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If the world stopped eating meat

BY HAYLEY SMITH

Have you ever thought about becoming a vegetarian? Have you thought about the impact it would have not only on yourself, but the world?

The environment is one of the main reasons people choose to live by a vegetarian lifestyle, as the environment would increasingly improve if everyone stopped eating meat.  

“Eating meat makes a large contribution to the greenhouse gasses that people produce. If everyone stopped eating it, the food-related greenhouse gas emissions would reduce by about 35 per cent. It’s one very effective way to make a big dent in emissions,” according to Vice.

There are many reasons people choose a vegetarian diet. For some, it is a way to live a healthier life. For others, it is because of their concerns for animal welfare. Another popular opinion is the desire to eat food that avoids the excess use of environmental resources. 

It is important to note the different types of a vegetarian diet.

  • lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products
  • lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs
  • ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products

One of the most impactful benefits of becoming a vegetarian is lowering the risk of heart disease. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “In one of the largest studies — a combined analysis of data from five prospective studies involving more than 76,000 participants published several years ago — vegetarians were, on average, 25% less likely to die of heart disease.” 

Some of the most common food choices to further prevent heart disease are high-fibre whole grains and legumes because they are digested slowly. The most heart-protective foods are nuts. Walnuts in particular carry antioxidants and vegetable protein. If you are becoming a vegetarian and are looking for good, healthy snacks, these are a great option and give healthy benefits. 

If not done correctly and without doing the proper research, there can be risks to being a vegetarian. The main concern has focused on protein. Research shows that lacto-ovo vegetarians generally get the recommended daily amount of protein because of dairy products and eggs. There are many plant sources that can help vegetarians meet their protein needs. 

Reasons to become a vegetarian. (Infographic by Hayley Smith)

Vegetarian eating is spreading like wildfires. According to PETA, more than half of Canadians report they regularly eat more alternatives, and 18 per cent have stated that they enjoy those foods at least a few times a week. It has also been reported that Google Canada’s top-searched trend last year was of interest in animal-free food. 

Here are three reasons to convince people to stop eating meat:

1.Let’s stop feeding animals extra food that could go to the world’s hunger

What many people don’t think about, is the beef or pork that you are eating, also needs to be fed. The biggest misconception is that vegetarians are eating all the grains and beans in the world, however, most of these products are getting fed to the cattle itself. According to One Green Planet, “Around 70 per cent of the world’s soy is fed directly to livestock and only six per cent of soy is turned into human food.” It would roughly take about 40 million tons of food to eliminate extreme cases of world hunger, yet many amounts of grain is fed to farmed animals to produce meat. 

2. More available land

Factory farms around the world are taking up huge amounts of available land. These factory farms are used to house chickens, cows and other animals. Instead, these lands could be better used to support our growing population.

3. No suffering

Animals are kept in unsafe conditions, forcing them to be cramped on industrial farms. These animals are kept for food and many don’t even get to go outside to be in the sun. This is one of the main and most effective ways to help animals, by choosing not to eat them.

Written by
Hayley Smith

Hayley Smith is a second-year Journalism student at Sheridan College. She enjoys drinking coffee and reading.

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