Ethical and Environmental reasons for being a Vegetarian

In the part 1 of the article, we reviewed some basic health reasons for adopting a non-meat diet. In this part, we explore ethical, moral, and environmental reasons. In the next upcoming part, we will discuss spiritual reasons.

Hunger problem:

1. Over 90% of all grain produced in America is used for feeding livestock – cows, pigs, lambs, and chicken – that wind up on dinner tables. Furthermore, for every sixteen pounds of grain spent for feeding the livestock grown for slaughtering, we get back only one pound of beef.

2. In terms of calorie units per acre, a diet of grains, vegetables, and beans will support 20 times more people than a diet of meat. So consumption of meat by some translates into hunger for others. World Hunger problem is thus largely illusory, because, if earth’s arable land were used primarily for production of vegetarian foods, the planet could easily support the population.

3. An acre of grains produces five times more protein than an acre of pasture set aside for meat production. An acre of bean or peas produces ten times more, and an acre of spinach twenty eight times more protein.

Environmental issues:

1. Livestock’s gas and waste is the number one source of nitrous oxide and methane, which are 310 times and 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide respectively. Livestock industry produces 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than that of the total world transportation systems – of all the cars, trains and planes combined.

2. Deforestation accounts for 18.3% of global emissions. Livestock overgrazing and crops production for the animals is a key reason for deforestation.

– If every American go on a meat-free day per week, it would be the same as taking 8 million cars off American roads.

– 1 person going vegetarian for 1 year reduces 3,267 pounds of CO2 emissions (equivalent to savings from all household equipments for 1 year), feed 5 times more people, save many lives.


55 billion animals are slaughtered every year for food. Animals suffer and feel pain too. Would you eat a bunny? Would you eat your dog? Would you eat your cat? Then why the hypocrisy.

If you have any doubts about animals suffering, watch this movie:
(Watch the trailer or watch the whole movie by clicking Watch Now in the link).

For a quick example, here’s a sample of what goes on before you get your chicken and eggs:

– Millions of birds every year have their bodies submerged in scalding hot water (about 143 degree farenheit) while they are fully conscious. When this happens, the chickens flop, scream, kick and their eyeballs pop out of their heads in their struggle.

– Even in cage-free production, hens are crowded inside windowless sheds, packed nearly wing to wing, with little or no access to the outdoors.

– Once a hen’s egg production declines, she will either be slaughtered for low-grade chicken meat products or disposed of like her brothers by being thrown alive into a grinding machine or suffocated in a plastic bag or dumpster. Another method of disposal used by egg industry is to pack the live hens into containers and bulldoze them into the ground, thus burying them alive.

Saving money:

Meat based food might seem cheaper with the $1 menus. But in reality, pound for pound, many vegetarian foods are better sources of essential nutrient and protein than meat. A 100-gram portion of meat contains only 20 grams of protein. In comparison, 100 grams of lentils yields 25 grams of protein; 100 grams of soybeans yields 34 grams of protein.

On average a sirloin steak might cost $5 to $7 per pound, whereas staple ingredients for a vegetarian meal averages less than $1 to $3.


“Higher Taste” published by International Society for Krishna Consciousness.