Being vegan when it comes to the everyday rustle and bustle of life, it can be tough. Consequently, we’re constantly being pushed and tested in the midst of the meat market to acquiesce to their omnipresent marketing plan.
So, often times going out to eat as a vegan requires a bit of creativity, going very simple, or getting very minimal if anything at all. It pays to know that keeping plenty of water around is a great way to delay the gratification of devouring some scrumptious vegan meal with our canines.
Too frequently I wish I was videographing my situation. Being stuck in a Jack in a Box drive through as I realize there is nothing here any of us want after they say “we cannot sell a salad without cheese”. Being a the ruralist of rural towns, many restaurant workers here do not even know what vegan is.
McDonalds has Oatmeal, but be sure to say “NO CREAM”. You have to ask “Is there any animal in it at all? Any cheese, butter, milk, sour cream, or…” you get it… And, you have to look.
The more you ask and look the more you’ll find, it’s as if everything has milk or some animal in it. It’s INSANE, I can’t even begin to count the number of products I’ve been like “WHY????” Like, why does a nut bar have to have milk? And, are the fries cooked in the same grease as the meat? Eventually you’ll be all veganpro like saying “todas las verduras por favor!”
What Will Come?
This category, Out to Eat, may be about specific nonvegan situations and how to deal with them. Predominantly this will be about attempts at getting something vegan in non-vegan restaurants and stores.
The idea is that, some people will appreciate learning about how these encounters may go down. Some people just don’t want to go through figuring things out with the waitstaff. So maybe we can share some tips that would help you change your mind about avoiding most restaurants and stores.
In order to create an autumnal profile for this oh-so-accessible and versatile vegan dish, I have added some seasonal ingredients that not only result in a delightful taste experience but really help to ring in the season of fall – my most favorite of all! Hope you enjoy!!
2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed (reserve some liquid if organic for a lower-fat version)
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/4 diced red onion (optional)
3/4-1 cup vegan mayo
1 TBL. Dijon mustard
1 TBL. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Thoroughly mash chickpeas with a potato or bean masher until no whole beans are left (alternatively can be done in the food processor on pulse. Do not over-process). Add mayo (if desired, replace any amount of mayo with chickpea liquid for a lower-fat version), mustard and lemon juice. Stir in celery, onion (if using), cranberries and pecans. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
One could certainly improvise with any one or combination of fresh or dried seasonal herbs for a customized taste experience. The key is to keep tasting and adjusting to your liking. For fullest flavor allow to chill at least one hour before serving, preferably overnight. Enjoy on crackers, as a sandwich spread, salad feature, or wrap filling. Please feel free to share your results and/or recommendations in the comments :)!
This video, appropriately titled “The Most Important Speech You Will Ever Hear”, by Gary Yourofsky was one of the most inspirational and important when I first became vegan.
Originally, I became vegan for health reasons. I just didn’t feel healthy with my traditional diet. Gary challenged me to really think about the ethics and logic in a much deeper way.
This video is the pinnacle of logic being put well. It expresses for ethics what “Cowspiracy” does for the environment. Gary’s presentation is so important that I also rank it up with other great, significant documentaries like “Mission Blue” and “Food Matters“. All these fuel veganism with such meaningful integrity. So be sure to check all these videos out after this!
Welcome to “the world’s oldest and strongest addiction”
When what we do makes sense on every level we are much stronger. We are living in harmony with our body, mind, community, all of life, and the world. We enable our existence to maintain being a part of the universe.
Being a healthy Vegan is quintessential to the continuity needed for good mental health. It fosters physical health as well. And veganism’s integrity is so omnipresent, far beyond you, perpetuating a difference across the planet.
Here’s a start of some interesting
“It is never ok to be picking and choosing which forms of discrimination to be opposed to”
“The Golden Rule states, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Animals qualify as others. And, though shall not kill. The four most important yet most ignored words in all religious teachings.”
“Speciesism: the unethical, unprincipled point of view that the human species has every right to exploit, enslave, and murder another species. And all because we believe our species is so more special, so more superior than the other ones. We’re the only ones that count and we’re the only ones that matter. That line of thinking, that thought process, that is the bases of all forms of discrimination.”
