It’s Food Day! Organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is a nationwide celebration and movement to improve our country’s food policies as they relate to health and nutrition, hunger, farm worker justice and animal welfare. Fortunately, we have the power to make a difference in all of these areas right now, simply by leaving animals off our plates. Here’s how:
Health and Nutrition: Animal products have been linked to urinary tract infections in women and a host of problems for men, from impotence to infertility. Not only that, but studies have found that meat, dairy and eggs increase the risk of some of the nation’s top killers, such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Check out the award-winning film Forks Over Knives for easy-to-digest information on how choosing vegetarian foods can prevent, and even reverse, illness.
Hunger: More than 70% of grain produced in the US is fed to livestock. In fact, eating 1,000 calories of meat can easily use more than 7,000 calories in plants, not to mention the additional use of resources such as land, water and energy. Eating plants directly is more efficient than growing and harvesting them to funnel through farmed animals. We can feed more people with vegetarian foods.
Farm Worker Justice: Meat industry workers endure hazardous conditions such as higher exposure to disease and inhalation of toxic fumes, and the companies employing them often crush union organizing efforts. Undocumented workers are underpaid and receive no worker’s compensation for on-the-job injuries, which are common in these fast-paced facilities. Labor rights activist César Chávez was a proud vegetarian in support of both the workers and animals oppressed by the agricultural industry.
Animal Welfare: Nine billion land animals are raised and killed each year for food in the US. Farmed animals endure unimaginable abuses behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness, and we deny them adequate legal protections which allow such cruelties to become standard industry practice. If those same abuses were inflicted upon the dogs and cats with whom we share our homes, they would likely lead to criminal prosecution. We can stand up for animals each time we sit down to eat, simply by choosing vegetarian foods.
For delicious, healthy, sustainable and humane meal ideas that you can enjoy on Food Day – and every day – visit VegRecipes.org.