The Great American Meatout

On March 20, 1997, the first day of spring, the Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM)
sponsored its 13th annual "Great American Meatout". Patterned on the American
Cancer Society's annual "Great American Smokeout", there were educational events
throughout the United States that educated people about the benefits of vegetarian diets.
Many Americans signed the "Meatout Pledge" promising to "kick the meat
habit", at least on the day of the Meatout, and to "explore a less violent
diet." Hence, this is a very good time to consider the many important reasons for
switching to a vegetarian diet:

1. Concerned about health? Animal-based diets have been strongly linked to many
degenerative diseases, including heart problems,strokes, and various types of cancer.

2. Concerned about tremendous annual national budget deficits and high taxes? Medical
expenditures have soared from $80 billion in 1970 (6% of U. S. GNP) to an estimated $1.06
trillion in 1994 (14% of GNP) and is projected to be $1.7 trillion by the end of the
century (18% of GNP).

3. Concerned about animals? Over 9 billion farm animals are killed for their flesh
annually in the United States after suffering horribly in confined spaces where they are
denied fresh air, exercise, or any satisfaction of natural instincts.

4. Concerned about the environment? The production of animal products is a major
contributor to soil depletion and erosion, extensive pesticide use, air and water
pollution, the rapid destruction of tropical rain forests and other ecosystems, and
potential global warming.

5. Concerned about world hunger? Over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is
fed to animals destined for slaughter, while 20 million people die annually due to hunger
and its effects. The U. S. is also one of the world's largest importers of beef and fish,
and these imports are generally from countries where people are starving.

6. Concerned about resource scarcities? A meat-based diet requires upto 20 times more
land and 14 times more water and energy than avegetarian diet. Non-vegetarian diets also
require vast amounts ofpesticides, chemical fertilizer, and other resources.

7. Concerned about peace? Flesh-centered diets, by wasting land andother valuable
resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hungerand poverty that frequently lead to
instability and war.

8. Concerned about religious values? Vegetarian diets are mostconsistent with religious
mandates to act with compassion towardanimals, preserve human health, help hungry people,
protect theenvironment, conserve resources, and pursue peace.

9. Concerned about convenient, tasty meals? There are many deliciousvegetarian dishes
that don't involve extensive preparation or thefat, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics
associated with meat.

So, for our health, for defenseless animals, for millions of starving people, for our
earth and its resources, and for a more peaceful, just, and harmonious world, let's go
vegetarian! And a great time to start was March 20, 1997, the day of the "Great
American Meatout."

The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights



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