Many nonvegetarians and some vegetarians alike question whether being a vegetarian really makes any difference at all. Some bring up blurry ethical situations to make it impossible to see a vegetarian lifestyle as ethical. If you are a prospective vegetarian for ethical reasons, but aren't sure whether or not a vegetarian lifestyle is truly a more ethical choice, here are some statistics from EarthSave to help you make your choice (for or against):
1. Over 1.3 billion human beings could be fed each year from the grain and soybeans that go to livestock in the United States. This means that the entire population of the United States could be fed (without losing any nutritional value) and there would still be enough food left over to feed one billion people. In a world where millions of people die each year of starvation, that type of food excess and inefficiency could be considered unethical.
2. Livestock in the US produces roughly 30 times more excrement than human beings. While humans in the US have complex sewage systems to collect and treat human waste, there are no such systems on feedlots. As a result, most of this waste leeches into water. This means that large-scale, massive production and slaughter of animals is not only unethical, but it also causes serious environmental degradation.
3. It takes 7.5 pounds of protein feed to create 1 pound of consumable hog protein; and it takes 5 pounds of protein feed to create 1 pound of consumable chicken protein. Close to 90% of protein from wheat and beans is lost to feed cycling. This means that an enormous amount of resources are dedicated to producing wheat and soy just for the purpose of feeding it to animals, which will be slaughtered as "a source of protein"--even though they only provide about 1/5 of the amount they consume. Not only can the production of meat be considered an injustice against animals, but it can also be considered an injustice against human beings, as well as the environment in general.
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