“Understand something essential about discrimination. It is never ok to be picking and choosing which forms of discrimination to be opposed to. Which ones to say are evil, racism, and which ones to say are ok, speciesism. Discrimination is evil in its foundation or it’s not. Cannot have this one both ways, it does not work like that.”
When sharing a video of what goes on in a slaughterhouse, Gary says to his audience “if you choose to eat meat, milk, cheese, and eggs I think at the very least you are obligated to see the pain and suffering your are causing. But if you do feel a need to turn away or close your eyes during this video, you might need to ask yourself a question. If it’s not good enough for my eyes then why is it good enough for my stomach?”
“Right now, on American highways, there are no less than 5,000 concentration camp trucks. Trucks that we constructed. Inside these trucks there are living, terrified, innocent beings; Cows and pigs and chickens. These trucks are being driven to concentration camp slaughterhouses that we’ve carefully constructed all across America. When the trucks arrive the animals are so frightened they won’t even get off the truck. They’re not stupid, they know what’s next. So, people go on the trucks with electric prods and force them to walk down the shoots to their own death… inside, these innocent, living beings are hanged upside down fully conscious. In other words, they go in live against their will and come out chopped up into hundreds of pieces. Do you know what’s more insane than that? Meat eaters walking around like their lifestyle isn’t causing any harm! Like it’s normal and natural to be consuming violence and death. How would you feel if the day you were born somebody else had already planned the day of your execution?”
Our culture and traditions have come from such deep, dark paths. We really need to assess what we’re doing and why when it comes to all our learned rituals. We all interpret life in our own way. But, the reality of our actions is something we should thoroughly consider. Otherwise, we become the victim as well as the assailant of our mindless habits.
We should not discriminate when it comes to the victim of torture and murder. All animals have a right to live and share in this world free from senseless harm, like that inflicted by humans.
Killing chickens for a religious ritual is as absurd as eating chicken. Using another animal as a food source is absolutely not necessary in this day and time for modern civilizations. It is not healthy, it is not sustainable
Did you know that if you drink milk you are nor just stealing milk from a baby calf? You’re stealing a baby calf from it’s mother. This is no different to the victims, the mother cow and baby calf, than it would be for you and your mother if you were separated from each other.
The Price of Milk, Cheese (dairy) and veal: Separation of a cow and her calf
It’s hard for people to swallow the truth about how their diet effects them. It’s especially hard for people to grasp the reality about meat being harmful on every level; from our personal health, to the animals we mistreat and kill, to the impact it has on the environment
Smoking, on the other hand, has already become way more taboo and illegal in most public environments. So, these days it’s easy for people to understand how smoking is just plain stupid. Unfortunately, meat is even worse on every level.
The Perfect Analogy
Humans eat meat for most of the same reasons people smoke. And because in this day and time it is so easy to understand how bad smoking is, I think it’s a great analogy to understanding why people eat meat in light of all the harm it does.
I quit smoking over a decade ago. It was hard at first and anyone who’s ever been there knows exactly what I mean. So, the other day I was sharing with an omnivorous friend, who used to smoke also, why eating meat is so much like smoking. I realized, it’s a perfect analogy.
I started smoking for the same reasons that virtually all of us do. Growing up I would see family doing it, friends, people on TV and so on. And, while it may be insidiously subtle, the marketing, I’m sure, had an influence as well. Smoking just seemed omnipresent. Cigarettes are readily available behind almost every cash register. At work, at home, at friends houses, every corner I’d turn there would be a smoker. The packaging, the billboards, the ads, it was everywhere! Then one day a “friend” gave me a cigarette, so now, a little peer pressure was all it took for me to light up.
Guess what, animal products are no different. In fact, animal products are even more pervasive.
I hated smoking at first. It made me cough, it royally reeked, and tasted horrible. But, before I could even realize it, my body became desensitized to the experience. Almost immediately I was addicted.
Like virtually all of us, I was too young to recall the first time I consumed any animal products. But, here again we are desensitized to something that is totally foul. After becoming vegan, just being around animal products is unbearable. I don’t even want to touch it much less have it anywhere near my mouth.
Burn to Consume
Eating meat obviously is not natural. I mean, think about it, just like smoking, you have to burn it before you consume it. The government recently banned the smoking industry from adding any flavors to cigarettes. Imagine eating meat without smoking it or adding anything to it. Most of a vegan diet on the other hand if innately safe and delicious raw.
