Essay on Beef...and Why It Shouldn't Be What's for Dinner

5059 Words Jun 14th, 2013 21 Pages
Until recently, vegetarianism has remained ostracized at the outskirts of our society, associated in collective public opinion almost exclusively with radical animal rights activists and "left-wing political attitudes" (Lund). In recent years, however, the practice of abstaining from meat consumption has taken on new life, fueled by new evidence of its health benefits and a changing moral landscape that is gradually expanding to include the rights of animals with those of humans. In spite of its rapid growth, the vegetarian philosophy remains a largely controversial subject for many Americans. Its almost sudden appearance in the mainstream leaves many avid meat-eaters questioning the validity of its lauded benefits and struggling to defend …show more content…
The most obvious reason for this is the potential that meat carries for contamination: 60% of supermarket chickens are infected with salmonella, and in 1997 alone 25 million pounds of hamburger were contaminated with the E. coli virus (Motavelli). Mostly, however, vegetarian diets are endorsed for much more positive reasons. Studies have lauded the meat-free lifestyle as beneficial for reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, and several forms of cancer (Corliss). Especially significant in today's society is the diet's potential for lowering the risk for obesity: according to the U.S. government, 23% of Americans were obese as of the year 2000 ("Overweight Prevalence"). Plant-based diets have also been shown to aid in diabetics' kidney and nerve functions. In addition, they may be a factor in the longer life spans evident in industrialized nations and, according to the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition at Loma Linda University, can "slow, and perhaps even reverse, age-related declines in brain function and in cognitive and motor performance" (Corliss). Alternatively, a large study has found that diets high in animal protein and lacking in plant foods actually increased the risk for heart disease and cancer ("Meat-Free"). Dr. Caldwell

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