Monday, December 06, 2004

Subject: Health and Sustainability: An Inside Look at the American Diet
Prepared by: Zach Hubbard & The Thanksgiving Turkeys

The following is a brief study pertaining to the American diet. We looked at issues such as physical and mental health, the environment, economic impacts, and a host of other related topics.

The results were surprising and informative. By taking the information contained in the following report and making informed decisions off the knowledge acquired, you will be able to benefit yourself, family, friends, and the world as a whole.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read the following report and remember that it was made with the intention of benefiting all those who encounter it. Feel free to further your knowledge by going beyond this investigation and looking into the sources provided. This report should only be looked at as an introductory step.


In 2001 my eyes were pried wide open. They were pried open to an economic reality that is looming over each American tax payer’s head. In a little over a decade America as a nation is going to have to come up with the revenues to fund a seventeen trillion dollar medical liability that is due to recipients of Medicare and Medicaid. This liability is currently unfunded to the degree of an Enron pension plan. If it was decided that the liability would be distributed evenly to each US citizen, it would result in a $60,000 dollar tab per person; yes, even for each newborn.

That deficit does not take into account another seven trillion dollars that will be due to Social Security recipients within that same time period or the twin deficits which currently grow at a rate of over two billion dollars per day. This is not an economics paper however, but the roots of it grew with these concerns.

In the following pages we will attempt to understand what underlies the great medical burdens of this country. The focus will be on the American diet and its catastrophic effect that goes far beyond the pocketbook.

Executive Summary

As Americans we are living beyond our means. Whether it is our excessive consumption of fossil fuels or excessive consumption of meat and dairy products, the negative effects are building rapidly and we along with the rest of the world are suffering because of it. The damage that is being done is like that of a heart attack in the making. The signs that it is coming are subtle, but when it does strike it is often fatal and quick. Luckily these are both preventable problems; just as a heart attack can be avoided by taking precautionary measures such as semi-annual checkups with a doctor, debt and related problems can be thwarted by calling attention to the cause and taking corrective action.

Being an informed citizen who refuses to standby and say nothing, I have taken it upon myself to help expose the harsh realities of our consumption patterns for what they are. Americans do not consume the way they currently do because they want to destroy the earth; they do it because they are products of their environment. With guidance and information, I believe Americans will be willing to alter their consumption routines for the betterment of all life on this planet. The only element needed to set Americans in motion is knowledge, and that is not going to come from watching the nightly news or listening to the lies of Rush Limbaugh on the morning trek to work.

In a world where the typical American is exposed to over three thousand advertisements a day, 90,000 a month, and 1,080,000 a year, all with the same message --- consume, it is understandable that as a population we are well adapted to doing so.

What the advertisements don’t show is the drain on resources and the net effect that has on us as human beings. Most of the goods Americans consume are imported from overseas and from foreign lands. The resources that are depleted and the wreckage that is made of the land for our consumption cannot be seen from the comfort of our suburban homes.

With our cup of morning coffee we do not see the leveling of the rainforests and with it the extinction of ninety percent of South American bird species that was necessary to make room for the coffee fields. We do not see American corporations driving down coffee farmers’ revenues from $2.00 per pound to $0.40 per pound so that Joe can pay $3.00 for his latte as opposed to $4.00, and with it driving the farmers and their families either into the streets or into other revenue providing activities, such as the cocaine industry.

As Americans our consumption patterns seem harm free. At the supermarket you see brightly lit and cleanly mopped aisles, decorated with foods in plastics, tins, boxes and Styrofoam. You never think twice about the excess waste in packaging and shipping or the process that went into making the food itself. Shopping is made convenient and quick which is greatly appreciated by those who have limited time outside of their working life.

The following information has been compiled for all those who live a busy life and are willing to take a moment out of it to educate themselves and help partake in the betterment of their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as everyone else’s.


It is day forty-five. At least I think it is day forty-five. My entire six weeks of life have been lived out in this dark shed. About ninety percent of the time the lights are kept off, the only time they ever come on is when it is time to eat our GM feed; a mixture of seed, hormones, antibiotics, and ground up chicken parts; it is nothing like the grass and insects I would naturally eat. When the light does shine, the sight is horrific. My friends are covered with lesions and growths, and I see that beaks have been replaced with bloody, infected stumps. Apparently we have been ‘de-beaked’ to keep the agitated from attacking others they share cramped quarters with.

