Ask 20 vegans at a dinner party why they choose to abstain from consuming animal protein and you are likely to get 20 different answers. Way back in June of 1989, the New York Times published an article called "How to Win An Argument with a Meat Eater" which compiled every argument from every angle available to support a plant based diet. The facts below are still relevant event though the numbers may be UNDERESTIMATED given this was written over 20 years ago! Additionally, when you put this data into context with new research (i.e. The China Study) the arguments are even more compelling.
* Number of people worldwide who will die of starvation this year: 60 million
* Number of people who could be adequately fed with the grain saved if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 60 million
* Human beings in America: 243 million
* Number of people who could be fed with grain and soybeans now eaten by U.S. livestock: 1.3 billion
* Percentage of corn grown in the U. S. eaten by people: 20
* Percentage of corn grown in the U. S. eaten by livestock: 80
* Percentage of oats grown in the U. S. eaten by livestock: 95
* Percentage of protein waste by cycling grain through livestock: 99 * How frequently a child starves to death: every two seconds * Pounds of potatoes that can be grow on an acre: 20,000 * Percentage of beef produced on an acre: 165 * Percentage of U. S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56 * Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of beef: 16
The Environmental Argument * Cause of global warming: greenhouse effect * Primary cause of Greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels * Fossil fuels needed to produce a meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 50 times more * Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75 * Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85 * Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million * Amount of meat U. S. imports annually from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama: 200 million pounds * Average per capita meat consumption in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama: less than eaten by average U. S. housecat * Area of tropical rainforest consumed in evey quarter-pound hamburger: 55 sq. ft. * Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year
The Cancer Argument * Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat 4 times a week vs. less than once a week: 4 times. * For women who eat eggs daily vs. less than once a week: 3 times * Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times. * Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who eat meat daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times
The Natural Resources Argument * Use of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock portion * Amount of water used in production of the average steer: sufficient to float a destroyer * Gallons to produce a pound of wheat: 25 * Gallons to produce a pound of meat: 2,500 * Cost of common hamburger if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by the U. S. taxpayer: $35 a pound. * Current cost of pound of protein from beefsteak, if water was no longer subsidized: $89 * Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13 * Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260 * Barrels of oil imported into U.S. daily: 6.8 million * Percentage of fossil fuel returned as food energy by most efficient factory farming of meat: 34.5 * Percentage returned from least efficient plant food: 32.8 * Percentage of raw materials consumed by U. S. to produce present meat-centered diet: 33
The Cholesterol Argument * Number of U.S. medical schools * Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30 * Nutrition training received by average U.S. Physician during four years of medical school: 25 hours. * Most common cause of death in U.S.: heart attack * How frequently a heart attach kills in the US: every 45 seconds. * Average US man's risk of death from heart attack: 50%. * Risk for average U.S. man who avoids the meat-centered diet: 15% * Meat industry claims you should not be concerned about your blood cholesterol of it is: normal. * Your risk of dying of a disease caused by clogged arteries if your blood cholesterol is "normal": over 50%.
The Antibiotic Argument * Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55 * Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13; percentage resistant in 1997: 99 * Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban * Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support.
The Pesticide Argument * Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by grains: 1 * Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by fruits: 4 * Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by dairy products: 23 * Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by meat: 55 * Pesticide contamination of breast milk from meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating: 35 times higher. * What U.S.D.A. tells us: meat is inspected. * Percentage of slaughtered animals inspected for residues of toxic chemicals including dioxin and DDT: less than 0.00004
The Ethical Argument * Number of animal killed for meat per hour in U. S.: 500,000 * Occupation with highest turnover rate in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker. * Occupation with highest rate of on-the-job injury in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker. * Cost to render animal unconscious with 'captive bolt pistol" before slaughter: $0.01 * Reason given by meat industry for not using 'captive bolt pistol': too expensive.
The Survival Argument * Athlete to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner). * Food choice of Dave Scott: Vegetarian * Largest meat eater that ever lived: Tyrannosaurus Rex * Last sighting of Tyrannosaurus Rex: 100,000,000 B. C.