Letter: Vegetarianism is best choice for the planet


To get past our personal and cultural bias and make informed decisions about what constitutes a healthy, morally sound, environmentally sustainable diet, we need clear truthful information. We need to know the climatic, ethical, ecologic and health impacts of our diet choices and what actionable recommendations we can trust to assure an equitable and healthy transition to a food system whose production, distribution and consumption will have the desired social, environmental and moral outcomes.

Food choices are plainly not morally neutral. In the U.S., according to the Department of Agriculture, in 2022, 9.5 billion chickens, 208 million turkeys, 125 million hogs, 34 million cattle, 2 million sheep and lambs, 26 million ducks and 369,200 calves were slaughtered for food. In the midst of an epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease, the consumption of meat should not be an unquestioned requirement. It needs to be carefully considered in a respectful and open dialogue.

Our fundamental need for food is a given. What foods we choose to eat, and how we gather and distribute those foods to satisfy the human energy demand and its impact on environmental sustainability, is the question. Compared to a meat-based diet, a vegan diet uses 54% less water, 75% less land and emits 75% less green house gas. Organic, plant-based, locally sourced foods meet all the fundamental requirements: non-polluting, healthy, morally sound and safe from supply chain disruptions.

Diverse cultural culinary traditions need not be compromised. Farmers and consumers are served without undesirable health outcomes or the unethical treatment of animals. Climate change and environmental degradation are mitigated. It seems like a simple choice to me.

Verrall Hoover