‘Vegetarianism: the answer we’ve all been looking for?’ by Phoebe Hartley

All over the Arctic, polar bears are dying; starving because of melting ice which stops them hunting or left floating away from their families on sheets of ice which will eventually melt and they will die of exhaustion. This is caused by global warming, and the world meat industry is a massive factor in this developing crisis. If things continue without any attempt to intervene, it could spell serious trouble for polar bears.

Polar bears are not the only ones facing problems like this. Our current society is now facing a catastrophe. For many years, things like climate change and rising obesity levels have been ignored while we carry on our lives comfortably, pretending that nothing is wrong. This has to change. Who wants to die too young because of something so ridiculously preventable? Not me. One cause of both climate change and obesity is eating meat. I believe that more people should follow a vegetarian diet, not just for the natural world, but because it will benefit all of us.   

One reason that more people should become vegetarian is that eating meat is proven to be a cause of premature death. Studies show a direct link between eating meat and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This is because meat products contain a lot of fat and too much protein for our body to use. This excess protein is turned into more fat. By eating a vegetarian or vegan diet (which naturally contains less fat) we consume a wider variety of fruits and vegetables without really trying. This will lead to more fibre in our diets and an increase in the vitamins and minerals that are essential for life.  

Another reason that more people should follow a vegetarian diet is that the meat industry is a major contribution to climate change. This is because agricultural expansion is the single largest cause of deforestation. Around 80% of cleared areas are used for cattle grazing and the vegetation from these areas is burnt, producing more CO2. In addition to this, 100,000 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of beef. This water could easily be used to give life to the 3,575,000 people who die every year from water related diseases instead of providing us with food we will probably waste. Also, cows produce methane, a greenhouse gas, which will increase global temperatures and potentially, result in human beings being forced to live a life characterised by a torturous struggle for survival.

Maybe then, we’d finally understand what it’s like to be an animal living under intensive farming practices. Animal welfare issues within the meat industry are horrific. Over 150 billion animals are killed for human consumption every year which is a colossal waste of lives. In addition to this, many animals that are raised for slaughter are kept in cramped, dirty conditions and the only time some of them see daylight in their short lives is on the way to the slaughterhouse. Also, these animals will be pumped full of antibiotics they don’t need. This will further contribute to the antibiotic resistance problem as these antibiotics are passed on to us when we consume meat products.

Everyone stands to win. More people should follow a vegetarian diet as it will improve both our lives and the lives of the entire natural world.   

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels