Cutting meat out of your diet for one day each week not only lowers your contribution to climate change, but is also good for the planet generally, good for others, especially the poor, good for animals, and good for your health.
Good for the Planet
Eating less meat is one of the most effective things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment.
Good for the Poor
Meat production has significant impacts on the lives of many people, particularly the world's poor living in developing countries who struggle to get enough food to eat. The amount of grains that go into feeding the animals that we eat are many times greater than the amount of grain that we need to consume directly to meet our nutritional needs. This excess food is then not available for other people to use to meet their needs directly.
|Hunger and poverty||
Good for Animals
- According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 500 million land-based animals are slaughtered in Australia every year. But even before that, the conditions that many animals are subject to before they make it to our tables are appalling. Sometimes cows, pigs and hens are kept in cages so small they can't move around. The Humane Society and RSPCA in Australia has documented much of this widespread cruelty towards domesticated animals intended for consumption.
- Reducing the amount of meat we eat not only helps reduce the number of animals that are killed, but also the number who are forced to live in such conditions.
Good for Your Health
- According to National Vegetarian Week, a reduction in meat consumption can reduce the likelihood of developing heart diseases, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, colorectal, prostate and bowel cancer and obesity.
- In fact many Australians eat much more meat than is necessary, and particularly in the case of read and processed meats, more than is healthy. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines recommend that adults eat only one to one and a half servings of lean-meat, fish, poultry (or their plant-based alternatives!) each day. With a single serving of cooked meat or chicken being actually only about 65-100 grams -- much smaller than the general servings of meat that many Australians consume at both lunch and dinner most days.
- And reducing the amount of meat you consume, when well-planned, doesn’t have to affect your nutritional intake. In fact, Nutrition Australia says that a properly planned, fully vegetarian diet has consistently been found to provide the full range of nutrients necessary for an optimal diet and the American Dietetic Association has even concluded that well planned, balanced vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritious for infants, children and adolescents as well as pregnant and lactating women. And given that many Australians don’t eat the quantity and variety of fruit and veggies that they should, replacing some (or all!) of your meat intake with a variety of healthy, fresh produce can actually increase the minerals and vitamins you receive, making you look and feel better.
- Choosing to substantially or totally remove meat from your diet can be done healthily, but it is important to research and carefully select the types of foods you eat to ensure you get the right minerals and vitamins, and to consider supplements where necessary.
* Calculated using data from the ACF eco-footprint calculator, ABS 3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics, and ABS 9208.0 – Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia