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Meatless Mondays Molly Chaffin Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to reduce meat consumption.

Central Idea: To persuade my audience to reduce their meat consumption because it is better for the body, the environment, and the treatment of animals. I. II. III. IV. V. Introduction How many people in this room enjoy a good steak or a BLT? Personally, I couldnt live without Chick-fil-A and fresh seafood is my absolute favorite. According to the journal of Public Health Nutrition, Americans consume about 10 billion animals per year. For a family of four, thats about 120 chickens, 4 pigs, and 1 cow. Per capita, meat consumption has more than doubled since the 1960s and is predicted to again double by 2050, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. However, what Americans dont know is the incredible toll our meat consumption has. Today, I will ask you to cut back on meat, even just one day per week, for the sake of farm animals, the environment, and your own health.

(Transition: As you all know, the meat industry all begins with the farming of livestock.) Body I. Americas meat industry is based on factory farming, where the focus is making the most product for the least cost. a. According to the World Farming Trust, animals are kept in an extremely small space in less than acceptable living conditions. b. Factory-farmed pigs are raised in concrete or slated pens, which frustrates their rooting instincts, causing them to become irritable and may lead to fighting or tail-biting. To prevent this, pigs go through a process of tail-docking or the removal of their teeth, usually without the expense of anesthesia. c. Cattle live knee-deep in their own waste, and are at times unable to move or walk. d. Transportation to the market can be a long journey in a tight space without food or water, and slaughtering such a vast number of livestock at a time can lead to sloppy practices. e. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the US department of Agriculture does not enforce the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act on birds, which says that farm animals must be insensible to pain before they're shackled and killed.

i. More than nine billion turkeys and chickens are killed for food each year. ii. These birds are hung upside-down, paralyzed by electric water, and have their throats slit by mechanical blades while they are still conscious. Also, millions of birds each year miss the blades and drown in tanks of scalding hot water. f. The only way to reduce factory farming and its practices is to reduce our meat consumption. It is the logic of supply and demand. If America begins to demand less meat, or buy free range or local meat products, factory farms must either reduce supply or go out of business. (Transition: Next, I would like to discuss with you the significant damage meat production does to our environment. II. Meat production uses more energy than most people are aware of. a. According to the World Farming Trust, a calorie of beef takes more water to produce than a calorie grain, while clean water is becoming a scarce resource in many countries. b. Livestock farms produce an estimated 13 billion tons of waste per year and account for 10% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions. c. Mark Bittman describes the energy cost of meat production in his book Food Matters. i. He states that it takes about 40 calories (or units of energy) of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef that we eat. This can be compared to the 2.2 calories of energy it takes to produce 1 calorie of corn. ii. Bittman compares this energy use to that of transportation, stating that the energy consumed to produce a typical steak dinner for a family of four is approximately equal to driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all of your lights on at home. iii. He goes on to say that if we each ate the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers per week, we would cancel out the effect of all of the SUVs in the country.

(Transition: Last, I would like to reveal the direct effect meat consumption has on you. III. Meat can be good for you in moderation, but Americans excessive meat consumption has a very negative effect on the body. a. According the International Journal of Obesity, meat consumption is linked to higher intake of total fat, saturated fats and total calories, decreased consumption of vegetables, and a higher risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.

b. A higher meat intake is also associated with a higher BMI and a larger waist circumference. c. Diet high in red meats also have shown evidence of an increased risk of certain cancers, while plant-based diets decrease the risk of certain cancers, as stated by the World Farming Trust. d. The journal of Public Health Nutrition states that vegetarians tend to have a lower BMI, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. i. Eating some meat however, can be good for you. ii. Meat does provide certain amino acids that no other type of food can, and meat is a good source of protein and iron. iii. However, it can only benefit your body if eaten in moderation, because animal products contribute 100% to ones cholesterol and are the major source of saturated fats in Americans diets. e. The American Heart Association recommends an upper limit of 138 pounds of lean meat per person each year (or about 5 oz per day). i. This figure is 80 lbs less than the current average US consumption, 222 lbs per year, as stated by the journal of Public Health Nutrition. (Transition: In conclusion, eating even one less meal of meat per week could help to counteract all of these harmful effects.) Conclusion I. Eating a meal without meat is actually much easier than it may seem. a. Personally, I practice Meatless Mondays, where I make a conscious decision to be a vegetarian one day per week. b. This could be as easy as cereal for breakfast, soup and salad for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner. c. It can be really fun to experiment with vegetarian recipes to find a meal you enjoy that does not have the negative effects of meat. If every student at UT ate one less serving of meat this week, think about the number of animals that would prevent from the abuses of factory farming. This would cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly and reduce the harmful effects on the environment. And last, if none of that matters to you, consider the direct effect that meat consumption has on your own body. Reducing your intake of meat could lower your risk for many diseases and improve your overall health. I hope you will consider practicing Meatless Mondays, and will remember the effects on livestock, the environment, and your health next time you bite into a juicy cheeseburger.


Works Cited Bittman, Mark. (2009). Food matters: A guide to conscious eating. New York City, NY: Simon & Schuster. Gold, Mark. (2004). The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat: a report for compassion in world farming trust. Retrieved from: fits_of_eating_less_meat.pdf. Shields, Sara & Raj, Mohan. An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Birds at Slaughter The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved from: Walker, P., Rhubart-Berg, P., McKenzie, S., Kelling, K. & Lawrence, R. S. (2005). Journal of Public Health Nutrition. Public health implications of meat production and consumption. Retrieved from: t_production_and_consumption.pdf. Wang, Y, and Beydoun, M A. (2009). International Journal of Obesity. Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults. Retrieved from: