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VEGETARIANISM 

 One of the most important things we can do to help animals is not to eat them. There are lots of good reasons for being a vegetarian.
 
It’s kinder for animals. 
 
 
Lots of people think that animals live happily on the farm, just like in story books, but often that’s not the case at all. Most farm animals live in very crowded conditions and cannot run around and play in the sun. 
Do you remember how we looked at how hens are kept?  Well, pigs are kept in very similar conditions.  It’s a very cruel way to keep animals and even more cruel to kill them later just so that people can eat them. 
We should always remember that animals have feelings too, and people should not use them as a food when there are so many healthy alternatives available. 
 
 
It’s better for the environment. 
 
 
 
Breeding animals for food is very bad for the environment too. Rainforests are very important to provide oxygen for us to breath, but in Central America they are being cut down to provide land for cattle to graze. Those cattle are then used for burgers such as McDonalds. 
Most of the plant food grown in the world is used to feed farm animals, which are then used to feed people. If the plant foods were fed directly to people instead there would be less starving people in poor countries and less damage caused by animals to the environment. 
 
 
It’s healthier 
for people too. 
People get sick all the time, but vegetarians seem to be a lot healthier. One of the most common illnesses in the world is heart disease. It is caused when a substance called cholesterol clogs up the arteries and stops blood from flowing through. Cholesterol comes from animal foods (meat, eggs and milk) so if we don’t eat them we have less chance of having heart disease. 
Vegetarians also have less chance of being sick from cancer, food poisoning and many other illnesses. 
 
If you ask someone “who was the most intelligent person in the world?” most people will say “Albert Einstein”.  Guess What!!!  Albert Einstein was a vegetarian, so are many other famous people, including Michael Jackson, Dannii Minogue, Lisa Simpson and Dan Castanella (He’s the person that does the voice of Homer Simpson). 
 

The first actor to ever play Tarzan was called Johnny Weissmuller. He was a very strong person and an Olympic swimmer.  He was vegetarian too. 

    It’s still important to eat healthily. Even though many biscuits and soft drinks are vegetarian that doesn’t mean that you should live on these types of foods. It’s very important to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, legumes and fortified soy milk (that is with added B12 and calcium) every day. 

 
Here are some favourites to try: 
Toasted tomato and avocado sandwich 
Banana soy milk smoothies 
Veggie burgers 
Baked beans on toast 
Cold soy yoghurt poured over fruit salad 
Nuts, dried fruits and banana chips. 
Vegetarianism always creates lots of questions. Here are some of the more common ones.
 
Do I have to eat meat to get protein? 
No.  You can get protein from lots of other foods such as nuts, baked beans and tofu.  Actually, most foods contain protein. 

What would happen to all the animals if everyone stopped eating meat? 
Although it would be nice thing to happen, not everyone would become vegetarian at the same time.  As less people eat meat, farmers will breed less animals, so the amount of cruelty would stop gradually. 

Is it cruel to eat vegetables too? 
The main difference between plants and animals is that animals have a brain and a nervous system and plants do not.  If an animal feels pain he can react  to save himself (such as by running away). This is an example of the nervous system telling the brain to do something to avoid danger.  Plants are not able to run away from danger and so it is not worth them having a brain and nervous system and so they do not feel pain.