[ Info from The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom ]
What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment. A 2006 study, examining the impact of a typical week’s eating, showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. A vegan, organic diet had the smallest environmental impact, but the single most damaging foodstuff was beef and all non-vegetarian diets required significantly greater amounts of environmental resources, such as land and water. Similarly, a 2008 study found that the transition to less meat or even a complete switch to plant-based protein food has a dramatic effect on land use. By feeding grain and vegetables directly to people (rather than livestock) we can increase the amount of food available to everyone.
By going vegetarian you will help:
• Avoid excessive CO2 production
• Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production
• Save large amounts of water
• Avoid polluting our streams/rivers/oceans
• Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest
• Reduce the destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species
• Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals
The environmental arguments are strong, but many vegetarians simply believe that it is wrong to kill when there is no need to. Others love and respect animals and want to minimize their suffering. Some vegetarians are specifically opposed to intensive farming and choose vegetarianism because it sends a strong signal, guarantees you won’t be eating an animal reared in appalling conditions, and avoids the distress experienced by all animals slaughtered for their meat. Whatever their reasons for giving up meat, vegetarians benefit from much more than a clear conscience, with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.