Climate Change

The Politics Of Going Vegetarian

In honour of national vegetarian week

Mohammed Ali 

Naked Politics Blogger

Going vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, pescatarian…

We all hear a lot more these days about different kinds of diets and lifestyles, whether it’s for health and beauty reasons, or for a bigger cause than ourselves.

Seeing as it’s national vegetarian week it seems like a good idea to discuss what the political reasons are for giving up meat.

1.) It’s nicer for the animals

This one’s pretty obvious- if you’re not consuming meat then you’re not contributing to animals being killed and slaughtered against their will. Every year over 56 billion farm animals are killed for food. Many of them grow up in really awful conditions with no proper quality of life and even for those that don’t, is it morally right to end another living thing’s life when you can survive without eating it?

Industrial fishing methods often result in lots of other sea creatures that aren’t even wanted by the fisheries being captured and then dying onboard the ship. So if you love animals and you believe in an animal’s right to life then going veggie is the right choice for you.

giphy-2

2) It’s way better for the environment

When you think of the environment you think of smog, cars and smokey factories ruining our atmosphere right?

But raising animals requires an insane amount of land, food water and energy which is destroying huge amounts of our ecosystem. The Smithsonian Institution say that seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them*. The meat industry also heavily pollutes our air; even the UN have said that we need to make a global shift towards a non-meat based (and even non-diary) diet to reverse the worst effects of climate change.

So if you’re interested in protecting our planet, going veggie is a great way to do it.

3.) You could be benefitting the global and UK economy

By living a much healthier lifestyle, you are much less likely to encounter health problems in the future, meaning you’ll be less likely to need extensive healthcare as a result of bad eating habits. In the long run you’ll also be contributing less toward climate change reducing the costs towards mitigating it.

And you’ll most probably save a few pennies yourself too as meat is often the most expensive food to buy in the supermarket. That’s some extra cash that you can spend elsewhere in the economy instead, on something much more sustainable!

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So there’s a break down of some of the politics behind going vegetarian; there’s a pretty convincing moral and social argument to doing it. Give it a try this #nationalvegetarianweek and see how you go!

 

*Smithsonian Institution, “Smithsonian Researchers Show Amazonian Deforestation Accelerating,” Science Daily 15 Jan. 2002 

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