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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarian Essays/Vegan Essays

Vegetarians in Paradise received the following email message from Sarah Chamma. We felt her high school essay should be shared with our readers.

I'm 17 years old and I'm a supporter of animal rights and vegetarianism. (Though I'm not a full-fledged vegetarian due to my parent's misconceptions of a life without meat.) A few months ago I had to write a persuasive speech about something I cared about for school; I chose vegetarianism. School is over now, and I don't need the essay anymore. But I know that there's a lot of magazines out there that might like to publish this essay of mine. It's not a preaching essay; it simply gives three reasons why people chose to go vegetarian. I use facts and statistics to get my point across that vegetarianism is universally beneficial.

I've copy/pasted my essay onto this e-mail so you can read it. If you are interested in publishing it, please say so. Give me the necessary address and I'll mail it. If you think my essay needs editing, say so.

Three Reasons To Go Vegetarian

By Sarah Chamma

Nowadays, people go vegetarian for a variety of reasons, not just to support animal rights. Concern for the environment is a big factor. Some are concerned that cattle grazing can cause topsoil erosion, and that farms on which animals are raised for food are taking up too much space; rainforests are being torn down to pave the way for meat farms. There's also an issue with pollution caused by animal agricultural practices. It's true that a more widespread adaptation of vegetarian concepts would result in a much more balanced economy, as well as much less starvation. Sarah Chamma

Too much goes into raising animals for meat. Ninety percent of soy and 95% of grains grown in the United States are fed to livestock. The amount of grain and soybeans eaten by US livestock yearly could instead feed 1.3 million more people. Out of all the corn grown in the United States, only 20% is eaten by human beings. If Americans were to reduce their meat intake by just 10%, some 100,000,000 more people could be adequately fed. Cultivation of plants for direct human consumption takes up much less land, water and energy than it takes to cultivate livestock. Simply put, the driving force behind world hunger and rainforest destruction is America's meat habit.

Health is an even more common reason for vegetarianism. Studies show that vegetarians are much healthier than average people. Vegetarians have much less chances of getting many chronic, degenerative diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, many types of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney stones, gallstones, and diverticular disease. That's partly because, in general, vegetarians are more health-conscious than most people, and are more likely to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, and are more likely to exercise regularly. But it's not just that; the vegetarian diet itself is a major contribution to good health. Soy foods have a substance called genistein that contributes to lower rates of certain types of cancers. Studies show that the most common cause of death in the United States is the common heart attack. An average meat-eater has at least 50% chance of a heart attack while a pure vegetarian has a mere 4%. Recent health scares like bird flu, E. coli, hoof-and-mouth disease in sheep, to name a few, have contributed to an increase in vegetarianism. There's also the issue of use of artificial growth hormones in cows, which could result in contaminated meat.

A less common reason that people go vegetarian is religion. Most, if not all, religions preach compassion and respect for all things living; some say Christianity promotes vegetarianism, and there are even claims that Jesus himself was a vegetarian. There's also Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, and Jainism. Hinduism and Buddhism both believe in reincarnation; most likely every human had a past life as an animal. Just to kill an insect would be to damage the life cycle, and that to take a life, any life, would inflict you with bad karma; you would later be met with repercussions. Hindus also believe that food shapes personality, mood and mind, and that meat promotes aggressiveness and a mental state of turmoil.

I've given you three reasons for vegetarianism--environment awareness, health, and religion--and surely you must have thought at least one of them was a good reason. Judging by these facts I gave you, it's clear that you have little or nothing to lose by going vegetarian. So why not? Add a few years to your life, save a starving child, get in good with God or Buddha or whoever you're at the mercy of. Make a difference. Peace out.

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