Need motivation? . . . LAST ONE! part 13

You know that my primary motive on GSG.com is to improve the health of human beings through a plant-based diet.   But today we look at figures regarding the treatment of animals raised for food in America before I officially retire this series:

 

Number of pigs in U.S. raised in total confinement factories where they never see light of day until trucked to slaughter: 65 million   (in England, zero!)  

U.S. pigs that have pneumonia at the time of slaughter: 70 percent

 

Broiler chickens so overfed and obese at 6 weeks that they can’t walk: 90 percent

 

Mass of breast tissue of 8-wk. old chicken compared to 25 years ago: 7 times greater

 

Do you think the treatment of animals is acceptable if the package reads “cage free,” “free range,” and “natural?”   Those terms mean virtually nothing in the U.S.–they’re just a marketing gimmick with no law or regulation defining them (by USDA standards, a Burger King Whopper is “natural”).   Egglands Best and Vegetarian Harvest both use caged hens.

 

Length of time birds subjected to forced molting (75 percent of U.S. hens) are given no food:   10-14 days (and 3 days with no water)

 

Chickens housed in U.S. egg farms in an 18″ by 20″ cage: 7 or 8 (where they peck each other to death, so farmer “de-beak” them, and excrement falls constantly on them from chickens above)

 

U.S. dairy calves taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth: 90 percent (compared to 8 months of nursing from their mothers in a natural environment)

 

Veal calves in the U.S. are: denied mother’s milk, trucked to auctions 1-2 days old, commingled with sick and dying animals, chained for life in crates 22″ wide, denied solid food, made anemic, kept in the dark, plagued by respiratory and intestinal disease, not allowed lie down normally, deprived of bedding, never able to walk

 

Tell me:   Do you love your dog?   Would you be okay with your dog being treated this way?   How did we get to the point that we condone this treatment of other animals like cows, birds, and pigs?

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 12 of 12

Today, why you’re contributing to environmental damage if you eat high on the food chain:

 

Gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon-Valdez: 12 million

 

Gallons of putrefying hog urine and feces spilled in North Carolina in 1995 when a hog excrement dam broke:   25 million

 

Fish killed as an immediate result: 10-14 million

 

Fish whose breeding area was decimated by this disaster: half of all mid-East Coast fish species

 

Farmed fish the answer to avoid overfishing?   Farmed fish contains much higher levels of pollutants and pesticides, including 10 times more PCBs (2001 study)

 

Concentration of pathogens in hog waste (a biohazard) compared to human sewage: 10 to 100 times greater

 

For every household in the country, 20 tons of livestock manure are produced annually.

 

The single largest source of water pollution, which cauterizes waterways and kills fish: dairy farms

 

Rainforest beef destroys: 20-30 plant species, 100 insect species, and dozens of bird, mammal, and reptile species

 

When will Indonesian forests (280 million acres) be gone if cleared to produce enough beef for Indonesians to eat as much as the U.S. does, per capita: 3.5 years

 

When will Costa Rican rainforests be gone if cleared to produce enough beef for Costa Ricans to eat as much as the U.S. does, per capita: 1 year

 

What a hamburger would cost (produced by clearing forests in India, which is common practice) if the REAL costs were included and no subsidies were involved: $200

 

Tell me: what does this mean to you?   Do you think we are overconsuming meat?

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 11 of 12

Today, more info on world hunger and why you’re contributing to overconsumption of resources  eating high on the food chain:

 

Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land, if the land is producing . . .

 

Cabbage                     23 people

Potatoes                      22 people

Rice                               19 people

Corn                             17 people

Wheat                         15 people

Chicken                         2 people

Milk                                 2 people

Eggs                                  1 person

Beef                               1 person

 

Grain needed to adequately feed every person on the planet who dies of hunger annually: 12 million tons

 

Amount Americans would have to reduce their beef consumption to save 12 million tons of grain: 10 percent

 

Amount of fish caught per person, worldwide, sold for human consumption (1996): 16 kg

Amount of marine life that was hauled up with the fish and discarded, per person (1996): 200 kg

 

Amount of world’s fish catch fed to livestock: 50%, more than the combined weight of the U.S. human population

 

Newsweek quote: “The amount of water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (Naval) destroyer.”