After looking around the strategy set forth by our masters does not seem to be working as planned. Some of my weaker friends have been pecked to death and are lying motionless in a bloody heap. If they weren’t pecked to death, they died from infection and disease that can mostly be contributed to the ammonia laced air. The agitated have grown insane from being kept in the dark and in inadequate conditions. When the lights are off I fear for my safety, but at the same time I often dream of my ancestors. They were able to graze for grass in the dirt, and pick the earth for small critters. Never would they think about attacking their own kind, they shared a strong allegiance and bonds of friendship. They could even feel the sun on their feathers and roam freely with friends and family.

I wake up to madness. I have never seen the light of day and I wonder if I ever will. My body has grown weak; it is hard for me to walk. My legs have grown into stumps and I often have trouble keeping my balance. Sometimes I wish this life could just end, I do not understand why our masters keep us like this. We have no animosity towards them, we just want to enjoy life and live happily as well.

Oh what is this, they are opening the door, I think that is day light I see, I think that is the sky, I am not sure, this is new.

Chickens that are consumed by Americans today are kept in factory farms and are treated to the harshest of living conditions. They are born in incubators by the thousands and grow for six weeks together at which point they are ready for slaughter. Everything from the feed to the lighting is used to fatten the chickens as quickly as possible in order to maximize revenues. The only time chickens may see light is when traveling from the factory farm to their certain fate, the processing plant.

The average factory farm chicken’s life span is approximately six weeks. In this short time period, their diet and living conditions balloon them to 150-200% their full adult body size. In comparison, their ballooned body mass is equivalent to a two year old child weighing three-hundred and fifty pounds. In nature, chickens will live for about twenty five years. They are intelligent animals and live playful lifestyles. Chickens, as well as other animals raised for slaughter have the ability to develop relationships with human beings in the same fashion dogs and other household pets do.

Despite chickens being portrayed as ‘wimpy’ animals, they are very brave and loyal to their friends and family. A mother hen will defend her young at all costs; the fiercest of predators will not intimidate her from doing so.

It is sad that most chickens today are not given the opportunity to live a natural life. They are separated from their family and placed in a foreign environment amongst thousands of other chickens who will all live the same, short, predetermined life span; that is if they can outlast the disease infested, and ammonia laced environment (72 parts per million at the living surface.) To make a relative comparison, it is not safe for humans to breath ammonia levels greater than 30 parts per million for more than fifteen minutes in a given day. The chickens live eerie lives that for the most part are lived out in the dark amongst living mate’s corpses, and when their horrific life does comes to an end, it is done in the ugliest of fashions.

From the factory farm chickens are recklessly thrown into crates in which they will be delivered by truck to the processing plant. If they survive the trip from the factory farm to the slaughterhouse, they often arrive with broken legs and wings from being crammed into small boxes one on top of the other. At the processing plant they are presented with a horrific reality. A moving line of upside down chickens, clamped by both feet riding a roller coaster of death wing in wing with their factory farm mates. While they wait to be clamped to the line, they may notice the ground which is littered with dead birds that were mishandled and dropped to the ground or may have wiggled their way out of the shackles only to fall and break their neck upon impact.

When the bird is finally clamped by both legs to the moving machine, they ride consciously alert until their neck is slit by a moving blade that kills each chicken as it passes along. After that, they slowly pass through boiling water, which prepares them for the de-feathering machine. If they have not died yet from sever bleeding of the slashed neck, the two-hundred plus degree water is sure to end their horrific lives as they are boiled and drowned. From there a machine neatly removes their feathers, and after that the de-feathered bodies are gathered by employees and cut up into appropriate portions.

Before packaging, the meat is cleaned to provide a pleasing appearance. Lesions and growths are removed and dye and flavoring may be injected into the pale flesh to give it a natural color and taste. Due to the fact that the animal was raised in such poor conditions and fed an unnatural diet, it is not uncommon for the flesh to be flavorless and pale in color prior to ‘dressing’.

After a brief stay on earth, only five-tenths of a percent of their natural life, the chicken has incurred an atrocious life. It can only be compared with other animals such as pigs, lambs, cattle, and other factory farm raised animals for human consumption. While many people may gaff at a comparison between a human and an animal, it makes being a Jewish inhabitant of a concentration camp in Nazi Germany look like a day in the park.

You may hear that animals do not know the difference, or do not feel pain, but that is not true. People say this to justify their diet in their minds, and it is factually inaccurate. These animals share the same emotions and senses as us. They feel pain, they fear death, and they want to be happy. When a chicken, or cow, or other animal is moments away from slaughter, hormones shoot their bloodstream in a panic for survival. As humans, we would act no differently. Long ago, one man understood his fellow beast’s wishes

Before Chief Seattle was removed from his land in Washington in 1854, he made one request of the incoming white settlers. He asked that they respect all the creatures of the land. He said that “All things are connected.”

He would be sad to know that his request was not granted. However, he was correct that all things are connected. The awful treatment of animals in today’s factory farms has spawned new diseases and infections that are lethal to man. To briefly name a few, E.Coli, salmonella, and Mad Cow infect and kill thousands each year. A newer disease, bird flu, is mutating and infecting both barn raised animals and wild animals. The World Heath Organization says the next step is inevitable, the infecting of human beings. When this does happen, it could result in the death of hundreds of millions of human beings. In the same way tens of millions of chickens raised for human consumption have been exterminated, some humans may be forced to meet the same fate.

In the following I will continue to detail how their loss is our loss as well. It goes far beyond compassion for these creatures who mean us no harm. It is equally about health and environmental concerns and the financial impact that goes along with it. It is about altering out diet to create a sustainable lifestyle that will allow all creatures including ourselves to exist for centuries to come. It is about making a decision that will leave you with the feeling you have made a decision for the betterment of mankind. It is about becoming educated and passing on that education to help others like you. I was where you were not too long ago, and I couldn’t be happier that I made this life altering decision.

My only regret is that I did not do it sooner.

Research Method

Living in the United States, we are blessed with the greatest medical technology ever known to man. Over the course of the last fifty years, especially since the end of World War II, extensive medical research has been conducted with regards to human health. The majority of these studies have revolved around diet and exercise.

The results put forth by the studies have been posted in medical journals and various publications. Several authors as well as nutritionists and medical researchers have made it a point to further investigate these studies and compare and contrast the medical findings with various nations throughout the world.

Beyond this report, there is a wealth of related information which I encourage you to investigate for yourself. For this reports purpose, medically backed research and well documented information will be solely used to emphasize the points made.

Information pertaining to the environment will be provided courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture and several watchdog organizations that have provided the reports necessary to fuel this paper.

The information presented will be clear and concise to ensure trustworthiness and understanding. The comprehension of this information is vital to all those who are graced by this document’s presence.

Enjoy reading, and remember that this is only a starting point.


It is important to keep in mind that while reading over these numbers you may become appalled; if you are wondering why the FDA does not step in and do something such as require labeling stating the increased risks of disease and cancer similar to what is done with cigarettes, the answer is simple. The meat and dairy industry have some of the most powerful lobbyists working in Washington that work in cohesion with drug industry lobbyists to prevent the FDA from doing exactly that. The two industries benefit greatly from Americans vast consumption of their products. On one end the meat and dairy industry earns billions of dollars in revenues peddling their product, and on the other end the drug industry earns billions selling drugs to counter the problems created directly by American’s high consumption of these same products. In a capitalistic society, the dollar holds value over all moral reasoning, and until the American people voice their displeasure with this dishonest system, things will only change for the worse.


Colon cancer is a growing epidemic in the United States. If left untreated, this cancer grows and eventually spreads through the colon wall to involve the adjacent lymph nodes and organs. Ultimately, the cancer spreads to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, brain, and bones. In the United States, it is currently the third most common cancer found in men.

To prevent colon cancer, it is important to consume at least thirty five grams of fiber per day. The average meat eater in the United States only takes in about twelve grams per day. Medical studies and research have proven that the greater one’s intake of fiber is, the less their odds are of developing cancer of the colon. In complete contrast, the higher one’s intake of meat is, the greater their odds are of developing colon cancer.

In Britain, over 25% of deaths are directly related to colon cancer. Oxford’s related studies have indicated that up to 70% of all cancers developed in humans grow directly from cell mutations in the colon.

The human colon is a muscular, tube-shaped organ measuring about 4 feet long. It extends from the end of your small bowel to your anus, twisting and turning through your abdomen (belly). The colon has 3 main functions; to digest and absorb nutrients, to concentrate fecal mater by absorbing fluid, and to store and control evacuation of fecal matter. Because it is the central organ of your digestive process, and it essential to your physical well being, it is of great concern for you to provide it with the proper nutrition. The same Oxford study mentioned earlier found colon cancer mortality to be 39% lower among vegetarians compared with meat-eaters.

Relating to women, breast cancer is the most common cancer-related death in most of the Western world and the leading cause of death for women under 50. It strikes about 182,000 women in the U.S. each year and kills 46,000. Consuming dairy products and animal proteins are linked directly to an increased risk of breast cancer because they are high in fat, hormones, and manmade chemicals and antibiotics; each of which increases cancer risk. Since the 1980’s, study after study has linked dairy consumption and animal protein intake to a high incidence of breast and other cancers. Women seeking to minimize their chances of breast cancer should avoid milk, other dairy products, and meat all together.

The American Dietetic Association reports that breast cancer is most prevalent in countries where women consume high-fat, animal-based diets. In Asia, where dairy consumption is extremely rare and meat intake is relatively low, breast cancer is almost unheard of. International renowned nutrition expert Dr. T. Colin Campbell points to China, essentially a non-milk-drinking country, where cancer deaths among women aged 35 to 64 averaged less than 9 per 100,000, as opposed to 44 per 100,000 in the U.S .

Japanese women who follow a more Western-style, meat- and dairy-based diet are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than their counterparts who eat a plant-based diet not containing dairy products.

An Italian study revealed that breast cancer risks increased as a result of the consumption of animal fat, animal protein, most significantly with regard to dairy products. The authors of this study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, indicate that the results are consistent with previous reports. Additionally, doctors in Milan report data showing a strong correlation between dairy consumption and breast cancer.

Cancer is a leading killer in this nation. If the proper measures are taken, this disease is largely preventable. In America we are trained to be reactionary as opposed to proactive. To the right is a list of the leading cancers that are treated in the United States. We spend billions of dollars annually in procedures and medications that help prevent immediate death, but do not cure the problem. We fail to look at the evidence in front of our faces and wonder why so many are so ill in such an affluent nation. Notice that the cancers listed to the right are found in the organs that directly partake in our dietary process. These cancers and diseases we can prevent by simply modifying our diet. In doing so, we will help ourselves, our friends and family, and the world as whole. This point cannot be made enough.

Heart Disease

Thirteen million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease, and heart attacks kill more than 500,000 people each year, far more than any other disease. Medical science has proven that the very best way to prevent coronary artery disease is to consume an all vegetarian, or in other words, a vegan diet. On the Ornish and Esselstyn programs (vegan), patients became "heart attack proof," according to Dr. Esselstyn, in the August 1999 American Journal of Cardiology.Vegetarianism is an automatic cholesterol-cutter. Dietary cholesterol, which causes heart disease, is found only in animal products. No one has ever died of a heart attack with a cholesterol level below 150, and the average vegan has a cholesterol level of 128.The incidence of high blood pressure is generally greater among meat-eaters than among vegetarians, and cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are more common among people on a high-meat, high-fat, low-fiber diet.One 21-year-long study that compared meat-eaters and vegetarians showed that the greater the meat consumption, the greater the death rate from all causes combined.William Castelli, medical doctor and director of the Framingham Heart Study, an organization responsible for the longest running epidemiological study in medical history, reports that "Vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rates of coronary disease of any group in the country, they have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate. On the average, they outlive other people by about six years now."

Statistics Directly From the American Heart Association (AHA)
At least 58.8 million people in the United States country suffer from some form of heart disease.
One person in four suffers from some form of cardiovascular disease, including:
high blood pressure - 50 million
coronary heart disease - 12 million
angina pectoris - 6 million
myocardial infarction - 7 million
stroke - 4.4 million
rheumatic heart disease / rheumatic fever - 1.8 million
congenital cardiovascular defects - 1 million
congestive heart failure - 4.6 million
Almost 1 out of every 2.4 deaths are from cardiovascular disease.
Since 1900, cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in every year but one, 1918.
More than 2,600 deaths occur each day from cardiovascular disease -- 1 death every 33 seconds.
Cardiovascular disease is the cause of more deaths than the next 7 causes of death combined.
It is a myth that heart disease is a man's disease. In 1996, the number of male deaths from cardiovascular disease was 453,297 (47.3 percent). In 1996, the number of female deaths was 505,930 (52.7 percent) -- more than the next 16 causes of death combined.
While it is true that men generally begin suffering from heart disease at a younger age than women, more than half the women alive today will die from cardiovascular disease. One in 3 men can expect to develop cardiovascular disease before the age of 60. For women of the same age, the odds are 1 in 10.
The cost of cardiovascular disease in 1999 is estimated at $286.5 billion -- an increase of about $12 billion from last year.
Stroke killed 159,942 people in 1996 -- on average a stroke death occurs every 3.3 minutes.
Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability that accounts for more than half of all patients hospitalized for neurological disease, and stroke deaths have been increasing in recent years.
About 400,000 new cases of congestive heart failure occur each year. Congestive heart failure deaths continue to increase dramatically.
Heart disease is an equal opportunity killer; affecting both sexes, every race, and all ages.


