For majority of individuals, meat products are considered as a significant part of daily diet. It appears as though every meal is incomplete without consuming meat. While many people continuously consume meat products, the number of individuals acquiring chronic diseases associated with meat consumption is increasing as well. Despite the warnings promoted by many institutions, the availability of meat products in staggering profusion further encourages people to take in more meat without realizing its cost.
Not only is meat consumption detrimental to one’s health, but it is also considered as a host of myriads of negative influences that affect various aspects of the society. One of the major drawbacks derived from meat consumption is apparent in human health. Various studies have shown that meat-based diet is the leading factor that contributes to the development of various diseases. According to studies, meat-based diet can lead to heart diseases attributed to cholesterol build up and saturated fat from meat. Likewise, meat products are also associated with cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of such disease.
This is due to the fact that cooked meat contains a certain amount of heterocyclic amines which are responsible for the mutation of cells that leads to cancer (Robbana-Barnat et al. , 1996 cited in Christian Vegetarian Association [CVA], 2005). Similarly, diseases like obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis are also associated with meat consumption (CVA, 2005). In relation to this, the process of producing meat should not be discounted when it comes to the increased rate of health concerns associated with meat consumption. Many people turn a blind eye on the process of meat production because of the role of meat in their daily diet.
However, it should be understood that cattle, chickens, pigs, and sheep are raised intensively in order to produce cheap meat, and the process involved is something that is not totally acceptable. Most of the time, the meat industry carefully controls the growth mechanism of the said animals through the use of antibiotics. Overtime, the said antibiotics given to the animals produces antibiotic-resistance bacteria, which reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics given to people suffering from infectious diseases and food poisoning (National Research Council, 1999; Spike et al.
, 1987; Schwalbe et al. , 1999; cited in CVA, 2005). Other than this, animal agriculture industry is also fond of feeding animals with ground-up carcasses which are responsible for the rise of diseases such as the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is the human version of mad cow disease, for reproductive dysfunctions, and for the spread of food-borne diseases like E coli and salmonella (CVA, 2005). From here, one can easily point out that meat consumption is apparently one of the formidable reasons for the rise of health problems and increasing medical costs for many individuals.
It was also pointed out that in one way or another, meat consumption has its own share in affecting world hunger. Considering that more than 22 billion farm animals are in existence today, the large number of animals naturally requires a considerable amount of feeds, medicine, and water. Notably, crops that can be eaten by humans are being grown to feed farm animals that would be slaughtered later on. As the demand for meat is growing, the demand for crops also increases in order to compensate for the food of the said livestock.
For the foregoing reason, it should be regarded that while many people suffer from obesity and overweight, due to meat consumption, there is twice as much people, most especially children, all over the world who are either malnourished or underfed (Gardner & Halveil, 2000 cited in CVA, 2005). While it may be true that the main factors for the existence of such problem are social and political, it is caused in part by meat-based diet practiced by many (Lewis, 1994 cited in CVA, 2005).
To stress such point, Worldwatch Institute states: “Grain is used much more efficiently when consumed directly by humans. Meat production depends on feeding nearly 40 percent of the world’s grains to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world’s poor” (Worldwatch Institute, 2000 cited in CVA, 2005, n. p. ). The ethical value of meat-eating is also tarnished by the way animals are handled during the process of livestock raising.
While many individuals oppose animal cruelty and perceive it as immoral, even going to the extent of providing statutes against animal cruelty, the truth of the matter is that despite such campaigns, very few protections are granted to farm animals. Animals that are raised for agribusiness are denied with rightful living conditions that greatly affect the animals. The negative impact of such practice may include damages in the body parts of the animals, starvation, self-mutilation, and death. The participation of humans in inflicting injury to animals before they are slaughtered should not be overlooked.
These include castration, removal of body parts without using any pain relievers, branding, and other brutal behaviors directed to the animals (CVA, 2005). As stated by author and feminist-vegetarian Carol Adams (2001), every time individuals purchase meat products for consumption, they are making a statement to the producers that they approve of inflicting injury to the animals (Adams, 2001 cited in CVA, 2005). In this sense, consuming meat and meat products implies the encouragement of promoting animal cruelty.
Considering the points discussed, it is evident that negative impact of eating meat is clear and reaching. Not only it is disadvantageous to an individual’s health, but it also promotes the practice of inflicting pain to animals that deserve a better life condition. As such, it could be said that eating meat indeed unleashes the worse in an individual.
Christian Vegetarian Association. (2005). Vegetarianism’s benefits. The Christian Vegetarian Association. Retrieved May 6, 2009, from http://www. all-creatures. org/cva/vegbenefits. htm.