Since there's never been a better time to go vegetarian, we thought we'd let you in on our Top 10 Reasons Not to Eat Meat. They speak for themselves, so without further ado, here they are.
1. Help the Poor
While there is ample reason for indignation at the 100 million tons of grain used for biofuels, more than seven times as much grain (760 million tons) is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat.
2. Stop Cruelty to Animals
On today's factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates and other confinement systems. These animals will never raise families, root in the soil, build nests or do anything that is natural and important to them.
A recent United Nations report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow concludes that eating meat is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global". The report finds that eating meat causes almost 40 per cent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships and planes in the world combined.
4. Avoid Bird Flu
The World Health Organisation says that if the avian flu virus mutates, it could be caught simply by eating undercooked chicken flesh or eggs, eating food prepared on the same cutting board as infected meat or eggs, or even touching eggshells contaminated with the virus.
5. Prolong Your Life
Vegetarians live six to 10 years longer on average than meat-eaters do. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases and the three biggest killers – heart disease, cancer and strokes.
6. Avoid the World's Number One Killer
The risk of developing heart disease among meat-eaters is 50 per cent higher than it is among vegetarians. Drs Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn have used a vegan diet to prevent and reverse heart disease. Dr Esselstyn's book documents their 100 per cent success with unclogging people's arteries and reversing heart disease.
7. Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, "Vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to get cancer than non-vegetarians, regardless of other risks such as smoking, body size, and socioeconomic status".
8. Fit Into a Bikini
Vegetarianism is the ultimate weight-loss diet. About 31 per cent of urban Indians are either overweight or obese, but only 2 per cent of vegans are obese. A vegetarian diet is the only diet that has passed peer review and taken weight off and kept it off.
9. Create Global Peace
Leo Tolstoy claimed that "vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism". His point? If we want to sow the seeds of peace, we need to eat a peaceful diet. Eating meat supports killing animals just to satisfy humans' acquired taste for flesh.
10. Discover the Joy of Veggies
Vegetarians report that when they adopt a vegetarian diet, their range of foods explodes from a limited selection of centre-of-the-plate meat items to a wide range of grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables that they didn't even know existed.
Sir Paul McCartney sums it all up, "If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you could do. It's staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty".
No matter what reason you choose, you can start the exciting journey towards a vegetarian lifestyle simply by taking the "Pledge to Be Veg" today!