What is An Ecologically Friendly Diet?|
A food system that has ecological integrity produces food for people and companion animals with harm to people, animals or the environment. Vegetarian and vegan diets are the most healthy, economical and environmentally safe way to feed the rapidly growing world population.
A lot of the world’s food is contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Food crops are sprayed with insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other noxious chemicals. Food is irradiated and genetically modified. Livestock, poultry and fish are fed masses doses of antibiotics and growth hormones.
What is Factory Farming?
From birth to auction to slaughter sentient vegetarian animals are treated as food machines. Condoning this violence can make us be insensitive to the animals’ suffering.
Factory farming is the mass production system of breeding and raising farm animals, such as chickens, pigs and cows, exclusively for the sake of maximum profits. These animals are confined for their entire lives in stressful, unsanitary and inhumane conditions.
Transporting millions of animals results in mass injuries and deaths. “Downers” are animals who injured and cannot walk. Every year, Australia ships more than six million sheep overseas. The sheep are mired in their wastes for weeks. Studies have found that in one shipment alone 1600 sheep died.
What’s Wrong with Factory Farming?
The horrid living conditions on factory farms encourage the spread of infectious diseases, which factory farmers attempt to control by continually feeding antibiotics to the animals. This in turn has resulted in new virulent strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose a major health threat to humans. As well, the animals have dangerously high levels antibiotic and pesticide residues. Each year, thousand of people die from salmonella poisoning caused in part by the misuse of chemicals in animal feed. These vegetarian are also fed animal by-products. What sick animals eat, we eat too.
Who’s responsible for Safe Food Production?
The meat, poultry, fish and dairy industries are powerful economic forces which have exercised almost total, unrestricted control over our dietary habits. Yet those who run these industries are not good corporate citizens because many do not provide safe, healthy food. Government controls, regulations and inspections are inadequate. They do little to ensure that our food is safe,let alone nutritious.
How Are Ecosystems Threatened by the Meat Industry?
The mass production of meat and dairy products results in a devastating waste of land, forest, fuel and water. Hundreds of acres of rainforest and vegetation, which sustain our ecosystem, are destroyed every hour to create pastures and cropland for livestock. The land used to feed one meat-eating person could feed twenty vegetarians. Furthermore, the excrement from billions of animals bred for food pollutes water, land and air. The slaughter of wildlife which is attracted to livestock and fish farms is yet another tragic consequence of meat production.
But Aren’t People Carnivores?
Contrary to popular belief, we are naturally better suited anatomically to a vegetarian diet. Natural carnivores have a short digestive tract in order to rapidly eliminate decaying meat. Their stomachs produce quantities of hydrochloric acid for digesting animal muscles. And carnivores possess sharp, elongated teeth for tearing flesh. Vegetarian animals like us, on the other hand, have longer digestive tracts that are poorly suited for the digestion and elimination of dead animals. Our teeth are designed for biting, chewing and grinding fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains.
Isn’t eating Meat Necessary to Stay Healthy?
On the contrary, the typical meat-eating diet is high in fat and low in dietary fibre. It causes heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and other serious health problems. By eating soya products such as tofu, or by combining vegetables and grains, we can obtain all the protein we need without adding dangerous saturated fats to our diet.
The life expectancy of a vegetarian is longer than that of a meat eater. Studies of vegetarian societies show substantial reduction of coronary disease and cancer, the two leading killers of meat eaters.
Why Shouldn’t I Feed My Companion Animals Pet Food?
Your animal’s nutritional are not met by most commercial dog and cat foods. These products may include the unhealthy by products of the factory farming system such as meat not fit for human consumption.
Your companion animal should be treated as a member of the family and be given healthy food. If you find it unhealthy or unethical to support factory farming
You should realize that meat products can jeopardize your animal’s health too.
Dogs easily survive on a balanced meatless diet. Cats require high levels of the amino acid taurine, vitamin A and the fatty acid arachidonate. Without an adequate supply of these nutrients a cat could go blind or suffer fro heart disease. Supplements are available to ensure the good health of dogs and cats. Companion animal food recipes are available from health and book stores.
Some of the major pet food companies conduct vivisection. Animals have been found neglected and forced to live in barren cages. Dogs are debarked.
Some of the experiments involve carrying out palatability tests. Other, more severe experiments, include looking at “metabolic energy” of dog and cat food that involves confinement in stainless-steel metabolic cages; removing/damaging kidneys to see how protein affect dogs with kidney failure; cats that are overfed and then starved to investigate the link between weight loss and liver disease; repeated blood withdrawal; leg bones removed to look at affect of different diets and dogs subjected to repeated chest wounds to see if diet affect fur growth.
What Can I Do?
- Phase out all animal products
- Boycott veal because white veal calves are taken from their mothers at birth, isolated in small crates and fed an iron- deficient diet to make them anaemic for white meat. Eating any veal supports a cruel industry and is unhealthy for you and your family
- Urge businesses, such as restaurants, schools, entertainment outlets, parks and transportation companies, to provide vegetarian and vegan meals, to offer food low in sodium and sugar and to use unsaturated vegetable oils
- Urge government to require fast food outlets to list the ingredients and the nutritional value of their products, to compel producers to label their products, to legislate that irradiated and genetically modified foods be labelled and to set standards for organic foods
- Urge governments to provide training programs and incentives to farmers to stop putting chemicals on food crops
- Support stores who sell organically grown fruit, vegetables, grains and other foods. These products are becoming readily available and will be less expensive as sales increase. They are safe, wholesome and nutritious
- Check the labels on loose food products. A label with four digits indicates conventionally grown food (eg using pesticides and fertilizers). A label with five digits (starting with an 8) indicates that the food is genetically modified. And labels with five digits (starting with a 9) means the food is organically grown and not GM
- Diet for a New America
- Animal Factories
- The Cookbook for People Who Like Animals
- Diet for a Small Planet
- Dogs and Cats Go Vegetarian
- Pregnancy, Children and the Vegan Diet
- Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple