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.
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.
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.
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.
On behalf of the animals, thank you for making compassionate choices in your life.
Above: A PAWS volunteer educates the public about animal welfare issues at a local festival.