Top Pro & Con Arguments

Con

Vegetarian diets are not necessarily better for the environment.

Raising beef is often the most efficient way to produce food for humans, especially considering about 85% of U.S. grazing land is not suitable for raising crops humans can eat. Natural prairie grasslands can coexist with sustainable herds of cattle or bison, but they cannot coexist with monocrop agriculture. [27]

Growing crops isn’t always the best for the environment. Almost 100 million acres of farmland in the Corn Belt has lost all topsoil due to erosion, polluting nearby waterways. Further, 94% of U.S. soybeans and 92% of corn were genetically modified (GMOs), which are immune to herbicides, alowing farmers to douse their fields with large quantities of herbicides that are toxic to other plants and fish. Increased herbicide use could create “super weeds.” And, vegetarian diets can cause the death of animals, too: about six animals per acre, or 52-77% of the animals (such as birds, mice, and rabbits) that live in agricultural crop fields, are killed during harvest. [43] [44] [118] [154] [155] [43] [44] [118] [154] [155]

Processed vegetarian protein options such as tofu [which is made with soy beans] can cause more greenhouse gas pollution than farming meat. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that the production of soy-based proteins could contribute more to greenhouse gas emissions than eating locally produced meat. Giving up all animal products would only give a 7% reduction in green house gas emissions. [16] [106]>

Further, it is not necessary to become vegetarian to lower our environmental footprint. Some vegetarians eat an unhealthy diet, drive SUVs, and consume eggs and dairy products produced at factory farms (CAFOs). Some meat eaters use solar panels, ride bikes, grow their own vegetables, and eat free-range organic meat. All of a person’s actions make a difference—not just a single act such as eating meat.

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