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Comment of the (Earth) Day: Vegetarian = Less Pollution

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Photo by ILoveButter via Flickr

There are still many comments to be left today by readers, but torrmoz's comment on an earlier story about vegetarian eating highlights points from a New York Times Mark Bittman story (Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler) about meat production and the environment. These are well worth bringing to the forefront:

  • If Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan to a Prius.
  • Livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases — more than transportation.
  • Agriculture in the U.S. contributes to nearly three-quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation's rivers and streams.
  • Meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world's tropical rain forests.
  • About two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption.

In February, Chino's Westland/Hallmark Meat Company came into the spotlight when the government recalled beef after secret video footage revealed staff was mistreating the animals.

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On a more positive note, vegan and vegetarian restaurants are becoming neighborhood staples in Los Angeles -- definitely a good thing, whether you choose to eat meat or not.