If I were to offer you a cocktail drink of pituitary hormones, steroid hormones, thyroid and parathyroid hormones, gastrointestinal peptides, growth factors, growth inhibitors, fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, blood, pus, antibiotics, bacteria and viruses, would you drink this? Probably not, as you know that these constituents are unhealthy for your body. Believe it or not, this is what you get every time you drink cow's milk from the supermarket.

You may be thinking that is impossible or that the FDA would never allow for such a cocktail to be sold without appropriate labeling. Think again. When FOX News attempted to run a story on Monsanto Corporation and the effects on the human body of their ‘milk production booster’ bovine growth hormone which is injected into dairy cattle, they were blackballed into not running the story. FOX News along with the other networks in the industry were told that if the story was ran, all advertising related to the dairy industry, Monsanto, and their subsidiaries would be pulled from the networks. In a country where dollars speak over all else, the message was clear. The story has never run on any major network, this is much to the dairy industries pleasure.

Research has shown that recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is directly related to increased susceptibility to cancer; more specifically linked to major breast, colon and prostate problems, and until recently, one that no other country in the world would allow within its borders. Recently, Monsanto has sought approval from Australia, New Zealand, the European Union and Canada; however labeling is required.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone is injected into cattle through a syringe routinely to keep dairy cattle’s milk production above natural levels. It is only one of many supplements dairy cattle are given to boost their milk ‘output.’ The side effects are not appealing, and would probably result in the instantaneous loss of desire for any and all dairy products that you may currently consume.

Utters swell and bleed, and when milk comes out, often do large clots of puss along with it. This byproduct along with the steroids, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other related chemicals that go into production end up in your neatly packaged, USDA approved, FDA inspected gallon of milk at the grocery store.

If you are interested in researching the matter further, the movie ‘The Corporation’ took the liberty of airing the story that was never to be told on the nightly news.

With regards to osteoporosis, the dairy industry advertises that three servings of their products are essential for healthy bones. Outside of their independent studies, no medical research supports their conclusions. In fact, they support just the opposite.

Milk consumption does not protect against fractures, according to new data from the Harvard Nurses Study. The study recruited a group of 77,761 women who were between 34 and 59 years of age when the study began in 1980, and followed them for the next 12 years.

Those who drank three or more glasses of milk per day that is promoted by the dairy industry had no reduction at all in the risk of hip or arm fractures compared to those women who did not consume any dairy products. Even after adjustments were made for weight, menopausal status, smoking and alcohol consumption and exercise levels, their was no evidence to support their claim.

In fact, but not surprisingly, the fracture rates were higher for those who consumed three plus servings (8 ounces per serving), compared to those who did not drink milk at all.

The findings resonate with international comparisons that show that fracture rates in Scandinavia, England, Canada, Denmark and other area where dairy consumption takes place is significantly higher than those countries were dairy consumption does not take place such as the Pacific Rim Nations, Africa, and China.

In 1930 the first study was published that showed a diet saturated with high meat intake caused the loss of large amounts of calcium and a negative calcium balance. Eskimos consume one of the highest protein diets in the world, and they also have one of the highest incidences of osteoporosis in the world. It is evident in their posture; by their mid twenties many are already beginning to stoop over.

The incidence of osteoporosis is lowest in the countries where dairy consumption is minimal. Where protein consumption is highest, cases of osteoporosis are most common. It has been shown clearly that when calcium is lost from the bones, which is often caused by excess protein in the diet, it is not just eliminated from the body. This calcium in the body is picked up by the bloodstream and deposited in the soft tissues - the blood vessels, skin, eyes, joints and internal organs. Excess calcium combines with fats and cholesterol in the blood vessels to cause hardening of the arteries, the excess which ends up in the skin causes wrinkles; in the joints calcium crystallizes and forms very painful arthritic deposits; in the eyes it takes the form of cataracts, and in the kidneys it forms hard deposits known as kidney stones.