It’s all in Your Mind
We’ve all heard of how the smoking industry incorporates addictive properties to enhance the physiological addiction. However, I was way more psychologically hooked when I tried to quit.
Smoking gave me something to do when hanging out, when waiting places, when driving, after eating, during work breaks, etc… . Smoking became a reward for almost every situation.
Psychologically I had to overcome every scenario I had trained myself to smoke in. I had to make getting through that moment in the most natural way the new reward.
Wake Up Call
Other smokers had no problem ensuring I continued. Ever out of cigarettes? Just bum one! And nobody was saying anything negative about it. In fact, we all had an arsenal of false rewards we told ourselves; like needing it to relax. Even people that wanted to quit conjured up reasons to relapse. No one was capable of getting real with me about it. That is, not until the day I actually asked someone who was able to keep it real what they thought.
When I was 19 I was passing through Asheville, North Carolina on my way to California. I stopped in to see my all time most powerful mentor, Dr. Myles Joyce. As I was saying goodbye, for some reason I asked him “What do you think of smoking?” and, without hesitation, he said “I think it is stupid!”
His comment struck me hard and stuck with me since. The power of this truth most vividly surfaced after trying to quick for a couple of years in my early thirties. I was a casual smoker, only a few a day, maybe a pack a week. I think this occasional use made me more sensitive and aware of its negative effects. Finally one day I decided to apply all I knew about behavior modification toward quitting. Cognitively I realized smoking is not just stupid, it’s entirely stupid. There is absolutely nothing good that comes out of it.
Even if it’s Deadly
How is it that something so disgusting, deadly, and stupid is so pervasive throughout our world? How can so many people fall victim to becoming a smoker to the point of dying from it and enabling loved ones to die from it. I know of several family members that have died from smoking related causes. My father lives with sever emphysema. To make matters worse, he smokes in his house making it intolerable for him to have family visit with him, inside anyways. Furthermore, there’s the cost of the cigarettes and the cost of medical treatment.
To understand how we let smoking become such a part of our culture we need to understand human behavior and the power of big industry. I’ve already spoke on some of the psychology behind it; peer pressure, marketing, availability, physical/mental addiction, etc… One thing worth adding is that the physiological addiction is said to wear off within 48 hours. Yet, the psychological addiction is so much more powerful that it can last for weeks, months, or even years for some after quitting. And businesses take advantage of human behavior to make a profit.
Exploiting Learned Behavior
When we’re young and naive we tend to trust too much of the world. It’s hard to disconnect ourselves from all the lies in our environment. Businesses do everything they can to surround us and become a part of our world in every way possible. We think the police and government is here to protect us. And, that all this stuff around us is therefore safe, otherwise someone would stop them. You probably already know, big industry is in the government persuading laws and maintaining subsidies.
With all the money the smoking industry has, they can effect laws, fight lawsuits, market in the most vastly powerful and deceptive ways, and advance at streamlining as much as possible. They are indifferent to the effects of it, they only care to make a profit. So, it’s ultimately the consumers, what we buy, that determines where they invest.
Founded on the Dollar, not Integrity
So, how could smoking, something entirely bad, become so pervasively sought after? For settlers in the early 1600’s, North America was the “ultimate land of opportunity” for many reasons; like gold, oil, and lots of new land. But tobacco was our first major commodity.
John Rolfe was one of the original settlers of the “New World” in the 1600’s. He brought South American tobacco seeds to the Chesapeake Bay area.
John’s first harvest was worth more than a million dollars in today’s money. In just a couple of years tobacco crops where in gardens all over Jamestown. Life here went from a “living hell” to becoming America’s “first boomtown”. 30 Years later over 20,000 people settled in Virginia. America was founded on tobacco.
For over a century tobacco remained our biggest export. It wasn’t until almost 4 centuries later that the use of tobacco has become significantly taboo. As of 2015, it is still only publicly banned in 28 states.
If people knew how bad smoking is before they started, would they ever start? As a child growing up in a world where the bad wasn’t talked about, you’re left to only assume and associate it with being good. There are still too many people who smoke, but at least nowadays it’s easier for a child to know the truth.
