Today, October 1st, is World Vegetarian Day, a celebration that kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month that extends through the end of October. Part of our work at CAS is to help people understand the suffering farm animals endure in the process of becoming our food, and the exponential benefits that transitioning to a compassionate diet brings–for the animals, for us, and for the planet. If we remove animals from our diet, there is so much less suffering, so we are celebrating this important month by helping you to go veg! Visit our exciting Veg Awareness Month webpage to explore delicious vegan recipes, discover resources that will help you in this life-affirming journey, watch videos, and more!
Food can be very personal — what and how we eat is often tied to ethnicity, religion, financial means, where we live in the world, health concerns, and our feelings about animals and the environment. The Economist dubbed Americans “The Kings of the Carnivores” but notably, our meat consumption has decreased 12.2% over the last five years. So what’s behind this unprecedented drop? A recent NPR poll showed that among those eating less meat, 66% are worried about their health; 47% are deterred by rising food prices, 30% are concerned about animal welfare, and 29% percent want to help protect the environment.
1) Animals are sentient beings: Cows, pigs, goats, turkeys and chickens have rich emotional lives – they experience joy, loneliness, love, grief and physical pain, just like us humans and our beloved cats and dogs. Read CAS Director Kathy Stevens’ latest blog in the Huffington Post about how we know this!
2) Food from factory farms contains some scary things: Do you want to feed your family antibiotics, pink slime (filler created by treating beef scraps with ammonium hydroxide), salmonella, and E-coli?
3) Meat, dairy, and egg production destroy the planet: Factory farms create massive amounts of manure that pollute waterways and the land, and contribute to global warming. These facilities also consume enormous quantities of grain, water, and fuel.
4) Improve your health: Americans are sicker than ever with skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, and heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that a whole-foods, plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse degenerative diseases. Watch the award-winning film Forks Over Knives which breaks it all down for us!
5) Veg food can be delicious and satisfying: There are countless resources to help you make tasty, healthy and cruelty-free meals to share with friends and family. Check out VegNews, VegWeb, Vegetarian Times, and our very own Compassionate Cuisine program at CAS as well as our recipes page.
6) Animal cruelty on factory farms is rampant: Animals raised for food endure horrific brutality from birth to death. Learn more about the disturbing abuse at Mercy for Animals, PETA, Compassion Over Killing, and The Humane Society of the United States and make more compassionate choices.
7) Easy substitutions for basic animal-based ingredients: Think you can’t give up some of the most basic food items? Check out Ecorazzi’s handy guide to replacements for eggs, milk, butter and cheese!
8) A veg diet can fuel an active lifestyle: Check out Ecorazzi for the many fierce and accomplished athletes who have gone veg.
10) Going veg is pretty easy: Does the idea of going veg seem daunting? No worries! PETA has a Free Vegetarian Starter Kit and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine makes it totally do-able through its 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program!
Let us know how it goes — we’re so happy you’re exploring or have already gone veg and we’re here to help!