I stay on track this time.

1. Statistics for the impact of meat production on the environment scare the bejeezus out of me!

  • Livestock account for a higher share of greenhouse gas emissions than all transport—cars, trucks, planes, airplanes and mopeds.
  • The total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet. Much of this land was once forest before being converted to pasture.
  • The U.S. livestock population consumes more than seven times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population
  • More than two-thirds of all agricultural land is devoted to growing feed for livestock, while only 8 percent is used to grow food for direct human consumption
  • All the fertilizer, tractor fumes, transportation, ground tilling, that go into producing a pound of grain are multiplied by 4.5 to produce a pound of chicken, or by 20 to produce a pound of beef
  • Run-off from fertilizer is creating Dead Zones in the oceans
  • Agriculture irrigation accounts for 85 percent of the fresh water use in the United States.
  • Producing one pound of animal protein requires 100 times more water than producing one pound of grain protein.
  • Global meat production is expected to more than double between 2000 to 2050, due in large part to rising demand in China and other developing nations.

2. I don’t want the world to starve to death.

From the above stats, it is apparent that we are sacrificing way too much in order to satisfy our taste for meat. All of the land and resources that are used to “grow” meat could be used to feed the world many times over—at a price that all can afford. And there would still be plenty of land left over to convert back to sustainable forests and natural habitats to support the other equally worthy creatures of the earth.

3. I believe that all animals have a soul.

And I don’t believe that we have the right to enslave animals and make them suffer, just because we enjoy their taste. It was different back in the days when eating meat was a matter of survival and animals actually had the chance to avoid ending up as dinner. Now we have other options and we can afford to be more compassionate.

4. It’s getting harder to digest the cost of meat.

On the days when I buy mostly produce, my grocery bill is pretty reasonable. When I buy meat it skyrockets. And when I look at a package of meat in the store, I wonder, “how can it be this expensive for what I am getting?” But the reality is, North Americans pay way less for meat than people in other parts of the world have to shell out. Does it really taste that good?

5. I get a bad feeling deep down inside.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my body is less tolerant of less than ideal conditions. Or maybe my yoga practice is making me more aware of what is happening inside. In any case, eating meat doesn’t feel good.

6. I’m trying to raise my vibration.

Okay, so this is the new-age freak in me coming out to play now. You either understand what I’m talking about or you don’t. So I’ll leave it at that.

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Asst. Ed: Tawny Sanabria/Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: via Pinterest}

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