For health and ethics, eat a plant-based diet, by Jean Slepian | Letters To The Editor

For health and ethics, eat a plant-based diet, by Jean Slepian | Letters To The Editor

The Sentinel’s April 26 article on the challenges of “processing” backyard farm animals (reprinted from The Concord Monitor) overlooked the most logical solution to this problem: Stop killing and eating animals!

Recent research conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has noted a huge shift in the viewpoints of Americans toward factory farms in the past year. With slaughterhouses closing and thousands of workers infected with COVID, 89 percent of Americans now report they are very concerned about large-scale animal agriculture, with farmers and their families twice as concerned as the general population. In addition, 65 percent of Americans believe harsh working conditions and poor worker protections in the animal-killing industry increase inhumane treatment of animals.

Moving the animal-killing culture to backyard farms will make no difference. Morally, ethically, economically and logically we need to make a major shift to a plant-based diet.

We know that consumption of meat, especially beef, increases the risk of cardiac disease, obesity and related diseases, diabetes and many types of cancer, costing billions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars per year. The health benefits of a plant-based diet can not be disputed. We also know that animal agriculture contributes to climate change because of toxic gases released into the atmosphere by animal waste.

Twenty years ago it was a challenge to be a vegetarian, but things have changed. Every fast food restaurant now has a vegetarian option and every supermarket has dozens of plant-based products, including a wide variety of meat and dairy substitutes. There are so many good reasons not to eat meat: health of the individual, health of the planet and just plain kindness. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would choose meat when there are so many options that are better for everyone.

Sir Paul McCartney once famously said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians. I agree. If a person doesn’t have the fortitude to watch an animal suffer and die, he/she should not be eating meat.