The calcium-depleting effects of proteins are not lessened even when large doses of calcium are ingested. What must be remembered is that calcium is found in all foods grown in the ground and that they supply a sufficient amount of calcium to meet the requirements of both growing children and adults. Animals consume the plants and absorb the calcium – which in turn is where the calcium in milk is derived from.

The average American consumes thirty percent more protein than what is recommended to be a healthy intake. It is recommended by the AHA that approximately three percent of your caloric intake should represent grams of protein. For example, if two-thousand calories is your recommended daily intake, then 60 grams of protein should make up part of that calorie intake. For bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzeneger recommends that for every two pounds of body weight, you consume one gram of protein. The average American consumes about one-hundred grams of protein daily; in other words, an amount sufficient enough to fuel a two-hundred pound bodybuilder.


From 1986-1994, a study of 42,000 adult men aged forty to seventy-five was conducted with regards to discovering if there was a connection between red meat consumption and the development of type two diabetes by a Harvard medical team. The men tested were free of diagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer when the study began. By 1994, 1,350 men were diagnosed with type two diabetes. They were fed a diet relatively high in red meat, total fat, and saturated fat. The control group that they were tested against had a 43% lower rate of testing for type two diabetes over the same time period; only 769 patients in the control group developed the same disease.

The conclusion of the study was that total and saturated fat intake were associated with a higher risk of type two diabetes. Consumption of red and processed meats also resulted in an increased risk of type two diabetes.

Exactly opposite of the red meat diet, which is high in fats, is the vegan diet. A vegan diet has proven to work wonders for those already diagnosed with diabetes. 90% of diabetics who have adopted vegan diets have been able to entirely drop their insulin treatment completely and live more healthy and energetic lives because of it. The other 10% who were not able to entirely reduce their dependence on insulin, were able to cut it by as much as 75%.

Studies have shown that lower insulin levels can promote rapid fat loss, increase energy, enhance mental clarity, slow aging, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and overall health, and generate a feeling of euphoric wellness. By diabetics being able to rid themselves of insulin treatment, they are able to improve their overall lifestyle. Although the benefits of switching to a vegan diet for diabetics may be more evident than a non-diabetic making the switch, in reality the benefits are about equal.

Currently twenty million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Medical research leads us to believe that sixty to eighty million Americans currently have diabetes and are not yet diagnosed. In other words, about one third of the country has developed the disease, and the numbers are growing. There is a one in three chance you may have the disease currently, and the sooner you make it a point to change your diet for the better, the sooner you will be decreasing your odds of developing the disease; or decreasing the severity of the disease if you have already developed it and are not yet diagnosed.

Salmonella Sickness – Incase You’re Not Convinced Yet

Up to 90 percent of federally inspected poultry is infected with bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter, which cause sometimes-fatal vomiting and diarrhea. Salmonella is a disease that is easily spread from food product to food product. Poultry that is infected with salmonella will contaminate all food and non-food products it may touch, and that bacteria will rapidly spread. A piece of poultry that is thawing in the fridge may drip liquid contaminated with salmonella onto a freshly prepared salad directly below it. Anyone who now eats the salad may contract the virus and suffer severe illness, or even possibly death. While it may not have a direct effect on coronary artery disease, it is something equally as ugly that you increase your odds of being susceptible to simply by consuming meat products. Last year 1.4 million people were infected by Salmonella and a thousand died.

Environmental Impact

Instead of regurgitating studies or medical findings, I will instead post a list of facts provided by numerous environmental watchdog organizations. The statistics were taken in 1989, nearly two decades ago. The problems have only become more burdening and detrimental to the existence of the planet. This is a plea for action.

Topsoil Depletion

Historic cause of demise of many great civilizations
Percentage of original U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75
Amount of U.S. cropland lost each year to soil erosion: 4,000,000 acres, the size of Connecticut
Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly associated with livestock raising: 85
Number of acres of U.S. forest which have been cleared to create cropland to produce a meat-centered diet: 260,000,000
How often an acre of U.S. trees disappears: Every 8 seconds
Amount of trees spared per year by each individual who switches to pure vegetarian diet: 1 acre

Rainforest Destruction

A driving force behind the destruction of the tropical rainforests: American meat habit
Amount of meat imported annually by U.S. from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama: 200,000,000 pounds
Amount of meat eaten by average person in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Panama: Less than average American housecat
Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests and related habitats: 1,000 per year

