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January 5, 2011

My last year New Year resolution is this year's

Nadia Alexan

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One year after I adopted my new year's resolution at the beginning of 2010, I have not eaten one bite of meat or poultry. I am not a vegan; I still eat fish, cheese, eggs and milk products. My health is much better and I feel good about saving the animals from suffering and the planet from the pollution of industrial animal-farming.

It appears that more and more people are adopting vegetarianism as a method of saving the planet and its inhabitants. Occasionally, I miss certain foods such as the Chinese: "General Tao," the Mediterranean "Shish Kebab," New Zealand's "leg of lamb," and "meat-balls," etc. But I have overcome these cravings with a strong will.

You will find the reasons for my last year's resolution below.

My last New Year’s resolution

I have decided to become a vegetarian for the following reasons:

1. Health Reasons: Meat consumption has been linked to various health hazards such as high cholesterol levels, obesity, and diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and heart disease. Cattle are injected with growth hormones & antibiotics and are fed the meat of dead cows, a process called “rendering,” a euphemism for “cannibalism,” cows eating cows, although cows are vegetarians.  We eat the residue of all these chemicals when we eat the flesh of animals.

2. Ecological Reasons: If we really want to save the planet, we should begin by refusing to eat meat, which is responsible for 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, much more than transportation. A new book: “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer, explains that: “Animal agriculture makes a 40 per cent greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change.”

3. Waste of food: It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. We use billions of acres of land to grow & feed these animals. We are destroying 7,700 sq. feet of rain forest in the process.

4. Waste of taxpayers’ money in subsidies of 75% to animal farm growers. Otherwise, the true cost of meat would be $90.00 a pound!

5. Water: It takes 2,400 gallons of water to make one pound of beef. Water, an essential ingredient for life, is becoming scarce. In future, water or blue gold, will be the cause of world-wide wars.

6. Fossil fuels & energy waste: The livestock sector is one of the worst environmental hazards of our time. Emissions from animal agriculture contribute to more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks combined on the planet. Furthermore, conventional farming methods use petrochemical (oil based) fertilizers and pesticides for crops. Fuel is also used to transport and refrigerate meat.

7. Animal Waste and Pollution: The cattle industry is also the largest source of water pollution due to the emission of nitrogen & phosphorous. The meat industry produces high amounts of “ammonia.” Millions of tons of animal waste are produced by livestock each year. Pig farmers build “lagoons” to hold the poop. When the lagoons get too full, they break open, spilling their toxic waste into our rivers, streams and underground wells, thereby polluting our drinking water.  

8. Animal Welfare: We slaughter about 10 billion animals every year in the U.S. alone. Animals live in factory-like, unsanitary conditions, in cramped quarters, where they can’t move and they never see the sun. They are fattened quickly & artificially for slaughter but in the meantime, they suffer unspeakable pain. When we eat their flesh, we take in their suffering and misery as well.

9. Hunger relief: There are at least one billion people in the world, who are dying of hunger and thirst every day. The grain, crops and water we waste on animals, could easily feed these poor, hungry billions.

10. Top Soil Erosion: Food crops need topsoil to grow. When animals are densely packed in small spaces, they erode topsoil even more. Add to that the erosion caused by crops used to feed these animals, and we get thousands of square feet of topsoil erosion, which takes centuries to rebuild.

11. Mad Cow disease: We practice cannibalism on cows. We mix the flesh of dead cows with the food of living cows. The process is called “rendering” and has been the cause of mad-cow disease. It was banned in Europe but it is still being practiced in Canada and the United States. No wonder the European Union forbids the export of our cattle to Europe!!

12. Swine Flu: The cramped, unhealthy conditions of the U.S. Smith Field multinational hog-factory in Mexico, combined with the proximity of an aviary factory, within a mile or two, produced the unsavory H1N1 virus, responsible for so many world-wide deaths. The powerful U.S. hog-lobby refuses to allow any inspectors to examine their premises and fight, tooth and nail, any regulation of this industry. What we have now, is a world-wide, savage, corporate capitalism gone mad! We have to fight them where it hurts, in their pocket books. “Buying is voting,” says prominent environmentalist, Laure Waridel.

Finally, I think we will all be in good company when we become vegetarians. Some of the most eminent scientists, thinkers & writers, in the world, such as Plato, Socrates, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Henry Ford, George Bernard Shaw and Charles Darwin, were vegetarians.

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