Personal Development, Religion

Why I’m Not Vegetarian

I told her the tortillas had no eggs in them. Then I realized that was only a guess on my part. What if I was wrong? She didn’t seem too sure either. But she reached for a tortilla.

She explained why her Vedic diet disallowed meat.

“Is it the same in your religion?”

“No,” I said. There are similarities between Hinduism and Western polytheism, but that isn’t one of them. “We believe it’s natural to eat meat.”

We stopped dating.

Photo by OvO, original art by Andrew Bell.

Vegetarianism is billed as a moral choice. It’s not.

If your religion says to be vegetarian, you have my respect and support. But this is like keeping Kosher or Halal: it’s based on customs or rules, and it’s not morally better. There is nothing particularly meritorious about killing more plants and less animals.

All living creatures want to survive. They will fight for their lives. This is true from the smallest microbe to the oldest oak to our fellow mammals. We all take from other living beings in order to survive, and all of us seek to avoid being killed in turn.

Plants do it too. They release chemical signals when they’re under distress, to warn other plants. Those other plants adjust how they use their resources to try to survive whatever killed the guy next to them. No one wants to die.

This is not to say it’s unethical to eat plants: it isn’t. But plants too struggle to avoid harm and death, and in their own way they fight it. Is there “fear” or “pain” in that? We don’t know. But no matter how we source our food we will have to kill our fellow living beings.

This is natural, and it’s right.

Humans are evolved to eat a small amount of meat in a primarily fruit and vegetable diet. I was vegetarian for many years until I went to live with hunter gatherers. I had no choice but to eat like them. One day I ate fly eggs, another day I ate a turtle foot. Most days it was greens and nuts. I learned three things:

  • Reducing my intake of carbs did more for my health than years of vegetarianism
  • A small meat intake had important and positive effects on my body
  • It is possible to treat animals with reverence and respect even when killing them

When I returned to civilization, my old all-vegetarian diet seemed as contrived as a junk food diet. It was only possible because of a huge amount of staple carbs, and because of highly processed foods.

But there were at least two other reasons to be vegetarian: animal cruelty and the environment. I take these seriously. If you pride yourself on eating meat I sure hope you’re buying organic and free-range. Treating animals humanely is not only more ethical, it also mitigates the most serious environmental harm that large-scale meat operations wreak on the environment.

Nowadays less than 10% of my diet is meat. Eating too much of it has serious health risks; it’s as unnatural as vegetarianism. Most of the time I find myself not wanting meat at all, but the occasional urge signals something from my body and I trust it.

It was easy to become vegetarian. It neither improved nor ruined my health. Going omnivore was harder, because we’re given an inaccurate message that it’s wrong or unspiritual.


43 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Vegetarian

  1. I personally think that “diet” should never be driven based upon whatever your religion or belief system is. Each and every one of us is different. Our genetics, up-bringing, and body type can play a big part in our ideal diet.

    I keep that in mind a lot when I cook meals at home. My wife is someone who eats much more like you. Mostly fruits and veggies and a small amount of meat (usually lean meats) thrown in. For myself I’ve found through trying different variations and combinations of foods that I do best of a diet that is almost 50% meat and the other 50% is comprised of fruits, veggies, and nuts.

    I haven’t had to deal with anyone personally who thought I was morally inferior for eating meat. At least if they think it, they don’t express it. I’ve seen people express it in social media, but it was never directed at one person. I’ve hunted, field dressed, and butchered my own meat. When I go grocery shopping, I grab the organic, grass fed, free range stuff.

    As far as respecting animals, I’ve seen people raise, kill, and butcher their own livestock (humanely) that have more respect and compassion for their animals than anyone I’ve met.

    • Thanks for this Sean. I do agree that personal experience is a good guide to what to eat, but I would also consider science. People who feel they “need” meat in their diet will often eat more of it than they actually need. People with little or no meat intake do live longer lives and have less risk for a variety of serious health conditions.

      I know firsthand that sometimes the things are bodies “tell” us are based more on craving, habit, familiarity or stress relief than on what the body actually needs.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I always seem to get into fights with my vegetarian friends because they try to talk to me, an animist and omnivore, about morals when I see killing and eating plants to be the same as killing and eating animals. There is a trend in my local new age community to go vegetarian and vegan to be more spiritually pure and moral. Not for a better world, but so they can feel morally superior. I shake my head because they’re eating gmos covered in pesticides and grains from around the world with a much bigger carbon footprint than a local free-range chicken. The good intent is there, but the awareness and consciousness of the origins and sacredness of food is not.

    • I shake my head because they’re eating gmos covered in pesticides and grains from around the world with a much bigger carbon footprint than a local free-range chicken.

      I think this is an important point. I don’t know the math on whether veggies from big ag really out-carbon local, naturally raised animals. But I think also of the use of synthetic materials to avoid wearing leather or other animal products.

      Refusing to use plastic would be a far more impressive moral statement that swearing off of animals.

      • thalassa says:

        I don’t refuse to use plastics, but I skip disposable plastics, buy used when possible, reuse when possible, and recycle when not. And when I can afford the better wooden or metal or glass alternative to something that isn’t disposable, I go with that option as well.

        I agree though, that (living at the beach as I do, considering how much plastic I pick up on a daily basis) that as a moral statement, refusing plastics *is* a more impressive moral statement.

    • milkhermit says:

      Not for a better world, but so they can feel morally superior. I shake my head because they’re eating gmos covered in pesticides and grains from around the world with a much bigger carbon footprint than a local free-range chicken.

      I have to wonder where you got this figure because I have read several studies which show that eliminating meat and dairy have a much larger positive impact on the environment than eating omnivorous locally. For example:

      From the abstract:

      "Thus, we suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than 'buying local.' Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food."

      This is but one example – some web hunting can find more studies which specifically break down the carbon impacts of different types of foods. For example, this study, by the Environmental Working Group, has a lovely chart breakdown on page 6 as well as numerous other charts throughout:

      Click to access report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf

      The picture is more complicated than red meat and dairy vs. chickens and nuts, though. One also has to take into account the actual resource cost of raising animals versus raising plants. Logically, plants use fewer resources (water, nutrients, space) because they are at a lower trophic level than animals. An animal must be fed more water, and plants (which used water and nutrients and space to grow), and have space as well, using up cumulatively more resources.

      This article specifically talks about cattle but the principle is the same for all farmed animals:

      For all I know, the people you're in contact with are stuck-up moralizing jerks who want to be "the best," and phooey on them. However, it is unwise to dismiss something because one dislikes some of its proponents or when one doesn't have all the information. The effects of diet on the environment are very real and should be assessed using scientific and peer-reviewed data, not hearsay or unsourced internet articles. (Not that you did so, but it's common.)

      • Thanks for providing these examples, Milk Hermit. I find them compelling and it’s good to have hard figures.

        I should point out however that switching from, say, red meat to chicken and fish is not the solution that most vegetarians recommend – but it’s one that would work, environmental impact wise, according to these studies.

        • milkhermit says:

          Quite possibly! But none of these studies have talked about the effects of overfishing and damaging practices like deep-sea trawling. I live very close to Monterey and am pretty familiar with its boom and bust story, for example. Personally I would be comfortable eating fish if we had some sort of reasonable set of laws regarding the oceans, their treatment, and their use. Since we don’t, that environment is also being damaged at an alarming rate. :(

  3. Hai! I’m vegan. It’s kind for moral/ethical reasons, but not just because of the raising and slaughtering of animals for food. I agree that using animals as a food source is natural. However, the factory farming industry used to do this is unnatural. There’s not really a humane way to kill an animal, but there are humane ways to raise one. The meat industry doesn’t tend to make this the primary concern.

    Also, most people do eat a lot more meat than they actually need. If everyone cut back on meat, instead of a handful of people giving it up entirely, it’d be an enormous help in resource conservation and decreasing world hunger, as well as in improving health.

    Two words in regard to plants: Jain vegetarianism

    • I agree with you all around Emily. I’m curious, since you feel that way why do you remain vegan? Why not eat meat on those occasions when you can have organic + free range + locally sourced meat?

      Two words in regard to plants: Jain vegetarianism

      I’d love to hear more about this, if you feel like sharing.

      • To be honest, meat grosses me out now. But I don’t go around saying “IF YOU DON’T STOP EATING MEAT, YOU ARE EVIL.”

        And I’m not a Jaina (I think that’s the word), but Jainism is an Indian religion that’s really big on non-violence. Vegetarianism/veganism is important to many members, and some even avoid root vegetables because they’d have to be uprooted and the entire plant would be killed.

        I don’t know a ton about it, and I hope I explained it right. The comment about how life is life made me think of it.

        • I’m a little familiar with it, only secondhand. My understanding is that those practices arise from a view of reincarnation and karma that I, personally, don’t agree with – but I do admire their dedication.

  4. milkhermit says:

    I am confused about your comment on processed foods. I’m a vegan, and I am a very broke full-time student and part-time worker. (I have had $3 in my bank account for the last week and a half, for perspective.) I can’t afford processed foods beyond some crackers, and have even been making my own bread to cut down on costs. Almost everything I eat is a whole food from a bulk bin.

    I just wanted to point this out because often people believe that vegetarians and vegans live on processed fake meats and packaged foods. That may be the case for some people, but it’s certainly not the healthiest or most affordable path. Dried beans and grains, soy milk and tofu, nuts, seeds, and of course fresh or frozen fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients and are very affordable with wise spending (or growing!) choices. I’ve been vegan for three years now and am in great health and very physically active.

    I respect your choice to eat less meat. I would be happier if more people did that. I don’t think it makes sense to compare factory-farmed flesh to fly eggs or fried crickets, simply because most Americans (and Canadians) are part of a wildly different food web/industrial process than hunter-gatherers, and are a larger population to boot. Even though I first became a vegan for ethical reasons, I’ve since done research into the environmental effects of meat and dairy (especially cheese) production, which are truly shocking. As over 95% of meat, dairy, and eggs come from factory farms, it’s much more feasible to promote abstinence as a solution than a sudden switch to questionably humane farming methods, which couldn’t even meet the demand if everyone switched.

    • Processed foods include commercial breads, noodles, tofu and other vegan staples. It is certainly possible to eat vegetarian or vegan without these options (and healthier), but for many people it’s hard to afford or hard to manage.

      Note the other part of what I said though: it’s not just, or even primarily, processed foods, it’s relying on a carb-heavy diet that causes the biggest health problems. If someone can reduce their intake of grains, sugars and other carbs they will see significant health gains whether or not they include a small amount of meat in their diet.

      “I don’t think it makes sense to compare factory-farmed flesh to fly eggs or fried crickets,”

      And I didn’t — I specifically cautioned that people who continue to eat meat should focus on organic and free range meat. (Also, though I used the gross examples for fun, boiled or roasted venison, small game, and fish are more typical hunter gatherer fare.)

      As over 95% of meat, dairy, and eggs come from factory farms, it’s much more feasible to promote abstinence as a solution than a sudden switch to questionably humane farming methods

      I seriously question that strategy. Which is more appealing to meat eaters: giving up meat entirely, or demanding guilt-free meat? Whichever has more appeal is more likely to catch on. And which is more profitable to meat suppliers: shutting down and going out of business, or reforming their practices? Whichever costs less will be less aggressively resisted.

      But I’m no lobbyist; maybe you’re right. If vegans and vegetarians believe that an abstinence campaign is smart politics, that’s fine. It’s when they believe that it’s also morally superior that puts off ethical meat eaters, hence this article.

  5. “Refusing to use plastic would be a far more impressive moral statement that swearing off of animals.”

    Yes. This. And it annoys me when a certain vegetarian lectures me on eating meat, but uses a dyer to dry her clothes, or refuses to separate her plastics. Knowing what someone eats only says a tiny amount on someone’s way of life. And something else … the amount of food people throw out. I do eat meat, but when I do, I usually eat all of it. I don’t toss half of it out because I lost my apatite or I did not mind the expiration date. I think learning to portion one’s food, using it effectively, is also part of ethical food choices. The lesson: don’t judge someone on one aspect on which you happen to score well.

  6. Hey Drew, are you familiar with the work of the Savoy Institute and intensive range management? It’s fairly new science but very positive and probably one of the best bets for pulling carbon out of the atmosphere -and it’s based on cattle herding. Yes, seriously. The earth’s marginal grasslands are some of the world’s biggest carbon sinks, as grass grows very quickly both up and down. When the top of the plant gets munched, a proportionate amount of roots dies and becomes stable carbon in the soil. If the plant’s top never gets big, though, neither do the roots. Prairie and savanna plants co-evolved with vast herds of herbivores pursued by predators, always eating and moving on, then not returning for weeks or months; think of documentaries about the great herds on the African savanna. The animals fertilize and loosen the soil, remove dead material, then leave long enough for the plants to recover.

