If you have been around City Hall MRT station recently you might have noticed these advertisements by the Singapore Vegetarian Society on the train doors. This is part of their ongoing campaign to encourage other people to cut down to meat consumption.
In support of this campaign, I am going to share on this blog why I have chosen to cut down on my meat intake since the start of this year.
The push to really commit to cutting down on meat intake was when I started following some vegetarians on Facebook and started to see many informative updates about being vegan animal cruelty.
Their approach wasn’t so much of shaming people who ate meat and claiming moral superiority. Instead, they were trying to encourage others to cut down on meat intake.
As such, I spent some time in December reading up about this topic in detail and I got to learn about the unethical ways animals were treated in farms.
This led me to make a resolution to cut down my meat consumption to around 2-3 meals per week.
Here are some factors which influenced my decision making.
1) Improving animal welfare
Majority of the meat we have today is generated from battery farms where animals are born and bred for production.
They are subjected to very crammed conditions in farms and also genetic and feed manipulation. This results in them growing so large that they grow so large that their bones cannot support their own weight. Most of them end up having developmental disorders and become deformed throughout their lives.
Besides having to be crammed in really small cages, animals are also killed in very inhumane ways. Those that are too small too sick to ‘produce’ are killed using the most violent methods stomped to death; having their necks wrung and having head slammed on to floor. For example in the Chicken industry, millions of male chicks are brutally killed each year because they are unable to lay eggs.
The reasons why farms are resorting to such unethical practices is largely due to overpopulation and capitalism. I think that we have simply too much people in this world and too little animals to feed us. As such, animals are treated like products and the objective of farms are basically to create as many as possible.
Also, capitalism and this whole focus on the bottom line makes factory owners and business owners more concerned about profits and reducing cost. To the extent that they disregard ethics.
For this reason, I think that if we all cut down on our meat intake and demand for meat by 50%, it will make a huge difference.
2) It is environmentally friendly
Another benefit of cutting down on meat intake is because it is an environmentally friendly thing to do.
Singapore has been facing erratic weathers in the past few months and all of these is very much due to global warming.
What many do not realize is that reducing meat intake would help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide.
A German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse gas emissions as a vegan’s diet.
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and a vegetarian himself), urges people to “Please eat less meat—meat is a very carbon-intensive commodity.”
The other two greenhouse gases which can be reduced by cutting down on meat intake is Methane and Nitrous oxide.
Methane is 21 more times effective in trapping heat than carbon dioxide and 37 percent of production comes from the meat industry.
Nitrous Oxide is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to the U.N., the meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65 percent of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.
Beef and lamb account for the largest agricultural emissions, relative to the energy they provide. By 2050, estimates indicate that beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while only contributing 3 per cent of human calorie intake If agricultural emissions are not addressed, nitrous oxide from fields and methane from livestock may double by 2070. This alone would make meeting the climate target essentially impossible.
Further Reading: Factory Farming is killing the environment
3) Health reasons
Cutting down on meat and increasing my vegetable and fruit consumption to replace it is also good for my health.
According to Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat, heavy consumption of meat will result in shorter life span and more disability at the end of your lives.
“Animal products clog your arteries, zap your energy and slow down your immune system. Meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age.”
Research has also shown that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. It was also associated with a 25% lower risk of cancer and 31% lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
So, if you want to do your part for the animals and environment and also enhance your wellbeing and health, do consider cutting down on meat intake.
If you find being vegetarian completely extremely difficult, here are some steps you can take to begin:
1) Eat only one meat-related meal per day
2) Go vegetarian once per week
3) Choose to include more vegetables instead of meat in your diet
If you’d like more information on this topic, do visit The Reducetarian Movement website here.