Tuesday, 25 September 2007
No More Bull (edited Sept 28th)
I've just finished this book and being a vegan of course I agree with everything Howard Lyman says! However I do like reading this sort of book, because apart from confirming that I have made a good choice in being vegan, he has given me more ways of supporting a good argument should one arise.
He compares meat-eating with smoking. All the scientific evidence points to smoking being really bad for your health. Some people think that they should be allowed to treat their bodies as they wish and that their choices are not affecting others. With smoking, however, we have the second hand smoke problem - the rest of us don't want to breathe in all those carcinogens or have the stink of smoke in our hair and on our clothes when we go out in public. Most public buildings now ban smoking. I'd just like to add that smoking creates one hell of a litter problem. I was helping to weed around the building that my husband works in at the weekend, and the amount of cigarette butts tossed into the undergrowth was gross. Why do smokers think that cigarette butts are not litter - perhaps they think that they are biodegradable! Not! Factor in all the smoke breaks that employees take throughout the working day, and there's a lot of man-hours (person-hours?) going up in smoke. If by smoking you give yourself lung cancer or whatever, that is also causing pressure on the health-care system that could easily be avoided - more taxes for all.
Mr Lyman says that many meat-eaters would argue that it's up to them what they put into their bodies. However, here again, the scientific evidence is that a plant-based diet is way healthier. Meat (and here I include chicken and fish, people, anything with a face - oh, and dairy and eggs too) provides no worthwhile nutrition. We can get all the protein and carbs and fibre and vitamins and minerals we need from plant foods. Over and over again, it is the SAD (Standard American Diet) that has been proved to cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Mr Lyman also makes a good point about Alzheimer's being a result of our addiction to a meat-based diet (the symptoms being very similar to CJD, that lovely human version of Mad Cow disease).
So back to my point. Yes, people have a choice what they eat. However, there are good reasons for me to continue to publically speak out in support of a vegan diet and not just quietly get on with it. Raising animals intensively for meat is a waste of land. Growing plants to feed direct to people, instead of growing plants to feed to animals to feed to people, is a way better use of the land. Piles of stinking manure - now that's a reason to quit having feedlots. They have made large areas of the US unlivable and there's tonnes of methane polluting our air and piles of this shit are burning right now.
And I haven't even started on animal abuse, cruelty, slaughterhouses, fecal contamination of meat during "processing" (read - killing and mutilation, not necessarily in that order).
I think the world would be a much better place if the killing stopped - maybe if we stopped killing animals and ingesting their fear and sickness, we would all be pacifists who could then create a world without wars.
My hope is that meat-eating will, in the next few years, become something that is viewed like smoking - something that the minority do, despite the health warnings on the packets!