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Ten Reasons you Should Reduce your Meat Consumption

Date:04 December 2019
Author:Sinead Walsh
Restaurant at Campus Fryslân
Restaurant at Campus Fryslân

I come from a generally very meat-orientated country, Ireland. We’re known for our green fields, farming and most of all, beef. When I was a kid, a meal wasn’t a meal unless it had meat in it. However, it took me many years to realise that this is something that is culturally conditioned into us as children. 

Eating meat used to be seen as a symbol of status, the rich would have meat for every meal, the poor would be lucky if they could have it once a week. Now, look at the world today, it’s the rich celebrities who are on plant-based diets because the rest of us claim that we can’t afford to eat vegan. When, in reality, vegetables are cheaper than meat!

This cultural conditioning of excessive meat consumption can be broken but we are the ones responsible for breaking it. We must create the new norm. 

Environmental Reasons

This is the main reason many people stop eating meat. It takes 10kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat. How many people can you feed with 1kg of meat? How many people can you feed with 10kg of gain? You do the math… but my calculations tell me that doesn’t seem too sustainable.

Health Reasons

Meat is high in saturated fat. The consumption of meat has been associated with heart disease, colon cancer, high cholesterol, E. Coli outbreaks and bird flu. Meat eaters are much more susceptible to heart disease, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Basically, you will probably live longer if you stop eating meat, now who wouldn’t want that?

 

Physiological Reasons 

Meat is very hard for your body to break down and using up much of the finite energy that your body produces. Eating veggie based meals will leave you feeling less tired and sluggish after eating. You will end up having more energy for a longer amount of time. 

Biological Reasons

Aside from that, we as humans have short, soft  fingernails and dull, blunt teeth which are not designed for ripping flesh from bones, unlike our predator counterparts. The jaw of a real predator, like a lion or tiger, only go up and down enabling them to tear flesh easier. However, our jaws can go both up and down, and side to side just like many of our herbivore counterparts. 

Financial Reasons

Personally, I like to call myself a budgetarian. I do not buy meat or contribute to the meat industry and it will save you a pretty penny. Many people start their veggie journey as students. And why not continue it into your later life? After all, a box of eggs is a lot cheaper than a fillet of chicken, that’s for sure.

Animal Welfare Reasons

Is it right that we raise animals simply to kill them when we decide that it’s time for their life to end? Is it any less wrong if this is carried out in a humane way? Personally, I don’t think so. It’s incredibly entitled of humanity to think that everything else should die, so we can live. Just think about the poor cute lil baby piggies.

 

Global Peace Reasons

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a world-renowned Russian author once claimed that “vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism”. His point? If we want to spread peace and live in a peaceful world we must consume a peaceful diet.

Logical Reasons

Humans are not supposed to be meat eaters. Originally our diet consisted of various nuts and fruits because we were not at the top of the food chain. We were right in the middle of the food chain. And then suddenly, some caveman discovered fire and boom, we’re at the top of the food chain, the ecosystem surrounding us did not have the time to catch up. We are not predators, we don’t have claws or fangs, we were not designed to kill and consume meat.

 

Ethical Reasons

Can you live with the guilt of another animals life being given up to feed you? Do you think about the processes involved in getting that steak to your plate? Or the life the animal had prior? For many people thinking through these things is enough to put them off meat for good. Paul McCartney once said; “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian”

Obvious Reasons

Our food choices play a significant role in the biggest environmental challenge of our time, climate change. The food we eat is part of the problem. Thankfully it’s part of the solution too.  Switching to a plant-based diet can reduce agricultural carbon emissions by up to 73%, saving 1 million litres of water, per person, per year. Globally, this would free up an area of land the size of Africa, taking pressure off some of the worlds more endangered ecosystems. 

“Someone once asked me; “How can I get strong as an ox without eating meat? my answer was, have you ever seen an ox eat a steak?”  - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Game Changers

 

About the author

Sinead Walsh
Hey there! My name is Sinead Walsh. I grew up in Ireland and I'm in the process of figuring out life as an international student in the Netherlands. Aside from an interest in politics and the environment, I am currently studying an MSc in Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Campus Fryslan.  You'll see me around the campus almost daily so don't be afraid to come up for a chat any time!