We’re Out of Time
The thing about meat is we don’t have decades to waste in litigation with deep pockets. In just one generation of industrialized meat production, animal agriculture has already destroyed too much of the ocean, killed billions upon billions of ocean species, and has destroyed over a hundred million acres of rain forests. Meanwhile the industry is currently using and degrading over 30 percent of the land and is expanding to keep up with unprecedented, exponential population growth.
For the sake of everything that is real about this world we must change. Our planet could thrive off of diverse crops. A vegan diet is capable of changing it all.
Which is going to be harder, convincing people to quit smoking? Or convincing people to cease use of all animal products? We know so much now about the effects of animal agriculture on our health. We know that animals do not deserve to die and even go extinct because of us. It’s so saddening knowing the truth and watching others not care, and knowing that we’ve most likely gone too far. But at least I didn’t live this way. At least I can die with integrity knowing that my life did not depend on killing tens of thousands of animals to sustain. I know that my lifestyle enabled more starving people across the world to have food and water. And that my impact on the environment fostered a healthier world on every level.
When Nobody Cares, You Must!
When I realized I was lied to by the smoking industry, my family, my friends, and even strangers I finally quit. I realized that none of these people cared about me, my health or the health of others. The industry only wanted to make money. My family and friends only wanted to live in denial despite its deadly grip on them and influence on me. The food industry is no different nor are you as a meat eater any different.
Like the smoking industry, big money is of course behind the meat industry. Big money drags on litigation, delays laws needed for change, deters activism, stifles science, and the inhibits the truth in media.
The Power of One
While the reality of the situation is very dim, you can still make a difference. More vegan options and educational opportunities are available than ever before. We can demand through our buying power even more vegan options, inspire more restaurateurs and grocery stores to become vegan, and help others around us understand the truth.
Cowspiracy is an incredible documentary regarding the animal agricultural industry. It’s a journey through the eyes of Kip Andersen as he explores the effects this industry has. The journey predominantly revolves around the shocking, and most disturbing facts of the meat industries environmental impact. This journey appropriate evolves into the ethical aspects of slaughtering animals. Below are some clips from the video. The full version is available on Netflix and for purchase/rent on YouTube. For facts checks visit: cowspiracy.com/facts
“The world’s climate scientist tell us that the highest safe level of emissions would be around 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide green house gases in the atmosphere, we’re already at 400. They tell us that the sort of safest we could hope to do without having perilous implications as far as drought, famine, human conflict, major species extinction would be about a 2 degrees Celsius increase in temperature. We’re rapidly approaching that and with all the built-in carbon dioxide that’s already in the atmosphere we’re easily going to exceed that. So, on our watch we’re facing the next major extinction of species on the earth that we haven’t seen since the time of the dinosaurs disappearing.”
UN News Centre: Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns.
“Hydraulic fracking uses 100 billion gallons of water every year in the United States. Raising livestock just in the US consumes 34 trillion gallons of water. And it turns out that methane emissions from both industries are nearly equal.”
One quarter pounder hamburger requires over 660 gallons of water to produce.
One hamburger is equivalent to taking a shower for 2 months.
Domestic water use is only 5% of what is used in the US versus 55% animal agriculture.
“ I think that the water footprint of animal husbandry is greater than other activities, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
Carbon dioxide from the transportation and energy sectors have a terrible effect on our environment
65 percent of the worlds Nitrous Oxide is produced from animal agriculture, a gas with the global warming potential 296 times greater than CO2 per pound.
Energy related CO2 emissions are expected to increase 20 percent by 2040. Yet, emissions from agriculture are predicted to increase 80 percent by 2050.
“According to two environmental specialist at the world bank group, using the global standard for measuring greenhouse gases concluded that animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of human cause climate change.”
“Raising animals for food is responsible for 30% of the worlds’ water consumption; occupies up to 45% of the earth’s land; is responsible for up to 91% of Brazilian Amazon destruction; is the leading cause of ocean dead zones; the leading cause of habitat destruction, and the leading cause of species extinction.”
“free living animals 10,000 years ago made up 99 percent of the bio mass. Human beings only made up 1 percent of the bio mass. Today, only 10,000 years later, which is really just a fraction of time, we human beings and the animals that we own as property make up 98 percent of the biomass. And wild free living animals make up only 2 percent. We’ve basically completely stolen the world, the earth, from free living animals to use for ourselves and our cows and pigs and chickens and factory farming and fish. And the oceans have been even more devastating.”
