Eating with Compassion

Every day in the US, over 600,000 animals are slaughtered for meat. Like you and I, animals want to live. They suffer pain, they want happiness. If this fact alone does not move you to consider adopting a compassionate diet, please become familiar with some of the other arguments. 

The Hunger Argument

  • Number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year: 20 million
  • Number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100 million
  • Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by people: 20
  • Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 80
  • Percentage of oats grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 95
  • Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90
  • How frequently a child dies as a result of malnutrition: every 2.3 seconds
  • Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on an acre: 40,000
  • Pounds of beef produced on an acre: 250
  • Percentage of U.S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
  • Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef: 16 

The Environmental Argument

  • Cause of global climate change: greenhouse effect
  • Primary cause of greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels
  • Fossil fuels needed to produce meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 3 times more
  • Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75
  • Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85
  • Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million
  • Amount of meat imported to U.S. annually from Central and South America: 300,000,000 pounds
  • Percentage of Central American children under the age of five who are undernourished: 75
  • Area of tropical rainforest consumed in every quarter-pound of rainforest beef: 55 square feet
  • Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year 

The Cancer Argument

  • Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times
  • For women who eat eggs daily compared to once a week: 2.8 times
  • For women who eat butter and cheese 2-4 times a week: 3.25 times
  • Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times
  • Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times. 

The Cholesterol Argument

  • Number of U.S. medical schools: 125
  • Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30
  • Nutrition training received by average U.S. physician during four years in medical school: 2.5 hours
  • Most common cause of death in the US: heart attack
  • How frequently a heart attack kills in the U.S.: every 45 seconds
  • Average U.S. man’s risk of death from heart attack: 50 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat: 15 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy or eggs: 4 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption of meat, dairy and eggs by 10 percent: 9 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption by 50 percent: 45 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk if you eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet: 90 percent
  • Average cholesterol level of people eating meat-centered-diet: 210 mg/dl
  • Chance of dying from heart disease if you are male and your blood cholesterol level is 210 mg/dl: greater than 50 percent 

The Natural Resources Argument

  • User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the US: livestock production
  • Amount of water used in production of the average cow: sufficient to float a destroyer
  • Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 25
  • Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of California beef: 5,000
  • Years the world’s known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
  • Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
  • Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78
  • To get 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2
  • Percentage of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by U.S. that is devoted to the production of livestock: 33
  • Percentage of all raw materials consumed by the U.S. needed to produce a complete vegetarian diet: 2 

The Antibiotic Argument

  • Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55
  • Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13
  • Percentage resistant in 1988: 91
  • Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
  • Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support 

The Pesticide Argument

  • Common belief: U.S. Department of Agriculture protects our health through meat inspection
  • Reality: fewer than 1 out of every 250,000 slaughtered animals is tested for toxic chemical residues
  • Percentage of U.S. mother’s milk containing significant levels of DDT: 99
  • Percentage of U.S. vegetarian mother’s milk containing significant levels of DDT: 8
  • Contamination of breast milk, due to chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in animal products, found in meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating mothers: 35 times higher
  • Amount of Dieldrin ingested by the average breast-fed American infant: 9 times the permissible level  

From Diet For A New America by John Robbins

 

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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One Response to Eating with Compassion

  1. Jack says:

    Great set of stats, It’s amazing how much food we have here in the US (and how much fast food ingredients come from China) yet we are still looking at most of our health problems and deaths are caused by a poor diet. And in the next several years we are expected to have more obesity. I believe it’s because of poor food choices.

    So the questions are:
    Why are we eating what we are eating?
    and- Why don’t we eat for better health?

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