It’s time to go cold turkey on meat consumption

Illustration by Nat Inez, Graphics Contributor.

Remember how you used to think your grandparents were crazy for still smoking a pack a day of Export As when you were young? It took many years after doctors first established the link between premature death and tobacco for society to actually change. That’s true across the board when it comes to changing human behaviour. There’s really nothing we tend to hate more than being told to change our habits.

But as the old saying goes, we have to catch up with the times before they catch up with us. The World Health Organization has identified processed meat as a class one carcinogen the same as tobacco. If your own health isn’t reason enough to change your diet, then how about the devastation industrial meat consumption is inflicting on the planet?

When I recently went into the doctor for a check-up (yeah, I’m 25, but I’m also a hypochondriac, so I get monthly check-ups like a boss), he dismissed my concerns about having high blood pressure.

“You’re a vegan,” he said, assuring me that the chances of having high blood pressure on a vegan diet were very low.

It’s true. My body is fuelled by nothing but plants, plants, plants, and more plants. And I’ve never felt better. Even though it is possible to eat an unhealthy vegan diet (soy and Daiya cheese, I’m looking at you), research suggests that vegans live longer than those who eat animal products. The Canada Food Guide was also recently updated to include more grains and vegetables, and less animal products.

What I do have is an unending issue with the state of the average slaughter house.

But let me be clear: I don’t have beef with the trophic web, nor the way traditional hunters and gatherers live. What I do have is an unending issue with the state of the average slaughter house. Animals suffer, bleed, starve, and contract every disease under the sun, until it is finally time to die a slow and inhumane death.

The empath in me cannot support such an industry. And as if that isn’t enough, the impacts of making one McDonald’s hamburger is so detrimental to the environment that every time I see a giant golden “M,” it makes my flesh crawl.

According to the LA Times, one burger requires 2 500 litres of water to make. It takes a lot to make a writer speechless, but that just did.

Eating animal products is killing us and our planet. It’s ridiculously expensive, and unthinkably cruel — to the animals, to the systems that support life, and ultimately, to ourselves.

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