“We’re in the middle of the largest mass extinction of species in 65 million years, rain forest is being cut down at the rate of an acre per second. And the driving force behind all of this is animal agriculture, cutting down the forest to graze animals and grow soy beans, genetically engineered soy beans to feed to feed to the cows, chickens, pigs and factory farmed fish.”
Several sources suggest that even the environmental organizations are not willing to talk about animal agriculture being a grave concern because they are businesses and need to protect their revenue sources that this crucial information may upset.
“116,000 pounds of farm animal excrement is produced every second in the US alone. That is enough waste per year to cover ever square foot of San Francisco, New York City, Tokyo, Paris, New Delhi, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Rio De Janeiro, Delaware, Bali, Costa Rica, and Denmark combined!”
“Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans. Comprise more than 95,000 square miles of areas completely devoid of life.”
“If we don’t wake up and do something about it we’re going to see fishless oceans by the year 2048, that’s the prediction from scientist.”
“We’re at over 28 Billion animals were pulled out of the ocean last year. They’re not ever going to get a chance to recover, they can’t recover, they don’t multiple that quickly, we’re not given an opportunity.”
“The way we fish today to feed the demand of 90 million tons of fish is primarily through massive fish nets. For every single pound of fish caught there’s up to five pounds of untargeted species trapped; such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and sharks, known as bi-kill.”
“Between 40 and 50 million sharks each year are killed in fishing lines and fishing nets as bi-kill.”
“It is estimated that every day close to a hundred plant, animal, and insect species are lost due to rainforest destruction.”
“It is estimated that Palm oil is responsible for 26 Million acres being cleared, though, compared to livestock and their feedcrops, they are responsible for a 136 Million acres of rainforest lost to date”
“The Amazon rainforest itself could be gone in the next ten years”
“Why isn’t anybody doing anything about this? In Brazil in particular, if you look at what happened when the forest code was passed. People who were standing up against the lobbyist, special interest, cattle industry, the agribusiness industry, what was happening to them? A lot of people who were speaking out got killed… A lot of people just keep their mouths shut, because they don’t want to be the next one with a bullet in their head.”
Sister Dorothy Stang was a US born Nun living in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. Her life’s work was to protect the Amazon. She spoke out openly against the destruction of rainforest with cattle ranching for years. Walking home one night she was brutally gunned down at point blank range by a hired gun from the cattle industry. 1931-2005”
“Over 1,100 activists have been killed in the last 20 years in Brazil.”
“Cattle produce 150 billion gallons of Methane per day mostly due to deforestation and the waste they produce. Which is 130 times more waste than the entire human population, virtually all without the benefit of any waste treatment.”
“Using 4,500 acres to produce 80,000 lbs of meat a year when the average person consumes 209 lbs per year, if that was all grass fed beef only 382 people could be fed on the land, that equates to 11.7 acres per person times 314 million Americans which equals 3.7 billion acres of grazing land. Unfortunately there are only 1.9 billion acres in the US’s lower 48 states. Currently nearly half of all US land is already dedicated to animal agriculture. If we were to switch over to grass feed beef it would require clearing every square inch of the United States, up into Canada, all of Central America and well into South America. And this is just to feed the US demand on meat. That doesn’t even take into consideration that much of that land isn’t suited to graze livestock.”
“Typically a cow will eat 140 to 150 pounds of feed a day. And it will also drink between 30 and 40 gallons of water”
“How could dairy be sustainable when one gallon of milk takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce”
“Almost a third of the planet’s land is becoming desert with the vast majority due to livestock grazing”
“The government also shoots bobcats, coyote, mountain lion, cougars, and wolf packs to “protect” cattle on public land.”
“If you take externalized costs, which are about 414 billion dollars, if the meat and dairy industries were required to internalize those costs, the costs of the retail prices of meat and dairy would sky rocket. So a $5 carton of eggs would go to $13, a $4 big mac would go to $11. Whether you eat meat or not, you are paying part of the cost of somebody else’s consumption. So that when somebody goes into a Mc Donalds and buys a big mac for $4 there’s another $7 of costs that imposed on society”
“When you really look at who’s benefiting and who’s lobbied for this system of agriculture it’s the largest food producers in the country and the largest meat producers. And once they become so large and wealthy then they can dictate the federal policies around producing food because they have so much political power.”
