Last year, lawmakers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture called attention to themselves by issuing two contradictory statements in just a matter of days, one in favor of Meatless Mondays and another that declared the department’s absolute opposition to supporting this global initiative. While the debacle left consumers a bit bewildered, it called attention to the high level of influence enjoyed by the meat industry in the United States. That outrage from lobbying meat enthusiasts was able to destroy a useful public-awareness campaign in under 24 hours, highlights the huge amount of influence these groups wield. Despite their efforts, however, the merits of Meatless Mondays are so numerous that both consumers and the agriculture business will eventually be forced to pay attention or pay the price.
As the prolific English broadcaster David Attenborough so eloquently stated, humans are a plague on the earth. We use so many resources that we are threatening our own existence. One of the best ways that we can ensure that the planet will be livable for future generations, however, is by saving water. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, farming accounts for 70% of all freshwater extraction. Most of this water is used to produce cattle. According to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, 2,500 gallons of water are necessary to produce 1 pound of beef compared to only 25 gallons needed to produce rice or grain. That means that anyone who participates in Meatless Monday saves 84,000 gallons of water per year.
Reducing our meat intake will also reduce our need to pillage the earth through the extraction of excessive amounts of fossil fuels. As oil extraction becomes increasingly costly, many are attempting to imagine ways that we can cut back on fossil fuels while still maintaining our groovy lifestyles. Coincidentally, it takes about 54 calories of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of protein from beef, compared to two calories of fossil fuel for one calorie of protein from soy. Some estimate that more than one-third of all fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. That means that if you opt for seitan instead of sausage during just one meal per week, you can save more than 15 gallons of gasoline per year.
And when it comes to your health, there are a plethora of reasons why a vegetarian diet is far superior to a meat based one. The chances of developing chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, kidney failure, osteoporosis and cancer, are markedly lower among vegetarians and vegans. Although doctors have been unable to determine the reasons why, studies have proven that vegetarians live longer. Due to these benefits, health insurance companies are beginning to offer discount rates to vegetarians and vegans, which means that cutting down on meat could help your finances as well!
But hey, if you don’t believe me, maybe one of the best reasons to cut back on meat consumption is because the UN says so. According to a report by the United Nations, it is absolutely imperative that humans stop consuming so much meat if we wish to avoid the horrifying effects of climate change. Essentially, our children will have nowhere to live if we keep eating so many burgers.
With these reasons in mind, more and more people should feel enthusiastic about supporting Meatless Mondays, and maybe even switching to a meatless diet seven days of the week. With enough people on board perhaps we could even take on the big shots that have our government agencies in their grip.