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 10 of 12

Today, stats about hunger in the world, and how this is related to a plant-based diet:

 

Number of UNDERFED and malnourished people in the world: 1.2 billion

Number of OVERFED and malnourished people in the world: 1.2 billion

Both groups have high levels of sickness and disability and shortened life expectancies

 

Weight of the world’s cattle compared to weight of the world’s people: nearly double

 

Area of Earth’s total land mass used as pasture for cattle/livestock: 50%

 

Grassland needed to support one cow under optimal conditions: 2.5 acres

Grassland needed to support one cow under much more common marginal conditions: 50 acres

 

Pounds of grain needed to produce 1 lb. of beef: 17

U.S. corn eaten by people: 2 percent

U.S. corn eaten by livestock: 77 percent

U.S. farmland producing vegetables: 4 million acres

U.S. farmland producing hay for livestock: 56 million acres

 

U.S. grain and cereals fed to livestock: 70 percent

Human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock: 1,400,000,000

 

World’s population living in the U.S.:   4 percent

World’s beef eaten in the U.S.: 23 percent

Is Europe healthier than the U.S.?

Ciao, hola, bon jour, and cheerio!   We had an amazing time in six countries of Europe (Slovenia and Croatia not represented in those greetings, because I wasn’t there long enough to pick up any vocab).   But we were so ecstatic to arrive home to our FAVORITE country that we almost kissed the dirty floor of the airport!

 

I’m now more thankful than before for abundantly available ice, predictable traffic, nonsmokers, free and easy-to-find public restrooms and drinking fountains, and my dollar actually BUYING me something, just to name a few.   I have newfound respect, however, for conservation–of space, resources, water, land, and gasoline.   I think I may never complain about $4/gal. gas again, since Europeans are paying $9/gal.!

 

You will be thrilled to know that a certain brand of American capitalism is alive and well in Europe (see photos below in Florence, Venice, Versailles, Barcelona, and London).   So if we’ve so successfully exported some of the worst parts of our culture, why are they still so much healthier than we are?   More on that tomorrow.

“The plural of anecdote is not data” . . . part 1 of 4

I’m still laughing since I read that most excellent quote–thanks, Katie!

 

When I’m teaching my college students elemental data analysis and research, I tell them my two pet peeves about research in general, but particularly in the field of health and nutrition.

 

I say that I am completely frustrated with medicine.   The vast majority of research inside modern medicine is bought and paid for, motive tainting it to the point of near uselessness.   A profit motive is often counter to the interests of the public health (a flaw in the capitalist economic system, not that I’m advocating for any other system).   Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of prescription drugs.   The problem is highlighted by the 2007 release of a study of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies (often referred to as Big Pharma): they spend 2:1 on marketing (drug pushing) versus research and development!

 

On the other end, as Katie’s quote alludes to, “alternative health” doesn’t have big bucks backing it, so those who market natural remedies often rely on case studies.   One person, or even ten, saying their constipation improved taking X or Y herb?   That’s not compelling research.   Worst of all is the fact that many health/nutrition products are marketed by people with little knowledge base (in direct sales and network marketing models).   Those selling many products these days rely on nothing more than anecdotes, or “testimonials.”      

 

               

 

 

 

 

Their selling sometimes looks a lot like a revivalist religious meeting, and that turns me cold because it’s emotion based rather than logic based.   Look at the folks claiming their gout or their psoriasis or their athsma is better because of Product X, at those meetings, and tell me: do they look truly healthy?   Can you really believe that a diet of hot dogs and potato chips, with a little pasteurized miracle mangosteen juice or a pill of  some kind, is the answer to all health problems?  Do a product’s claims fit with what you already know, or is it just wishful thinking and preying on the desperation of so many people in poor health?

 

I see the problems with  common reasoning flaws on a micro level, constantly.   Three examples tomorrow.