“Animal rights and environmental activist are the number domestic terrorism threat according to the FBI.”
“One of the largest industries on the planet with the biggest environmental impact trying to keep us in the dark about how it’s operating.”
“You either live for something or die for nothing.”
“In 1812 the world population was 1 Billion. In 1912 it was 1.5 Billion. In 2012 it grew to 7 Billion. But even more important when determining world population is the 70 Billion farm animals humans raise.”
“The human population drinks 5.2 billion gallons of water every day and needs 21 billion lbs of food. But just the worlds 1.5 Billion cows alone drink 45 billion gallons of water every day and eat 135 billion lbs of food. This isn’t so much a human population issue, it’s a human eating animals population issue.”
“82 percent of the worlds starving children live in countries where food is fed to animal in a livestock systems that are then killed and eaten by more well off individuals in developed countries; such as US, UK, and Europe”
“The fact of it is that we can feed every human being on the planet today an adequate diet if we did no more than take the feed that we are feeding the animals and actually turn into food for humans.”
“You can produce on average 15 times more protein from plant based sources than from meat on any given area of land, using the same type of land, whether it’s a very fertile area in one area of the world or whether it’s an area that’s depleted”
“When you imagine all those egg laying hens eating all that soy and all that corn you have an energy conversion ratio of about 38 to 1. Whereas alternatively you can find plants, you can grow those plants and convert them into food. And the energy conversion ratio for the plants that we’re using to replace the eggs is about 2 to 1.”
“We are making (plant based) the omega products and proving that we can make them better tasting food that’s great for you and takes 1 20th of the land and resources that dairy do”
“When you think about it, the purpose of cows’ milk… is to turn a 65 pound calf into a 400 pound cow as rapidly as possible. Cow’s milk is baby calf growth food. Everything in that white liquid, the hormones, the lipids, the protein, the sodium, the growth factors, the IGF, every one of those is meant to blow that calf up to a great big cow, or it wouldn’t be there. And whether you pour it on your cereal as a liquid, whether you clot it into yogurt, whether you ferment it into cheese, whether you freeze it into ice cream, it’s baby calf growth fluid. And women eat it and it stimulates their tissues, and it gives women breast lumps, it makes the uterus get big, and they get fibroids and they bleed and they get hysterectomies, and they need mammograms, and gives guys man boobs. Cow’s milk is the lactation secretions of a large bovine mammal who just had a baby.”
“Not only is veganic more compassionate, it’s also more efficient. And in a society with this many billions of people, we need to be as efficient as possible. Some people might go back and say if we embraced this primitive approach of only wild animals everywhere, and we go back to a hunter-gatherer system, that sounds great. But that was 10 million people on the entire continent. Maybe a little big more, a little bit less, on one really knows. Today, now we have what? We have 320 million in the US, 25 million in Canada, another 100 and so many million in Mexico. So, North America is up to almost 450 million people. Trying to find a way to bring animal agriculture in balance with 450 million hungry people is impossible.”
“216,000 more people are born to the planet every day… what really extraordinary is you need per day 314,000 new acres of farmable land. It’s not happening. “
“To feed a person on an all-plant based vegan diet for a year requires just one-sixth of an acre of land. To feed that same person on a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy requires three times as much land. To feed an average US citizen’s high –consumption diet of meat, dairy, and eggs requires 18 times as much land. This is because you can produce 37,000 lbs of vegetables on one and a half acres, but only 375 pounds of meat on that same plot of land.”
As a vegan “every single day I save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 lbs. of grain, 30 sq. ft forested land, the equivalent of 10 pounds of CO2, and 1 animal’s life every single day.”
“Renewable energy is a good idea, and development is projected to take 20 years and, at least, minimally, $18 trillion to develop. Another solution to climate change we could stop eating animals. And it could be done today. It doesn’t have to take 20 years. And it certainly doesn’t have to take $18 trillion, because it costs nothing.”
“Quietly and unmistakably the most powerful thing that someone can do for the environment. No other lifestyle has a farther reaching, and more profoundly positive impact on the planet and all life on Earth than choosing to stop consuming animals and live a vegan lifestyle.”
