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Vegan month teaches poverty mitigation and planet preservation aside from diet

/ 01:18 AM November 08, 2014

November has been declared as the World Vegan Month. By definition, a vegan is a follower of veganism, the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. Thus, a vegan not only shuns animal, fish and dairy products in his or her diet but also in the clothes, accessories and shoes worn, and even in the cosmetics used and household products applied.

Across the world, the vegan campaign illustrates not only a movement defying animal “genocide” (the endless cycle of violence and pain inflicted by humans upon billions of cruelly treated livestock) but espouses environmentalism as well. Here are just some of the following scientific figures being discussed in vegan websites.

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• Antibiotics in animal farms are killing humans.

The Plant Based Dietician online has cited a report by the Centers for Disease Control about antibiotics in animals killing humans. The CDC last year, as reported at the online SFGate, confirmed a link between routine use of antibiotics in livestock and growing bacterial resistance that is killing at least 23,000 people a year. The report is the first by the government to estimate how many people die annually of infections that no longer respond to antibiotics because of their overuse in people and animals. Along with the annual fatalities, the report estimated at least 2 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year. CDC Director Thomas Frieden said these are “minimal estimates” because they count only microbes that are resistant to multiple antibiotics and include only hospital infections, omitting cases from dialysis centers, nursing homes and other medical settings.

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• Livestock affects forests, water reserves, climate.

Livestock farming now accounts for the use of 70 percent of the global freshwater and 38 percent of the world’s land-use conversion. Some 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest, in fact, has already been cleared for grazing and feed crop production. The “Livestock and Climate Change” published in the issue of World Watch magazine reported that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions. This is corroborated by a 2006 report showing that worldwide GHG is attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry by up to 51 percent, citing an analysis performed by Robert Goodland, a former World Bank Group environmental adviser, with cowriter Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp.

Also, the book “Animal Science” of Dr. ME Ensminger, former chair of the Department of Animal Science at Washington State University, has this to say: “Is a quarter pound of hamburger worth a half ton of Brazil’s rainforest? Is 67 square feet of rainforest too much to pay for one hamburger? Should we form cattle pastures to produce hamburgers in the Amazon, or should we retain the rainforest and the natural environment? These and other similar questions are being asked too little and too late to preserve much of the great tropical rainforest of the Amazon and its environment. It took nature thousands of years to form the rainforest, but it took a mere 25 years for people to destroy much of it. And when a rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever.”

• Meat consumption has something to do with global poverty.

As more humans eat more animal products, more humans will actually be the poorer for it. Food experts have observed that the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry. About one-third of the world’s total grain harvest is fed to cattle and other livestock, while as many as a billion people suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition, according to Jeremy Rifkin in his book “Beyond Beef,” quoting data from the United States Department of Agriculture and the World Bank.

As the global population surges toward a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, Western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Program’s (Unep) international panel of sustainable resource management. The Guardian quoted Prof. Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, as saying: “Animal products cause more damage than (producing) construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as (burning) fossil fuels.”

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TAGS: Diet, Health, nutrition, Vegan, Vegan month
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