Following the birth of his first child, the American author Jonathan Safran Foer wanted to know the truth so that he could make an informed decision about the food he gives his son. As a result of his exploration of what meat-eating means for humans, animals and the environment, he and his family are now vegetarian.

Foer's book, "Eating Animals", is by no means the only book exploring the topic of animals as food, but it is certainly one of the most well-known internationally. It clearly shows that this issue affects us all and that nobody can turn a blind eye to it – especially not parents. After all, anyone who is responsible for bringing up (and therefore feeding) children cannot afford to ignore the fact that…

  • the consumption of meat is conducive to many Western lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, allergies, heart/circulation ailments, high blood pressure and cancer, and that vegetarians have a higher life expectancy than meat-eaters;
  • leading global health organisations take a positive view of vegetarian diets, including the vegan diet, and consider them to be appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and have concluded that they may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases;
  • the invisible belief system that conditions people, from an early age, to love dogs but eat pigs and wear cows – or “carnism” – is a violent ideology;
  • the meat-, milk- and egg-producing industries account for more greenhouse gas emissions and thus contribute more to climate change than all of the world's traffic combined;
  • the planet’s ecosystem as we know it will be destroyed if, as forecast, the consumption of meat and milk doubles between 2000 and 2050;
  • it would be impossible to meet Western consumers’ demand for meat without the massive grain and soya imports from developing countries, which means that there is an inextricable link between the consumption of meat in the rich countries and hunger and death in the poor countries;
  • the average British meat-eater consumes around 1,200 animals (excluding fish and other aquatic animals) in his or her lifetime;
  • factory farming is on the rise in the UK, as everywhere else;
  • the UK imports huge amounts of meat from countries with much lower production and welfare standards;
  • the interest in and popularity of vegetarianism and especially veganism is exploding, that there are estimated to be at least 600,000 vegans in the UK today and that more and more parents are bringing up their children meat-free.

To find out more about why it is in our very best interests as parents to live meat-free and raise our children the same way, take a look at the sections Health, Upbringing, Environmental and climate protection, Social justice and global hunger and Ethics and morals.

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