“I had to come to the full conclusion, the only way to sustainably and ethically live on this planet with seven billion other people is to live an entirely plant-based vegan diet. I decided instead of eating others, to eat for others.”
In 2006 the UN posted breaking news on cattle-rearing generating “more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.”
“It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.”
Cattle rearing also contributes significantly to acid rain, human induced methan, and emissions from land use and land change. It is a major cause of deforestation, esp. in Latin America where (at the time of this 2006 United Nations publication) “70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing”.
Deforestation is one thing, to make matters worse, the herds cause degradation of the land. This wide-scale degradation in turns contributes to desertification.
The source for this UN News report is Livestock’s long shadow. Some important things to understand about this information, data, and proposed solutions by the UN; while the data is very significant and valid, the proposed solutions are not vegan and therefore not the most powerful. The best solution to the environmental problems caused by the meat industry is for us to become vegan.
Here are some interesting points from the Executive Summary of this 300 plus page document:
“The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.”
Global importance of the sector
“Global production of meat is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/01 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, and that of milk to grow from 580 to 1 043 million tonnes.”
Structural changes and their impact
“Extensive grazing still occupies and degrades vast areas of land
“The livestock sector enters into more and direct competition for scarce land, water and other natural resources.”
Changes in production methods “are marginalizing smallholders and pastoralists, increasing inputs and wastes and increasing and concentrating the pollution created.”
“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land… In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.”
“Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring – 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder. About 20 percent of the world’s pastures and rangelands, with 73 percent of rangelands in dry areas, have been degraded to some extent, mostly through overgrazing, compaction and erosion created by livestock action. The dry lands in particular are affected by these trends, as livestock are often the only source of livelihoods for the people living in these areas.”
Atmosphere and climate
“With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race.”
“The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.”
“The livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The largest share of this derives from land-use changes – especially deforestation – caused by expansion of pastures and arable land for feedcrops. Livestock are responsible for much larger shares of some gases with far higher potential to warm the atmosphere. The sector emits 37 percent of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2) most of that from enteric fermentation by ruminants. It emits 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (with 296 times the GWP of CO2), the great majority from manure. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.”
“The world is moving towards increasing problems of freshwater shortage, scarcity and depletion, with 64 percent of the world’s population expected to live in water-stressed basins by 2025.”
“The livestock sector is a key player in increasing water use, accounting for over 8 percent of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feedcrops. It is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, “dead” zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others. The major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feedcrops, and sediments from eroded pastures. Global figures are not available but in the United States, with the world’s fourth largest land area, livestock are responsible for an estimated 55 percent of erosion and sediment, 37 percent of pesticide use, 50 percent of antibiotic use, and a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources.”
“Livestock also affect the replenishment of freshwater by compacting soil, reducing infiltration, degrading the banks of watercourses, drying up floodplains and lowering water tables. Livestock’s contribution to deforestation also increases runoff and reduces dry season flows.”
“We are in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity. The loss of species is estimated to be running 50 to 500 times higher than background rates found in the fossil record. Fifteen out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed to be in decline.”
“Livestock now account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife. Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species. In addition, resource conflicts with pastoralists threaten species of wild predators and also protected areas close to pastures.”
“Some 306 of the 825 terrestrial ecoregions identified by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) – ranged across all biomes and all biogeographical realms, reported livestock as one of the current threats. Conservation International has identified 35 global hotspots for biodiversity, characterized by exceptional levels of plant endemism and serious levels of habitat loss. Of these, 23 are reported to be affected by livestock production. An analysis of the authoritative World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species shows that most of the world’s threatened species are suffering habitat loss where livestock are a factor.”
“An important general lesson is that the livestock sector has such deep and wide-ranging environmental impacts that it should rank as one of the leading focuses for environmental policy: efforts here can produce large and multiple payoffs. Indeed, as societies develop, it is likely that environmental considerations, along with human health issues, will become the dominant policy considerations for the sector.”
Finally, there is an urgent need to develop suitable institutional and policy frameworks, at local, national and international levels”
Gary Yourofsky has delivered thousands speeches around the world. Gary enlightens, shocks people with reality, and provokes his audience to think the most powerful, ethical points of veganism. To learn more visit adaptt.org and Gary’s channel on YouTube.
“People who’ve been oppressed understand oppression better than others.”
