Meat-eating is the cause of many civilization diseases, e.g. diabetes, gout, fatty liver, edema, rheumatic disease, allergies, disorders of metabolism, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These ailments are the result of overfeeding and wrong nutrition. The cause of many allergies and of many of these diseases are to be found in animal proteins. Numerous studies have proved such connections. Many incurable skin diseases may only be cured by omitting meat from the diet. Some South Indian and Chinese people who live strictly vegetarian since centuries are definitely healthier.
2. Can vegetarian nutrition lead to deficiency symptoms?
No! A balanced vegetarian diet contains all necessary nutritive substances (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) in sufficient quantity, especially all amino acids, vitamin B12, iron and calcium. A recent study in the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, surveying more than 11 years, attests that vegetarians have a longer live expectancy end a lower susceptibility to disease (especially cancer and vascular disease).
3. Why are there "animal factories"?
During the last decades the consumption of meat, milk and eggs has increased enormously, making intensive animal farming a good business. The animals' situation has thus impaired dramatically. Animal factories imply continuous, endless stress (being locked in extremely narrow cages, lack of places to rest, stunted growth, inappropriate feeding, lack of social contacts etc.) It is the direct result of permanent demand for too much and too cheap meat.
4. Why do meat-eaters waste food?
Feeding 10 kg of corn to a cow results in only 1 kg beef. The other 9 kg are needed for the animal's metabolism and are turned into manure. Used directly, corn and other field-produce offer ten times as much food (see also Illustration). Meat-eaters consume (indirectly) many more plants than vegetarians (see also question 6.).
5. Is it true that meat consumption increases drug abuse?
Living conditions in animal factories demand an extensive use of drugs, that we consume with the meat we eat (e.g. antibiotics, hormones, psycho-drugs, tranquilizers).
6. What's the connection between hunger in the so-called 3rd world and meat consumption?
The huge quantity of meat we eat can only be produced with the help of extensive imports of vegetable animal food (about 23 millions of tons per year into the European community). At the same time people in the poorer regions of the world go hungry. According to UNICEF 40.000 children starve every day - because they lack this vegetable food, because the farms in these regions cultivate corn, soja, maniok and other plants to ship them to the industrial countries to be fed to the livestock.
7. Eating and being eaten. Isn't that quite natural?
Many people would become vegetarians if they had to kill the animals they desire to eat by themselves. They close their eyes to the fact that others (butchers) are doing it for them. We can live perfectly well without killing animals - therefore it is senseless cruelty to let them be killed.
8. Vegetarian food - the food of the future?
The world population is rising constantly. Agricultural areas cannot be enlarged without enormous ecological damage. On the contrary - they are reduced by permanent overstraining and unilateral exploitation. With worldwide vegetarian nutrition nobody wold have to go hungry - today and tomorrow. We are missing this chance if we maintain meat consumption and even promote it by exporting meat surpluses from the European Community to so-called 3rd-world countries. Hunger is being made.
9. Are meat-eaters responsible for the dying of our forests?
Besides air pollution by sulfur dioxide (power plants, industry) and nitric oxides (automobiles), the dying of our forests originates in evaporation of ammonia-containing liquid manure, the waste-product of animal factories. Ammonia is converted to nitric acid and is part of the acid rain. Forest areas around large animal farms are evidently strongly damaged. More than 30% of the forest damage in the Netherlands is due to intensive animal farming. Clouds of ammonia from the liquid manure can even be traced in Lapland.
1O. Why is the ground-water damaged?
The ground-water is not only strained by artificial fertilizers, but also by fertilizing with manure. Drinking water containing nitrate may cause cancer and other dangerous diseases, especially in infants. Even mineral water shows an increasing concentration of nitrates, though it is taken from very deep wells and seeped from the surface 30 to 100 years ago
11. Does meat consumption promote the destruction of nature?
To cultivate the most vegetable animal food on the smallest agricultural area and to get rid of the liquid manure, huge fields are planted with monocultures, especially corn (maize), because this plant tolerates large amounts of manure. Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides arc dispersed. These alter the ecology of the soil, can get into the ground-water and appear as residues in food. Without meat consumption a less intensive and more natural agriculture would be possible.
12. And the rain forest?
The South American rain forest ("lung of the world") is cleared mainly to create monocultures and pasture-grounds. This means destruction of areas many times as large as Germany. The water balance, the climate and the carbon dioxide contents of the air are lastingly altered. Plant and animal species are extinguished.
I believe in peaceful protest; not eating animals is non-violent protest.
Paul McCartney, pop-singer
The question is not, can they reason?
Nor, can they talk?
But: can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham, philosopher, 1748 - 1832
(re-translated from German)