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Returning Vegans

I read a very interesting piece in Time magazine regarding the return to meat-eating by former vegetarians. CBS News performed a study claiming that ex-vegetarians outnumber current ones by a 3 to 1 margin. I found that quite surprising. Not that I’ve ever looked into it all that much, but I was still suprised to see such a high number. I’m not surprised in the sense that I believe vegetarianism is harmful to the majority of us, and the statistic only bears out the truth.

As the article relates, a survey by Hal Herzog and Morgan Childers found that these born-again omnivores were mostly women (as many vegetarians are) an average age of 28 years old and had been vegetarians for nine years when they reverted. The majority went vegetarian due to concerns about the treatment of animals and returned to meat because of declining health (“I will take a dead cow over anemia any time,” one man told Psychology Today), logistical hassles, social stigmas, and meat cravings. Only two of the seventy-seven former vegetarians surveyed resumed meat-eating because their moral views changed.

I would expect people to continue to be hung up on the perceived ethical issue of factory farming and the like. But the thing that I keep going back to is that our bodies are clearly designed for meat-eating. I feel for the animals under some of these conditions but at the same time, factory farmings allow a far greater number of people to access meat than they would otherwise. That is a plus for humanity. Not only that, but agriculture is the reason for factory farming to begin with. Using precious grazing land for soybeans and corn spawns factory farming. The animals don’t get to return to the land until after agriculture has ruined it and made it completely unusable for any purpose except a skyscraper or a shopping mall.

Vegetarians typically miss the damage that their precious vegetables do to the environment. No one cries over the complete ecosystems that are destroyed or our precious top soil which is what made the land fertile to begin with. When the crops are finished, they leave the ground fallow and destroyed with no living creatures remaining. They spread pesticides that contaminate ground water and kill off all sorts of small creatures in order to protect their crops. So much for the theory of nothing having to die for them to eat. And the declining health that the majority of vegetarians experience is evidence of their own slow death. Vegetarianism certainly does not protect anyone against cancer or any other disease of civilization.

And despite these facts and statistics, the so-called experts will continue to recommend mostly vegetarian diets to the public and diets high in carbohydrates as the answer to the obesity problem. Cognitive dissonance at its finest!