“When you hide the truth from people then you have atrocities take place.”
“That brings to mind a quote that made me go vegan from a bishop from England, William Ralph Inge, in an 18th century sermon. This man said that we have treated our cousins in fur and feather so horribly that beyond a doubt if they ever formed an organized religion the devil would be depicted in human form.”
“We cut things off their bodies, their horns while they’re fully conscious off the cows, we cut the beaks off of hens, we rip the testicles out of baby pigs when they’re born, we torment them, put them on concentration camp trucks, we send them to slaughter houses, they know what’s going on, they’re aware, they’re conscious, they smell death and fear and blood in the air, we cut them up in pieces, this stuff has to stop.”
“When confronted with comparing the animal holocaust to the Jewish holocaust: “we’re talking 12 million people were killed by the Nazi’s, in one year alone on this planet 60 billion land animals 90 billion marine animals are tortured, tormented, and killed in the world’s most massive holocaust. That’s just in one year alone. In America today, 30 million land animals will be tortured and killed in one day alone.”
“If you took humans off this planet the extinction of humans would benefit everything that exists; the animals, the forest, the air, the water, the mountains… if you removed ants, this is how special ants are, the whole ecosystem would collapse without ants… if the bees disappear everything falls apart.”
When questioning Gary’s perspective that people who run slaughter houses are like Nazi’s: “sure, to their victims they are. It doesn’t really matter what I think. To me yes, but most importantly to their victims. The victims don’t see the people that kill Jews any different than the people who kill cows”
When the argument of nature being full of species killing other species: “It’s also full of species not killing other species. 75% of the animals on this planet are herbivores. But why do we try to justify human behavior based on lion behavior or shark behavior? It’s also unfair because nobody else wants to do any else that lions do. You notice that convenient argument, we just want to do what the lions do when they eat Antelope.”
The interviewer also inquired about humane killing. Gary cleverly retorts with an analogy of taking a women on a date, wining and dining her, then slipping her a date rape drug and raping her. He then asks “is that humane? Why not? She didn’t feel a thing! See cause the act of rape of evil ok the act of killing is evil. We can’t do it in a nice way…”
Asked, are we progressing at a pace that is sufficient: “not quickly enough for the victims. But, sadly, as you know, change is slow. I t took us four hundred years to convince white people in America not to own blacks. You can see why this is taking so long. We can’t even treat each other kindly, you can see why we have a difficult time treating chickens, and pigs, and cows… with kindness. As I bring this up I want to let people know that the path to peace is through veganism.”
“We can find peace on this planet by eradicating speciesism. Because this is the first form of hatred humans are taught. Racism, sexism, Antisemitism, hetero-sexism, these are branches of hatred. The root is speciesism because that’s the first form of hatred humans are taught. When you’re a kid growing up you’re taught be nice to the dog, be nice to the cat, but that cow and that chicken he doesn’t count, just kill him, screw them. Uh, be nice to the horse, be upset when someone poaches a rhino, be upset when somebody cuts the fins off of a shark. Hey, but that turkey, kill him, it’s thanksgiving, it’s a holiday. So, the kid is confused growing up. So when we get down to talking about discrimination and why it’s wrong and where it comes from, it all stems from that somebody looks and acts differently than you. If you taught a child growing up that hey, just because chicken looks differently than you do, that chicken has every right to live, that spider has every right to live, just like you do. How is that child going to grow up and look at a different person who’s a different size, shape and color, how is that kid going to look at that person in hatred, with violence. Speciesism, by eradicating that, we can bring peace to this planet. ”
When inquiring about Gary’s focus on the moral aspect of being vegan, and if it would be more effective to stand on the health and ecological reasons, Gary beautifully responds with “Because the issue is going to be ethics to me. Health issues are selfish reasons, I’m trying to make people unselfish, the reason why we’re so mean to animals is because we think we’re so special. I’m trying to make people altruistic. Now here’s what I love about the health benefits of veganism. When you’re being altruistic you should never anything in return. When you’re vegan you get a lot of great things in return; your health, you’re good to the earth. Let’s face it, the worst form of environmental destruction is animal agriculture. So there’s some great benefits and kickbacks. But, without a clear conscience, without mental health, we can’t have physical health. So if you’re going to focus on the physical health aspects and miss this (mental) aspect you’re still not right.”