Rachel LugauerProfessor HayesEnglish 10115 October 2018Vegetarianism An estimated 7.
3 million people in the United States identify as a vegetarian (“Vegetarianism in America”). A vegetarian diet is free from any meat, fish, or poultry. Vegetarianism goes all the way back to the Pythagoreans.
The name came from Pythagoras, who came up with the Pythagorean Theorem (Avey). Supporters of vegetarianism say that it protects animals, makes people overall healthier, and is better for the environment. Opponents of vegetarianism say that meat is necessary to have a healthy diet, it can contribute to mental health problems and physical health problems, and that eating meat is not cruel or unethical because it’s been a part of life since the beginning of time. Both sides of the argument have valid points, but an investigation will be made of the statistics and research in order to decide whether vegetarianism is a good or bad diet. The first reason people support vegetarianism is because it protects animals from cruel and unethical slaughter. 68% of vegetarians and vegans say animal protection is the reason for choosing the diet (“Reasons for Choosing Vegetarianism or Veganism”). It is unnecessary to kill animals for food when there are vegetarian options instead.
Animals have thoughts and feelings, just as humans do. Vegetarians believe that animals should be treated with care and that they deserve to be protected. All sorts of animals are kept in crowded stalls where they are at high risk of disease, suffering, and even death. Not only do vegetarians believe that animals shouldn’t be eaten, but they believe that animals shouldn’t be used for clothing or entertainment purposes. Gandhi, an Indian spiritual leader, said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” This is a guideline for the vegetarians who choose this lifestyle. They believe the world would be a much better place if all the animals were treated with love and respect.
In addition to protecting animals from cruelty, people support vegetarianism because it makes people overall healthier. 69% of vegetarians and vegans say health is the reason for choosing the diet (“Reasons for Choosing Vegetarianism or Veganism”). According to registered dietitian, food and nutrition writer, and plant-based nutrition expert Sharon Palmer, “People who eat a plant-based diet live longer, have less cancer and heart disease, weight less, and have healthier diets.” A vegetarian diet can provide all the calcium, fats, minerals, and vitamins without partaking in consuming meat. Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and beans can help provide the body’s need for such items. Besides the fact that vegetarianism makes people healthier, people support vegetarianism is because it is better for the environment.
59% of vegetarians and vegans say concerns for the environment is the reason for choosing the diet. (“Reasons for Choosing Vegetarianism or Veganism”). Being a vegetarian can reduce your carbon footprint, save the water, and save the land. “Fossil fuels are used to transport animals and to power the production of their feed. If everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day, they would prevent 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and save 70 million gallons of gasoline” (“Why Going Vegetarian is Good for the Environment”). It’s important to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible. “Livestock production accounts for over 8 percent of global human water consumption.
If everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day, they would save 100 billion gallons of water” (“Why Going Vegetarian is Good for the Environment”). Saving the world’s water is important because poor nations that lack clean water could have more. “Thirty percent of the earth’s entire land surface is used for raising farm animals. If everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day they would save 3 million acres of land and prevent 3 million tons of soil erosion” (“Why Going Vegetarian is Good for the Environment”). The world’s land needs to be preserved, or the deforestation will destroy animal homes and habitats.
Although some argue that vegetarianism’s positive attributes outweigh the negative, it is important to consider both sides of the argument. People are against vegetarianism is because meat is necessary to have a healthy diet. When you don’t eat meat, you aren’t consuming the critical nutrients your body needs to properly function. “Saturated fats contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and the cholesterol from saturated animal fat is needed for the proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain” (“Should People Become Vegetarian?”). These vitamins are essential to having a healthy body. Vegetarians are deficient in Vitamin B-12 because it isn’t found in any plants.
It can be too hard to find all the nutrients in plants and other foods that are found in meat. In addition to meat being necessary to have a healthy diet, people are against vegetarianism because it contributes to mental health problems. People that follow a strict vegetarian diet have a higher chance of having anxiety, depression, and somatic symptom disorders (“Vegetarianism”). Without getting the proper nutrients our bodies need to function properly, we are automatically at a higher risk of obtaining a mental health disorder. Depriving a person’s body of anything has some sort of negative effect on it, small or large. An article from Women’s Health told a story of a 35 year old patient who had always been very energetic before becoming vegetarian.
When she made the switch, she became more tired and less motivated. She also became anxious, cried a lot, had panic attacks, and became scared of simple things such as riding the New York subway. A Columbia professor and psychiatrist prescribed eating grass fed steak. After eating the steak, the patient’s energy level went back up and her panic attacks went down by 75% (Waldbieser). This is just one of many real life examples of how vegetarianism causes mental health problems. In addition to contributing to mental health problems, people are against vegetarianism because they believe eating meat isn’t unethical because it has been what people have done since the beginning of time.
In order to survive, people a long time ago would have farms. They would raise animals, some used for work or to eat, and some to grow crops. Without eating animal meat, a lot of people would have starved to death. Nowadays, there are growing movements for cruelty free, organic meat.
The animals must have access to the outdoors, clean water, and clean air. The animal’s food cannot contain growth hormones or antibiotics. When it is time to kill the animals, they have to be stunned unconscious before they can proceed (“Should People Become a Vegetarian?”). As a result of my research, I believe that the vegetarianism diet is not something I would partake in. I have no problem with people being vegetarians if they wish to be, but I don’t agree with the idea of it because of the negative side effects. Some people believe that vegetarianism is good because it saves the animals and helps the environment, but others believe it isn’t good because of the negative health effects and problems. I believe the negative side of vegetarismism is enough to prevent me from agreeing with it, but people can make that choice for themselves.
There are a lot of other reasons why people choose or don’t choose vegetarianism, but the majority of people agree with the main reasons.