    Ranchers who’ve started mimicking this are reversing desertification, improving and deeping topsoil, and producing some really healthy organic meat and dairy. The idea is pretty simple – say you have a 30 acre field. The usual process right now is to make one big field and let the cows loose in it, where they eat everything down about equally and no plants ever gets very tall. Erosion and loss of biodiversity quickly result. Intensive range management would divide it into 30 1-acre fields (for example) with moveable fencing, figure out how many cows would eat that grass in one day and stock to that intensity, then move the cows every day. Deep topsoil, increased biodiversity, and carbon-negative (not neutral, *negative*) meat or milk are the result. It also tends to somewhat fireproof the land, as Australian farmers doing intensive rotational grazing have been finding out when wildfires stop at their field borders, as the animals don’t leave lots of dead stalks and flammable material.

    You can search google or youtube for “intensive range management” or the Savoy Institute; there’s some pretty amazing before/ after photos. Makes some good argument material with people who think animal husbandry is intrinsically wrong and bad for the earth. ;)

    • I have seen this. My family is trying to implement it. It’s very hands on– you have to move the cattle to new grounds every week, and they can’t come back to at least 6 weeks.

      But you can have three times as many cattle on the same patch of ground, because the idea is that you’re trying to mimic the same damage to the ground that bison did– the damage crushes the dead plant material and helps it decompose faster, feeding the soil.

      Plus, the locust-like feeding of the cattle means that even tough, bitter brush and invasive plants get eaten, not just the tender and delicious natives, allowing the native grasses to retain their dominance. As long as the cattle are gone in a week, there’s no damage. Native grasses, with their impressive root systems, bounce right back.

      It’s really interesting when you study it– a lot of what we thought about range management turned out to be wrong.

        • Yeah, my dad took a seminar, and liked it so much he had the same guy come out to the ranch to talk to the whole family.

          The concept applies to agriculture as well– I’m reading up on a movement called ‘permaculture’ (Permanent Agriculture) as a method for working with nature, not against it, and like Holistic Land Management, actually seems to boost yields without reliance on irrigation or fertilizer. I haven’t seen yet whether there’s a way to scale it to allow for mechanized harvesting, though. Without that you’ve just got a cool community garden.

    • I’m not familiar with it, but that’s a very interesting direction of study. I’d love to see the science. Do you have any articles about it you’d recommend in particular?

  7. Saum says:

    What is a “Vedic diet?” Inquiring (Hindu) minds want to know. ;)

    The Vedas prohibit eating humans, horses and cows, and I think there is some ranting about how terrible it is to eat raw meat. There are guidelines governing the humane treatment of domestic animals raised for meat, and a passage (maybe? Or this might be in the Puranas) telling hunters that if you’re a bad shot and can’t kill animals swiftly, swallow your pride and let someone else do the hunting.

    Besides that, you’re cool to eat what you like.

    Vedic ritual included loads of animal sacrifice, and the meat from those animals was eaten by the community. Vegetarianism is a much later addition to Hinduism and only practiced by some priestly traditions. Hindu scripture is vast; there is comparatively little that supports vegetarianism for the majority of society. Abstaining from certain foods or activities is part of spiritual practice for most people, but it’s rarely intended to to be long-term.

    Most Hindus in India today are poor and eat what, and when, they can. In places outside India, some Diaspora Hindus have struggled to retain their identity, so practices like vegetarianism may be emphasized.

    Some types of brahmins (priests) take a vow to do the least harm necessary for their own survival. So, given the choice between eating animals and plants, they choose to take the “lesser” lives. Yes, “lesser” is subjective! Historically, brahmins were in a position of privilege and probably had access to better nutrition and food choices overall: they could afford to be picky.

    As a Pujarin (Hindu priestess) I have to think critically about what non-harm/least-harm means. It encompasses a lot more than food; but it certainly rules out proselytizing about, or judging other folks based on, diet.

