Farms are often considered


However, for many animals, they are anything but comforting. To make the most money, industrial farmers often crowd livestock into confined spaces where they endure pain and stress. Seventy percent of American antibiotics prevent and treat the diseases that afflict them because of their unhealthy living conditions.

The consumption of the meat, dairy, and eggs from industrial farms deprives animals of the free and happy lives they deserve.

Industrial agriculture requires many


The plants livestock eat could feed humans more efficiently. Rather than consuming the products of animals that have eaten many years' worth of food, consumers can go directly to the source of their nourishment. Cows eat seven times more grain than Americans do; this amount would satisfy 840 million people.

Grain-fed meat usually involves eleven times more energy from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, than plant foods do.

Twenty percent less land can be used to produce plant foods as opposed to animal foods.

Fertilizers and pesticides are chemicals that help plants grow and keep insects away. Over one billion pounds of each are currently being used per year.

One kilogram of animal protein requires 100 times more water to produce than the same amount of plant-based protein.

The use of these resources adds about nine percent to our greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat in the atmosphere and speed


Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide when they are burned. These provide the energy to house animals, as well as to grow and ship their food.


Nitrous oxide is released from the production of fertilizers and pesticides, which are also harmful because their chemicals drain into lakes and rivers after rainfall.


Ruminant animals, such as cows, emit large amounts of Methane due to the types of bacteria contained within their stomachs.


Consumers have the power to reduce the impact of animal agriculture by changing what they


They can reduce the demand for cruel and unsustainable products by refusing to buy those items. If everyone stopped buying them, they would no longer be sold.


Vegans eliminate all foods produced by animals, such as meat, fish, dairy, and even honey.

Vegetarianism is a less strict way of eating that requires people to avoid meat and fish, but generally allows for other animal products including dairy and eggs.

Flexitarians (also known as reducitarians) do not follow specific guidelines, but actively try to reduce their consumption of animal products. They may do something as small as cooking one plant-based meal per week, or make the bigger change of following a vegan diet except when visiting restaurants.

Locavores still eat animal products, but choose them wisely. They prefer locally grown food from farmers they trust to treat animals with compassion through free-range farming that keeps them out of cages. They may also expect farmers to use environmentally friendly practices, like encouraging the animals to eat from grass pastures, since grass is less energy-intensive than other crops. Non-imported foods also require less transportation required for shipment, reducing the need for fossil fuels.

Can you stay healthy while making a


If you are ready to start reducing or eliminating animal products, you may be worried about meeting your nutritional needs. You are right to be concerned; if they are not careful, vegans and vegetarians may miss out on several nutrients.

With proper planning, though, the American Dietetic Association says you can still thrive on plant-based foods at any stage of life.


Protein is important for building and repairing not only muscles, but other body tissues as well, such as skin, bones, and organs.

Vitamin B12

Many essential functions of the brain and body, including the maintenance of healthy nerve cells, formation of red blood cells, and replication of DNA would not be possible without Vitamin B12.


Iron helps transfer oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.


Calcium is best known for building strong bones and teeth. It also aids in blood clotting, as well as sending and receiving nerve signals.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and aids bone growth.

If you visit a dietitian, he or she will likely tell you that most of the nutrients you need can be found in


Legumes are foods such as kidney beans, peas, soybeans, and peanuts found in the pods of flowering plants. They are excellent sources of protein and iron.

Fruits, including apples, peaches, mangos, citrus fruits, and berries, are also taken from flowering plants and contain seeds. Along with their sweet taste, fruits provide a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Vegetables come from other parts of plants, such as roots, leaves, and stems; they are great sources of vitamins and minerals as well. Carrots, broccoli, peppers, and leafy greens are all nutritious vegetables.

Grains are the carbohydrate-rich seeds of certain grasses. They include wheat (which is most often made into bread or pasta), rice, corn, and oats.