Sustainable eating

To the Editor,

It was a great pleasure to participate in the recent debate about the ethical issues associated with eating animals (“College debate team ‘meats’ its match in PETA delegate,” April 20). Just to be clear, producing vegetarian foods is significantly less resource-intensive than raising animals for meat because as with humans, most of what we feed to farmed animals is burned off in the process of the animals’ simply existing. This is a vastly inefficient system, so in addition to killing chickens, pigs and the other animals, eating meat also entails support for many times the pesticides and herbicides as well as many times more small animals tilled up during crop processing, and so on.

Right now, more than 70 percent of the grain grown in this country is fed to animals that are raised for food. Similarly, nearly half the water consumed and 80 percent of the agricultural land in this country is used for livestock instead of being used to grow food to feed people. The massive amount of excrement produced by farmed animals – approximately 130 times as much as that produced by the entire human population in the U.S. – makes its way into our local waterways, including those right here in Massachusetts.

Thankfully, it’s never been easier to find delicious and “green” meals on the go. With local grocery stores stocking the shelves with products such as vegan barbecue riblets and vegan pizza – not to mention the fact that many chain restaurants, such as Denny’s and Ruby Tuesday, have added veggie burgers to their menus – there’s never been a better time to eat sustainably and cruelty-free.

– Bruce Friedrich, vice president of PETA