Benefits of Going Veggie

What does it mean to "go veggie"? It generally means avoiding purchasing or eating meat. PAWS encourages individuals to go veggie full-time, but not eating meat and skipping the dairy even a few days a week has a positive impact on the lives of animals, the environment and your own health.

What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?

  • Vegetarians do not eat the meat from any animals, including seafood, but may still partake in dairy products and eggs.
  • Vegans are vegetarians who omit all animal products, including eggs, dairy products, and honey from their diet.
  • Many vegans and vegetarians also eliminate other animal products from their lives, such as the use of wool, leather or personal care products that contain animal by-products.

The benefits of going veggie are numerous.

For the animals

Many consumers don't make the connection between the neatly packaged food they buy and how its production may have caused suffering to billions of farm animals. Over the last several decades, animal agriculture has evolved into such a high demand, cost-cutting, automated industry that the welfare of living, feeling farm animals have sadly been lost to the industrialized world known as "factory farming."

Factory farming is the cruel practice of raising animals for meat, eggs and milk in overcrowded cages, barren warehouses, or highly restrictive pens or stalls to maximize production for human consumption and profit. Incredibly, farm animals are not protected under the Federal Animal Welfare Act. A majority of U.S. states-including Washington-exempt farm animals from anti-cruelty statutes as long as their systems and procedures are seen as "accepted," "common," "customary" or "normal." As a result, animals are subjected to unhealthy and unnatural living conditions while enduring untold suffering during their all-too-short-lives.

  • Approximately 80 percent of the cattle in our country are slaughtered by large corporate slaughterhouses--250 of them are killed every hour. (source: FactoryFarming.com)
  • Breeding pigs are confined in narrow metal cement-floored stalls barely the length of their bodies (gestation crates).
  • To meet the demand for breast meat, turkeys have been genetically altered to grow so quickly and to such a size that their skeletons can't keep up, to the point that their legs can no longer support them.

It's healthy

Consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts, there is no diet more nutritious than a vegetarian/vegan diet. The advantages of a vegan/vegetarian diet affect all ages-children are less likely to develop cancer at early ages, and the elderly add additional years to their lives.

While children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, seniors, and persons with illnesses should consult with a doctor and/or nutritionist when considering a meatless diet, it is also important to recognize that a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet is perfectly possible for many people. For more information about the health advantages of a vegan/vegetarian diet look to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

  • According to the Cancer Project, people who eat a meat-based diet have a higher risk of getting a wide variety of cancers.
  • Vegan/vegetarian diets lower rates of high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease.
  • Vegan/vegetarian diets help those who are already sick get well.

Helps the environment

A blog post on Treehugger.com reports that 51 percent of greenhouse gases come from the meat and dairy industry. This story in the Washington Post reports on a study about the negative environmental impacts of factory farming, among other concerns for human and animal health. Few people realize the extent of pollution caused by modern, high-density industrial operations that raise animals for food. If you go veggie, you will have a dramatic effect on significantly reducing water contamination due to runoff from factory farms, water usage, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide and pesticide use, and the destruction of wildlife and marine habitat.

  • More than half the water used today in the United States goes toward animal agriculture.
  • Farm animals consume 70 percent of the crop vegetation in the United States. (The Vegetarian Solution, pg.99)
  • Animal waste in groundwater can contain diseases like Salmonella and Listeria among others, all of which are threatening to humans, especially to infants.

More information on going veggie

  • Discover the great taste of animal-friendly food products at your local supermarket. There are a variety of brands with many different tastes to suit different people.
  • Join Vegetarians of Washington, the largest vegetarian organization in North America, to receive great discounts on vegetarian products and services, as well as attend their monthly dining events.
  • Stay up-to-date on Seattle's vegetarian dining possibilities at VegSeattle.com, or find vegetarian restaurants in your zip code and take a group of friends.

Educate yourself and your friends and family on the benefits of a vegetarian diet

On behalf of the animals, thank you for making compassionate choices in your life.

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