Environment

A Good Reason To Become A Vegan: Eat Less Meat To Conserve Our Ecosystem And Biodiversity, Researchers Say

Researchers say humans should eat less meat to conserve planet's ecosystem and biodiversity. Consuming meat accounts for single largest habitat loss.

Meat contains a beneficial amount of proteins necessary for our growth and repair of our body tissues. It also helps in production of significant amount of antibodies needed to protect us from infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood.

However, besides the meat’s health benefits, we have never thought of how its increasing consumption is meddling with our planet’s ecosystem.

According to the researchers at Florida International University, human population should eat less meat in order to conserve the planet’s ecosystem and biodiversity.

Producing livestock for human consumption accounts for deforestation and single largest loss of habitat. Habitat loss, by far, is the greatest threat to the variety of life including wild carnivores and herbivores.

Woman eating meat. One should eat less meat to save our planet
Image via Salon.com

In addition, meat-eaters are the ones driving the stock raisers to convert forest into pasture. This practice can lead to climate change and loss of biodiversity which may ultimately lead to worldwide species extinction according to study.

Biologists Brian Machovina and Kenneth J. Feeley, appeal to decrease the land demands and ecological footprint of agriculture. They also ask to reduce animal products in diets to a daily average of 10 percent or less of calories in their paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

“Reducing animal-based product consumption is realistic if we can offer delicious, convenient, plant-based foods that people want to eat,” Machovina said.

“The power of the market is what drives meat consumption, and the power of the market can equally drive its reduction. Awareness about the damage of meat consumption to personal and environmental health can help change these trends through market-driven conservation.”

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Report shows production and consumption of meat is increasing rapidly in the regions of Asia, Africa and south America. Some countries may require 30 to 50 percent increases in land to meet their meat production needs by 2050.

Livestock consumption in China is of special concern because of its increasing demand of meat for consumption backed by its surging human population; including the hunting and consumption of wild animal meat in Africa and Asia.

Researchers talked about the importance of cultivating soybeans and how they would benefit us by tenfold. They also said reducing the intake of animal products can benefit health. Heart disease, which is the leading cause of human death, is strongly associated with consuming meat and other animal products.

“I had no idea livestock production was the number one use of land by mankind, the largest driver of deforestation, or that animal product consumption is the underlying cause of most deaths via circulatory disease,” Machovina said.

“But when I started reading on the subject and focusing my work on how animal consumption is affecting biodiversity, the results have been profound. When people experience the positive changes plant-based foods can have on their health and the health of their loved ones, the opportunity for widespread change is powerful, ” he added.

Brian Machovina’s speech on TEDxFIU: Eat Healthier and Save the Environment and his other findings featured on PNAS, Nature are worth the acknowledgement.

Are you a vegan? Do you think this study could be a good reason or perhaps an excuse to become a vegetarian? Tell us in the comment below.

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