Energy, True Cost

Length of time the world's petroleum reserves would last if all human beings ate meat-centered diets: 13 years
Length of time the world's petroleum reserves would last if all human beings ate a vegetarian diet: 260 years
Principal reason for U.S. military intervention in Persian Gulf: Dependence on foreign oil
Barrels of oil imported daily by U.S.: 6,800,000
Percentage of energy return (as food energy per fossil energy expended) of most energy efficient factory farming of meat: 34.5%
Percentage of energy return (as food energy per fossil energy expended) of least energy efficient plant food: 32.8%
Pounds of soybeans produced by the amount of fossil fuel needed to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef: 40
Percentage of raw materials consumed in U.S. for all purposes presently consumed to produce current meat-centered diet: 33
Percentage of raw materials consumed in U.S. for all purposes needed to produce fully vegetarian diet: 2
User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the United States: Livestock production
Quantity of water used in the production of the average cow sufficient to: Float a destroyer
Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons
Water needed to reduce 1 pound of meat: 2,500 gallons
Cost of common hamburger meat if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by U.S. taxpayers: $40 per pound
Current cost for pound of protein from wheat: $1.50
Current cost for pound of protein from beefsteak: $15.40
Cost for pound of protein from beefsteak if U.S. taxpayers ceased subsidizing meat industry's use of water: $89

Feedlot Sewage

Production of excrement by total US human population: 12,000 pounds per second
Production of excrement by U.S. livestock: 250,000 pounds per second
Sewage systems in U.S. cities: Common
Sewage systems in U.S. feedlots: Nil
Amount of waste produced annually by U.S. livestock in confinement operations which is not recycled: 1 billion tons
Relative concentration of feedlot wastes compared to raw domestic sewage: Ten to several hundred times more highly concentrated Where feedlot waste often ends up: In our water

Animal waste often ends up in rivers and in groundwater, where it contributes to excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and nitrate pollution. This toxic waste kills off fish and other water dependent species. Other animals that depend on this water and these animals for their food sources in turn die off from starvation and poisoning. The consequences are reflected through an entire food chain and further contribute to the extinction and killing off of several animal species indirectly. This example does not even take into account the billions upon billions of pounds of fertilizers and pesticides that have been used to help cultivate the production of grains, corn, and soy used to feed these animals; which also reaches rivers, stream, and lakes; in turn having the same effect as the animals fecal matter.

The remnants of fecal matter and pesticides are found in all drinking water, even the kind bottled in the store. No water on this planet is safe from contamination. As a result, 90 foreign contaminants are found in almost all drinking water. The EPA sets standards for the amount of material that can be found in the water with measures set in parts per million. Unfortunately, these levels are usually not up to EPA standards. Arsenic is one of the most common pollutants found to be in violation of EPA standards.

In Webster’s, arsenic is described as a highly poisonous metallic element having three allotropic forms, yellow, black, and gray, of which the brittle, crystalline gray is the most common. Arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, solid-state doping agents, and various alloys.

Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA's standard over many years could experience skin damage, problems with their circulatory system, problems with their reproductive organs, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. These same people can help solve the problem by changing their diet or going vegan.


Dr. William Harris analyzed hundreds of studies including the ones mentioned above and concluded that the evidence taken into account is irrefutable that consuming meat and dairy products leads to cardiovascular disease, various cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other illnesses. The net effect is a $123 billion cost directly attributable to meat eating annually; in his words, it is a conservative figure, as it doesn't even include costs attributable to lost productivity and premature death. It also doesn't include costs attributable to the sixty to seventy percent of food poisonings including six thousand deaths that are linked to meat intake or the ill effects on human health of consuming animals who have been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general indicates that sixty-nine percent of U.S. deaths are diet-related.

Nutritional researcher T. Colin Campbell, who studied exhaustive data collected from thousands of people over the course of ten years, concurs: "The vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a plant-based diet."

The change is easy to make, and the rewards are instantaneous. The longer you wait, the higher your risk of contracting these preventable diseases becomes. It is understandable that you are under the impression meat is a necessary component of a healthy diet. For your entire life you have been marketed to by the meat and dairy industries; they have instructed you to consume large quantities of their products in order to maintain strong bones and a healthy physique. Remember these are companies and they will tell you whatever they can get away with in order to sell you their product. They have access to billions of dollars in expendable income to bully politicians and conduct misleading research to support their false claims. Do not fall victim to their corporate greed, instead read and listen to the scientists who do not have an interest in their economic well being, but instead an interest in the creation of a better planet through means of a healthier and more compassionate diet.

