I have always been interested in why people chose to become vegetarians. Some of my friends have cut meat out of their diets for health reasons, while others say they simply prefer diets with less meat in them. A few people I know have actually become vegetarians because they believe that killing animals is wrong and by not eating meat, they are not supporting it. I have not talked to many people, who have cut meat out of their diets because it is more sustainable when it comes to energy and food production.
After doing some light research, I have found that on average, each American eats around 260 pounds of meat a year. For this meat to be produced, the livestock must be raised, given food and water, land, and is finally killed and transported to a grocery store or restaurant and served. This process uses about half of the United States’ water supply, and also causes water pollution via animal waste and fertilizer toxins. Moreover, it takes between 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. In terms of land, increased demand for meat has lead to deforestation and land clearing in order to create space for more livestock.
Therefore, the Union of Concerned Scientists advises that becoming a vegetarian is one of the most “environmentally responsible” and sustainable things a person can do. If we begin to eat less meat and instead focus on grains, plants, legumes, and nuts, we are doing much more good than we might realize. So whatever your reason is for becoming a vegetarian, consider this one!
(All numbers came from: http://www.culturesofresistance.org/food-issues-food-and-sustainability)