Good Reasons to go veg*an
There are several reasons to avoid animal products in food as well as in clothes; among them: animal suffering, your health and world hunger.
Animal suffering behind meat and leather.
Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. -- Samuel Butler
Behind every bit of meat, as well as behind any leather cloth, there is a huge amount of suffering. Animals lie almost immobilized in small cages, until they are hung upside down, cut open and bled to death.
Things are not better for animals used to produce eggs, milk and dairy products in general. These animals live their whole lives in small cages without any chance to move or see the sun.
Of course there are less cruel ways to kill animals and to produce dairy products. Unfortunately these ways -- which would anyway be unacceptable -- are much more expensive, and so are very unlikely to be found.
Oversimplifying, we have to choose between an hamburger and a life, between a leather belt and a life, between a glass of milk and the freedom of a living being.
If you think you'd never kill a cow for meat, or keep her imprisoned in a small cage for milk, then this is a good reason for stopping paying someone else who's doing it for you.
If you think that life and freedom of a cow, of a pig, of every living being is more important than an hamburger, a glass of milk or a leather belt, this is a good reason to give up meat, dairy products and leather.
How a vegetarian diet can improve your health.
The average age (longevity) of a meat eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism. -- George Bernard Shaw
Actually, vegetarians outlive other people of many years and, even more important, are much healthier. Heart attacks are very unlikely in vegetarians and cancer rate is 60% less respect to other people.
Giving up meat and fish doesn't lead to any deficiency; if you also avoid eggs and dairy products you'll get the major benefits but this requires a small integration of Vitamin B12. There are natural B12 integrators, and using them is not less natural then following advices like `eat more fruit': you eat a natural product to improve your health.
If you care for your health this is a really good reason to give up meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Correlation between meat eating and world hunger.
Our food system takes abundant grain, which people can't afford, and shrinks it into meat, which better-off people will pay for. -- Frances Moore Lappe
Every day, lots of people experience hunger and die of starvation and we accept it as an unavoidable fact thinking there's not enough food for everyone.
If you look at the data, however, our lands give us enough food for everyone. If we directly ate vegetable products, we could feed everybody in the world and free one billion people from starvation.
But luckily we can also process natural products in order to get nice, tasty food. Rearrangement leads to a small waste of course, but there would still be enough food for everyone.
Problems arise when we come to meat and other animal products; you need over 10 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef! Moreover, grain used to feed livestocks comes from poor countries, while meat is produced for the richest ones.
That's way one billion people suffer for starvation. Estimations tell us that if 10 percent of people became vegetarian, there would be enough grain to save 60 million people from hunger and starvation.
If you care for those people, you have another good reason to become vegetarian.
What you can do
I've always been very bonded to animals -- more so than most people. I don't think that they can defend themselves, so we have to help them. -- Jennie Garth
Small changes in our attitudes can make a great difference for animals and poor countries. Here something we can do.
Everybody should seriously think about giving up meat and, possibly, dairy products. The most important thing is to search for reliable sources of informations. Many doctors claim that vegetarian diet is not balanced or unhealthy; however, not many years ago, many doctors used to speak positively about smoke!
For reasons I can't understand, people tend to blindly believe to doctors. Most doctors give bad suggestions, just like most programmers write awful programs, and most web designers create awful sites.
Search for medics who are pro-vegetarianism and remember that a single opinion suggesting a change of attitudes is always more significant than one hundred opinions against it. Possible sources of informations are http://www.pcrm.org, http://www.vegansociety.com and http://www.ivu.org.
You may also consider to look at a so-called `Vegetarian Starter-Kit': a collection of informations and suggestions to help becoming vegetarian; as an example: http://goveg.com/VegKit/index.html and http://www.pcrm.org/health/VSK/starterkit.html.
If you are already vegetarian you can help to spread informations about these topics. You can also consider, when you find wrong informations about vegetarianism on newspapers and magazines, to write letters to state your opinion.
Further readings: A photographic exhibition on vegetarian and vegan lifestyle