A few facts that may guide you in your decisions are as follows:

· Number of human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock: 1,300,000,000
· Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90
· Percentage of carbohydrate wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 99
· Percentage of dietary fiber wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 100
· How frequently a child dies of starvation: Every 2 seconds
· Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on 1 acre of land: 20,000
· Pounds of beef that can be produced on 1 acre of land: 165
· Percentage of U.S. agricultural land used to produce beef: 56
· Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef: 16
· Pounds of protein fed to chickens to produce 1 pound of protein as chicken flesh: 5 pounds
· Pounds of protein fed to hogs to produce 1 pound of protein as hog flesh: 7.5 pounds
· Number of children who starve to death every day: 40,000
· Number of pure vegetarians who can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed
1 person consuming meat-based diet: 20
· Number of people who will starve to death this year: 60,000,000
· Number of people who could be adequately fed by the grain saved if Americans reduced
their intake of meat by 10%: 60,000,000

Something for the season -- A related and well put poem

THANKSGIVING IS NOT FOR TURKEYS a poem by Dennis Wayne Bressack Woodstock
Reborn in this four-foot square cage,fattened with antibiotics and hormones,we holiday turkeys are a specialty breed,bred for the seasonal slaughter,a designated life expectancyof chilling predictability,decapitated unceremoniously,severed below comb sacrificially,defeathered, hung headless upside down.blood drained into the vat below.
I live this pre-ordained existence,reflecting on my plightin sunless cramped quarters,devoid of sanitation or sanity,dreaming of wild turkeyseluding weekend warriorscarrying guns or bows,crackpot crackerjackspracticing for deer hunting season.
We turkeys are burdened with the distinction,near designation as the national bird.If Ben Franklin had had his way,humans might be roasting eagles andI might live to see another day.
"Please pass the cranberries and stuffing."

Annotated Bibliography

Kennedy, Robert F. Jr. Crimes Against Nature. New York, NY. Harper-Collins
Publishers Inc. 2004.

The author focuses on issues relating to the destruction of the earth and the role government plays in facilitating the process. It depicts the way in which people who stand up to the problems are portrayed at as radicals and out of touch with reality. It wraps everything together and concludes by showing the financial as well as social burdens that our consumption patterns are creating.

Ornish, Dean and Robbins, John. The Food Revolution. Boston, MA. Conari Press.

This is the follow up to the author’s previous title. Inside this book is research and studies that coincide with the decade earlier release Diet for a New America. The findings in 1987 were frightening, the findings in 2001 are even more so. The benefits of altering your diet and becoming a vegan are made evident whether you are discussing the environment or your own personal wellbeing. Robbins leaves no stone unturned and provides another viable case for altering your diet.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics. Los Angeles, CA. University of California Press.

Nestle’s book displays the battle between corporate food giants and the way in which they try to defeat medical research. It names wrongdoers and shows the way in which money and advertising is used to mislead millions with regards to diet and nutrition information. For example, it details the way in which product labels are left without vital information that consumers should be alerted to. Corruption is exposed and any trust left with big business by the reader is no longer intact upon finishing this shocker.

Robbins, John. Diet for a New America. Tiburon, CA. New World Library. 1987

This is the bible of veganism. It discusses everything from animal living conditions inside and outside of factory farms to diet and exercise plans for world class vegetarian athletes. Inside is a wealth of studies from notable organizations such the American Heart Association and Institute for Diet and Cancer, among others. If you are looking for further research on the topic, this book is your one fits all resource.

Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York, NY. Harper-Collins Publishers
Inc. 2001.

An inside look at the fast food culture and what it means to our future. The book goes beyond fast food restaurants however, and looks at what caused the cultural revolution pertaining to the American diet and lifestyle as well as what the past is now building towards. Schlosser notes that the busy go-go life in which meals are on the fly and news comes throughout corporate censored outlets has created a false reality regarding the effects of our diet and consumption patterns as a whole.

Other information utilized:

Cancer Studies
American Heart Association (AHA) Studies
Green-Peace Research
Medical Journals Relating to Diet and Exercise

These studies among others were used by visiting the websites of the organizations responsible for the material. Most of the information found in these studies have already been shown in the books previously mentioned, but they were still used as a way of cross checking information detailed throughout the paper.

The studies can be found by using a search engine such as Google and typing in the organization’s name or related information as a keyword.