Where Are The Weapons Of Mass Destruction?
We were told that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in IRAQ. But all along the WMDs have been right in front of us. They are in our kitchens. They may be on your dinner table. The true Weapons of Mass Destruction are meat and dairy.
Meat and dairy are killing us at far greater numbers than any war. If meat and dairy were a foreign country we would be invading the factory farms and slaughterhouses with troops to stop the killing of millions of Americans.
In the early 1900s fewer than 10% of deaths in the United States were attributed to cardiovascular disease and now it is the number one killer. The common form of diabetes has gone up 700% since World War II, and since 1975 has doubled every 15 years. In the early 1900s, Americans got 70% of their protein from plant foods. Today, we get 70% of our protein from animal products. Per-capita consumption of meat has doubled over the last century to its current level of 200 pounds per person.
During the period from 1978-1982, the rate of prostrate cancer in Osaka, Japan was 6.7 per 100,000. The rate in the U.S. during this same time period was 102.1 per 100,000. Upon immigration to the U.S. and the adoption of the American diet high in animal products, the incidence rate of prostate cancer in the Japanese immigrants increased 7 times and the rate of their offspring mirrored the incidence rate in the U.S.
Americans have twice the obesity rate, twice the diabetes rate, and three times the cancer rate as the rest of the world. Our odds of dying from the meat and dairy WMD is thousands of times greater than dying from the WMDs we were looking for in Iraq.
Meat and dairy is a Weapon of Mass Destruction for our economy. As David Simon points out in his book, “Meatonomics”, American taxpayers pay $38 billion each year to subsidize the meat and dairy industries. This corporate welfare package is half the total unemployment benefits paid by all fifty states. Do you complain about welfare? You are a welfare recipient every time you eat meat or dairy.
The true cost of meat and dairy is not reflected in the prices we pay at the cash register. Milk would cost $9 a gallon and a two-pound package of pork ribs would cost $32 if they reflected their true costs. The health care costs associated with eating meat and dairy is staggering, more than $300 billion each year. This dwarfs the health care costs associated with tobacco.
Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences. Cattle ranching is the number one reason for deforestation in virtually every Amazon country, and it accounts for 80% of current deforestation.
The meat and dairy industries are killing our oceans. Nitrogen runoff from livestock operations has caused massive dead zones affecting 95,000 square miles of our oceans. The number of dead zones are doubling every ten years.
Our demand for seafood is causing a rapid deterioration of our marine ecosystems. We harvest 100 million tons of fish from the ocean each year and another 50 million tons are killed as “bykill” and thrown back into the ocean. Each year over 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises are killed as bykill. 1081 types of fish are listed as threatened or endangered. 90% of all tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod and halibut are gone. We have removed more fish from the ocean in our lifetime than in the previous thousands of years and this is causing large-scale ecosystem changes.
No Weapon of Mass Destruction is as insidious as the one that kills an estimated 12 million children each year from nutrition-related diseases. 80% of these children live in countries where food is fed to animals and then those animals are killed and eaten by people in the U.S. and Europe. One-fourth of all grain produced by third-world countries is fed to livestock.
Millions of undernourished children in the developing world live next to fields of food destined for export as animal feed, to support the meat-hungry cultures of the developed world. The irony should be apparent. Millions in poor countries go undernourished to support the meat addiction of affluent countries while millions in the affluent countries are dying from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer, brought on by eating animal products.
George Bush said the Axis of Evil ran through Iraq or North Korea. In fact, the Axis of Evil is found throughout the United States in factory farms and slaughterhouses. We torture and murder millions of sentient beings every day for no good reason.
No Weapon of Mass Destruction has ever killed more sentient beings than the meat and dairy industries. On an average day in the United States, we torture and kill 24 million chickens, 360,000 pigs, 130,000 cattle, and 7,000 calves. This is a crime of unimaginable proportions.
We watch the news every night and look in horror at the atrocities that are being committed by others. But it is time we look at ourselves and the atrocities that we are committing by eating dairy and meat. There is no greater WMD than meat and dairy.
Doug Meier is an attorney and board member of Veganseatwhat? He practices law in Colorado.
Doug Meier is an attorney who practices in Colorado the area of insurance bad faith and legal malpractice. He became a vegetarian 13 years ago and went vegan approximately 2 years ago. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org