In a changing world, one of the most widespread shifts in human behaviour is the increasing conversion to a vegetarian diet. Suppressed in the past by the overpowering dominance of meat-eaters, the late twentieth century has witnessed a remarkable turn around. Availability of accurate scientific and social information has inspired many to speak out in favour of vegetarianism. It is no longer just a religious issue, but one that affects science, society and indeed the long term survival of the human race.
Burger clown Ronald Mcdonald stunned the world by revealing that he is a vegetarian. He declared: "Meat is Murder". Geoffrey Guiliano made a fortune during his years promoting Mac's burgers. Now he says he has a diet of nuts, fruits, beans and vegetables. "It is better for your health".
Geoffrey is now educating kids about their relationship with the environment, animal foods and vegetarianism.
In Britain vegetarianism is the fastest growing trend. Every week another 28,000 people stop eating meat. Already some 3.6 million Britons are vegetarians.
In 'Seven Reasons Why I am a Vegetarian' Dr. Vernon Coleman, medical advisor of 'The Sun' (Britain's largest selling daily), says:
- Avoiding meat is one of the simplest ways to cut your fat consumption. Eating fatty meat increases the risk of heart attack or cancer.
- Every minute of every working day 4000 animals are killed in slaughterhouses. Many are bled to death. Pain and misery are common. 134 million animals and 38 million birds are killed for food every year in America. In Australia each year, around 5 million pigs are killed for bacon, ham and pork.
- There are more than 1000 cases of food poisoning recorded every week in Britain. Most are caused by meat-eating.
- Meat contains nothing - no proteins, vitamins or minerals - that the body cannot obtain from a vegetarian diet.
- British abattoirs (slaughterhouses) are such a disgrace that only 50% are thought fit for preparing meat to export to the European Community.
- Every year 440 million tons of grain are fed to animals so people can eat meat. In poor countries, every six seconds, someone starves to death. In fact, half of the world's grains are consumed by animals.
- If you eat meat, you are consuming hormones fed to the animals. No one really knows what effects these have on you. Why take such a foolish risk?
Pythagoras, a firm vegetarian, once said, "The time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon murder of men."
George Bernard Shaw was also a strict vegetarian. He used to say, "Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends.... my stomach is not a graveyard for dead animals". This is quite revealing because just think; a dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognised as a carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food.
"...Makes No Sense"
Paul McCartney, the legendary Beatle, became a vegetarian one Sunday afternoon.
"One day my family sat down to eat a roast lamb. We all looked out of the window and saw our young lambs playing happily, as kittens do, in the fields. Eating bits of them suddenly made no sense. In fact, it was revolting. What are we doing? I don't believe we have the right to take a life. By eating vegetables my children have grown up without all the preservatives and chemicals that rot your teeth and gums. We use soya substitute".
Paul McCartney became so committed to a vegetarian diet that he made his entire touring staff of 180 switch to it. "No meat is served on the road... the whole tour is vegetarian," says Paul.
His late wife Linda McCartney said, "Just the thought of what happens in slaughterhouses is enough... anyone who cares about the Earth - really cares - must stop eating animals."
Paul further adds, "If animals could speak, I think they'd tell us not to eat them. We are such a pompous race of humans, so destructive, so sad. People dream of heaven and you know, we are living in heaven, but we make it hell... people will realise that meat or rather flesh is disgusting.
We cover everything up. We call pig ham. How absurd.
Bean or Pig
Andrew Tyler, a British journalist, visited a slaughterhouse in 1989, and wrote what he saw:
"Our first truckload of pigs are ready for opening. As the first dozen are driven into the stunning pen, one urinates on the spot and makes a screeching noise I haven't heard before. Blood and mucous fly from his spout, the eyes close, the front legs stiffen, and when (the stunner) opens the tongs, he falls like a dog on his side. He lies there, back legs kicking as (the stunner) turns to the next candidate. Most huddle against the entrance with their rumps towards him, heads passively bowed, snout to snout... a couple break from the huddle and sniff a fallen comrade."
Pigs are among the least understood and most persecuted of all animals. Their intelligence exceeds that of our close companion, the dog. Yet most pigs spend their much-shortened lives in bleak factory buildings, suffering abuses that would create a national outcry if inflicted on dogs.
Tyler relates a slaughterer's story about the pigs' 'swimming lessons'.
"Sometimes if the chap sticking (cutting with a knife) is rushing, he might not stick it right and it (the pig) looks like it's bleeding a lot, it looks dead when it's all hung up but you put it in a hot water tank and it ain't. It thrashes about. It will die eventually, probably drown in the tank."
If you are an average meat-eater you have wrought considerable havoc on the animal kingdom by the time you have completed your life, and more optimistically preparing to enter another world, you might realise with horror that you have eaten:
- 11 cows
- 12 sheep
- 28 hogs
- 85 turkeys
- 889 chickens
- 250 kg of fish
The strongest voice against meat is that of the animals. They speak not, yet they say a lot. If we have a heart, a real human heart, then it should shatter us to hear their words:
- We don't smoke
- We don't drive
- We don't wear make-up
- We don't use paint
- We don't drink alcohol
- We don't drop bombs
- We don't take drugs
BUT BECAUSE YOU DO, WHY SHOULD WE SUFFER?
VEGETARIANISM: THE ENVIRONMENTAL ARGUMENT
l Percentage of livestock feed produced on cropland in USA: 64%; Percentage of fruits and vegetables produced on cropland in USA: 2%.
l Pounds of edible product that can be produced on an acre of prime land:
Green beans 10,000