Environmental Impact of Animal Agriculture

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Monique Nelson

Founder at Choose to Cook
Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.
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You may remember that I became Vegan after watching the film Cowspiracy, which illuminates the horrific impact that the farmed animal industry has on the environment. This is a fact which has been largely hidden and denied until, at least to my knowledge, very recently. Water is being wasted in unbelievable quantities, rainforests are being destroyed and land is being desertified, animals are going extinct and our climate is changing in very, very dangerous ways, all due to animal agriculture. (http://www.cowspiracy.com/infographic/)

A very close and respected friend of mine made a valid point that the “trend” to become Vegan is responsible for creating a society of soy lovers, and rainforests are being lost to soy crops as well. He believes that soy crops are actually the biggest contributor to deforestation, and therefore creating a world of Vegans is actually worse than a world of carnivores.

In addition to not being quite sure about his “facts”, I have a few counterpoints to this argument:

  1. A huge portion of soy production is actually being used to feed the animal agriculture, creating a double whammy, so to speak. According to WWF, most of the world’s soy is actually consumed by livestock (http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/soy/consumers). MOST OF IT. Less meat will require less soy, which is a double bonus!
  2. Soy is actually being used in an unbelievable number of products which are not related to Tofu, Tempeh or Soy Dairy Alternatives, and are therefore not just the responsibility of meat-free eaters. Soybean oil is in almost all processed foods these days – most of which have absolutely no place in any healthy, plant-based diet. There are certainly Vegans who are unhealthy, but personally, my goal to eat a whole foods, plant-based diet will actually not include a huge amount of soy, especially in comparison to the average North American diet! Check out this infographic to really understand my point: The Hidden World of Soy

So, when it comes down to it, I still believe that reducing the amount of animal products consumed globally is the best option for our world and, incidentally, our health.

What are your thoughts on the subject? I want to remind you that I am trying to create a safe environment for discussion and sharing of factual resources, not a platform for unsupported, biased or aggravated behaviour. We all have something to learn, and if you have information to share, please do so in the comments below!

Post Author: Monique Nelson

Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.

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