    • What is a “Vedic diet?” Inquiring (Hindu) minds want to know. ;)

      In this case it was her Gaudiya Vaishnava/ISKCON-prescribed diet which she (if I recall) referred to as “Vedic.” Or, I have a faulty memory and just love saying Vedic. In addition to vegetarianism she had to abstain from eggs, garlic and onions, and some other items.

      You’ve reminded me that Vedas themselves are far awesomer. I wish Western polytheism (still) had an equivalent; I often think that simply using the Vedas themselves as a starting point would actually be a pretty good way to go.

      Thanks as always for your comments Saumya.

  8. On a general note, most commenters have focused on whether vegetarians should “judge” other people. No one likes to be judged. But that really isn’t my main point here.

    Far more important is that a keystone of vegetarianism may be *factually* incorrect, that is, that there really is no difference between killing a plant and killing an animal. Both are living beings who don’t want to die. Vegetarians are free to believe otherwise, but the distinction of “lesser” beings truly is arbitrary and, objectively speaking, seems to reflect only “it’s okay to kill things really, really different from humans.” I find that idea chauvinistic and doctrinal, and not a good reflection of what we now know about our fellow living beings.

    To that extent, I am myself willing to judge others – or rather, their ideas.. Dogma dressed up as fact or moral imperative should always be criticized, and judging such ideas as arbitrary and unnecessary is actually a good thing.

    • meg says:

      Most vegans and vegetarians I know don’t necessarily take issue with the loss of life itself, but that animals suffer when they are killed. As far as we are scientifically aware, plants do not have central nervous systems and do not “understand” pain the way animals clearly do.

      Even if plants did suffer, raising animals still takes more plants than to feed a human, so the net loss of life is less when one is eating only plants.

      • I think that’s a really good point, Meg. I’m not sure that we need to hold up nervous systems as the sole standard for whether something has a right to live. Plants clearly do have an intention of staying alive and a protective response of avoiding threats. The fact that these reactions are transmitted by something other than neural networks is not compelling to me. (Though I can understand why it would be compelling to many people.)

        I, personally, am also not interested in minimizing the net loss of life from eating. Unlike many vegetarians, I don’t believe we have a duty or even a right to manage how many beings are eating how many other beings. I believe that the loss of life for food is natural, acceptable and indeed morally right.

  9. Lalita Arya says:

    Someone sometime said “You are what you eat.” All the comments have referred to the physicals of eating…what kind of food is good or not good, the morals involved etc…In the Yoga system, besides trying to harm as less beings as possible it also reminds that the food we eat does not only make up our physical bodies, but goes beyond to the subtle and even deeper. …that is if you believe that you are more than just a “body”….A sattvic diet is thus encouraged…and it certainly does not involve meat.

    • Lalita, thank you for your comment. I intentionally avoided the proverb “you are what you eat” because it means so many different things to so many different people. For example, if I eat unhealthy, factory farmed meat I “am what I eat” and I end up with bad chemicals in my body (because they were fed to the animal). However if I eat clean, naturally raised, humanely killed meat I “am what I eat” and end up healthy, just like the butchered animal was.

      In other words “you are what you eat” is consistent with being an omnivore, to many people.

      But I see your point about the energy of what we eat. That is a matter of doctrine and I respect your right to practice your religion. My religion suggests I take on good energy by sometimes eating meat. When we sacrifice healthy, natural animals and eat the cooked meat of the sacrifice it is a blessing. In that context, looking at the subtle and spiritual side of what we eat actually makes me appreciate meat even more. For me it is a sacred, uplifting experience.

      I’m not trying to convince you of my beliefs. I’m glad you get so much meaning out of yoga and the sattvic diet. I just think it’s important to remember that there are many different spiritual beliefs about meat.

  10. Wonderful Post Drew! And I couldn’t agree more. Our household of three eats around 10 pounds of meat a month which is conversely about 2 pounds a week. We cut down simply because we didn’t need that much for our health, is expensive, and consuming more than what you need is harmful to the ecosystem. We source our meat from a local farmer that raises free range meat stock that is virtually organic without taking the extra pain in the butt processes that get the full certification – its not easy for small operations to do. And we hunt. Ethically, I agree that its no different from eating plants as they too want to live and make an effort to continue to do so. I read an account of a young adult that had taken to the trees on the west coast in protest against the clear cutting. They had grown attached to the tree and began to sense its life rhythms. Then one day there was cutting nearby and the tree reacted by seeping resin to protect itself – that was then they knew that it was as much alive as animals and stopped being vegetarian. I personally embrace being an omnivore because that is what I am evolutionarily, and to deny that is to deny your human. And humans have a big habit of socially denying their humanness beyond this topic, which needs some addressing to the awareness of that. Like your post here did. Thanks for making a point of it :D

    • Thanks Rua.

      …that was then they knew that it was as much alive as animals and stopped being vegetarian. I personally embrace being an omnivore because that is what I am evolutionarily, and to deny that is to deny your human. And humans have a big habit of socially denying their humanness

      Very elegant way of putting it.

  11. I am a polytheist myself, but a vegan, and one reason for my choice (at least, why I don’t eat beef or purchase non-recycled cowhide/leather) is religious: I have a “taboo” against eating the flesh of an animal sacred to the goddesses to which I am devoted (Hekate and Hera), as Cúchulainn had a geis against eating the meat of dogs. I have also read some literature that Hekate’s devotees in the ancient world considered vegetarianism an act of honoring their goddess (Sorita d’Este and David Rankine, “Hekate: Liminal Rites”), and do consider my veganism a daily conscious way of lessening my impact on the earth. To demand that so many creatures die or live in slavery just for me seems bizarre and selfish, though my ethics only emerged after a year of veganism and six years of vegetarianism. My original reason for going vegetarian was due to my extreme discomfort with preparing raw flesh for my own consumption, something that had always been done for me up to that point (I was a child when I went vegetarian, after having to leave a Home Economics class because I couldn’t handle my discomfort stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey). After several years of this, feeling happier and healthier as I also explored fruitarianism and raw veganism, what perpetuated my vegetarianism and later my veganism was that was in line with my life-work to live as consciously and compassionately as possible with my ear to the earth.

    But I walk both sides of the line. Just as important as veganism for me to walk in line with my own path is recycling animal parts, working spiritually with road-kill and crafting fetiches for others with scavenged animal parts. I am also unafraid to occasionally finish a non-vegan treat that would otherwise have been disposed of, whether a friend won’t eat or it is “dumpster-dived”; it is absolutely incredible the dozens of pounds of goods disposed of every day by bakeries and unopened packaged food by so-called “health food stores”; my boyfriend brings home 10 pounds of bread dough from work that would otherwise go straight in the garbage every day. Despite backpacking and traveling fairly extensively, I have always lived in urban environments (and envy your experiences with hunter-gatherer culture), though I enjoy “survival backpacking,” ethically foraging my own food and wildcrafting my own herbs.

    The majority of my friends and my boyfriend with whom I live are omnivores, and I have deep respect and gratefulness for omnivores who choose local, organic, ethical meat. Thank you for making that choice and encouraging others to do the same! I believe that both omnivores and herbivores need to hold themselves and be held accountable; I have met too many vegetarians who are too happy to stew in their own ignorance about their other life-choices. My hyperconsciousness about my impact and greed upon this earth has driven me to madness, and still does; the only way to not take is to not live, but even then our culture buries us in lead boxes or burns us in a way that is terrible to the earth, and our bodies have become so toxic that we can no longer be laid straight in the ground. But that sort of madness means being constantly awake, and I do my best to encourage people of all diets to take that sort of enthusiasm to the rest of their lives.

    I suppose I wrote so much because I don’t want you to think all vegans/vegetarians live on a one-sided moral high-horse. I do still use a computer… but in every other aspect of my life, from how I earn my money to how I take care of my health to making my own practical household goods to buying recycled goods and saving and re-using like it’s WWII, I do my best! And I know many of us are doing the same. (:

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  13. Samantha says:

    There is nothing ‘natural’ about forcibly breeding billions of animals, mutilating and slaughtering them years before their life span is up for little more than sensory pleasure. Plants don’t have a brain or central nervous system and so cannot feel pain. And if you are concerned about plant ‘casualties’, eliminating animal products from your diet will save 6-12 times as many plants since the vast majority of the world’s crops are fed to animals bred and slaughtered for meat and dairy.

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