A veterinarian giving a pig a vaccine.

Photo: Thammachak Sotiya/shutterstock.com

The Issues

Public Health

A veterinarian giving a pig a vaccine.

Photo: Thammachak Sotiya/shutterstock.com

A Hazard to Human Health

Man wearing face mask on street

Photo: Stasia04/shutterstock.com

In the U.S., almost ten billion animals are exploited and slaughtered every year. Most live short miserable lives in overcrowded factory farms, which are a breeding ground for disease, including emerging pathogens and virulent strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The unnatural feeds, hormones, and excessive quantities of antibiotics used put the human population at risk for chronic disease, obesity, and drug-resistant bacteria, and pose the threat of major zoonotic disease outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns: “…3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.” These include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, and they infect millions of U.S. citizens every year.

A vegan or plant-based diet can have innumerable health benefits and is supported by organizations like the USDA and Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. Vegans enjoy lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Closeup of freshly harvested vegetables
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein

Photo: morinka/shutterstock.com

Facts

  • Variety of processed meats and prepacked foods in a grocery store

    Photo: Niloo/shutterstock.com

  • 75%

    of emerging human diseases originate in other animals, according to the CDC.

  • The World Health Organization has labeled processed meat as a carcinogen.

  • People who eat plant-based lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

  • Millions of people across the world are living on a vegan diet.

Photo: Niloo/shutterstock.com

Animal Agriculture Doesn't Just Hurt Animals

Vertical explainer photo 1 - Veterinary workers wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) during avian influenza (bird flu) checking on chicken barn in Malaysia.

Photo: Lano Lan/shutterstock.com

Some diseases, such as H1N1 (swine flu), SARS and MERS (avian flu), and COVID-19 are communicable from animals to humans. These “zoonotic” diseases have the potential to become pandemics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns: “…3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.” These include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, and they infect millions of U.S. citizens every year.

Experts believe that the outbreak of H1N1 was likely caused by the overcrowding of pigs on factory farms and the storage of their waste in giant manure lagoons.

Veterinary workers wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) during avian influenza (bird flu) checking on chicken barn in Malaysia.

Photo: Lano Lan/shutterstock.com

Some diseases, such as H1N1 (swine flu), SARS and MERS (avian flu), and COVID-19 are communicable from animals to humans. These “zoonotic” diseases have the potential to become pandemics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns: “…3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.” These include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, and they infect millions of U.S. citizens every year.

Experts believe that the outbreak of H1N1 was likely caused by the overcrowding of pigs on factory farms and the storage of their waste in giant manure lagoons.

Veterinarian injects vaccine into chicken

Photo: docter_k/shutterstock.com

Since the 1950s, antibiotics have been used on factory farms to increase the rate of growth in animals. Today, an estimated 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to farm animals for non-therapeutic purposes. Using antibiotics in this way can lead to drug-resistant bacteria; as a result, certain bacterial infections have already become or are on their way to becoming untreatable in humans. Antibiotic-resistant infections kill 23,000 Americans every year.

Veterinarian injects vaccine into chicken to prevent poultry diseases

Photo: docter_k/shutterstock.com

Poor sanitation and waste management on factory farms can lead to the contamination of the food supply by bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Each year 48 million Americans become ill from foodborne illness, and thousands die.

A patient in hospital ward

Photo: Thaiview/shutterstock.com

Cows in the dairy industry can be given growth hormones in order to increase their milk production. Once their productivity declines, these cows are slaughtered for beef. The six growth hormones commonly used by the U.S. dairy industry have been shown to significantly increase the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer in beef consumers. Producers are not required to list the use of hormones on product labels.

Closeup of burger wrapped in measuring tape

Photo: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animal products are the primary source of saturated fat in the American diet. Saturated fat has been linked to heart disease and obesity. There is evidence suggesting that the unnatural feeds used to promote growth in animals on factory farms increase the saturated fat content of meat.

What Can We Do?

Family cutting vegetables together.

Photo: Nattakorn_Maneerat/shutterstock.com

The more plant-based foods you start adding to your diet the healthier you will become! A vegan or plant-based diet can have innumerable health benefits and is supported by organizations like the USDA and Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. Vegans enjoy lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Want to extend the love? Growing community gardens can help keep community members healthy, increase food security, and boost nearby property values. It’s empowering to nourish our bodies with living foods that we can grow in our homes or communities!

Check out our plant-based eating guide at the link below and find out how delicious and fulfilling a vegan diet can be.

Learn More

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