Whoopi Goldberg recently said, “I like bacon. I want bacon. No one should tell me that I can’t have something. I want choice over my body.” It’s sadly ironic that Goldberg, who has supported various social justice causes, doesn’t recognize the harms of animal agriculture.
People who eat animals often say that it’s nobody’s business what they eat. That’s an understandable posture for people who are only thinking about their health. But what you eat is everyone’s business. That may sound counterintuitive–even ridiculous, but only if you don’t think critically about it. If you’re eating animals or their byproducts, you’re harming the planet, killing animals, and driving up our healthcare costs. Thus, what you eat is everyone’s business because it affects everyone who cares about the planet, animals, and healthcare costs.
Animal agriculture harms the planet. Cattle farmers caused the fires in the Amazon rainforest and cause deforestation throughout the world. They burn land to plant crops to feed animals to kill animals to feed people–a woefully insufficient food system that wreaks havoc on land, air, water, and wildlife. The animal agriculture industry is notorious for polluting–one major animal agriculture company has 23 felony convictions for violating federal clean water laws. Animal agriculture also releases a massive amount of methane and nitrous oxide, which contributes to climate change and increases the ferocity of floods and hurricanes that damage our communities. Commercial fishing devastates coral reefs and marine ecosystems and creates deserts in the ocean. It also cripples eco-tourism. What you eat affects everyone when your choices are steamrolling the planet.
Many people care about every animal on earth–not just dolphins, gorillas, elephants, pandas, dogs, and cats. When you eat a turkey, pig, chicken, or cow, it causes people grief in the same way it would cause you grief if someone ate your dog or cat. Many people don’t need to know an animal to care about them the same way they don’t need to know people to care about them. You may not care that when you eat an animal, it ends a life and affects people, but that doesn’t change the fact that it affects the animal and people. What you eat affects animals and everyone who cares about animals when you eat animals.
Healthcare costs are financially crippling for millions of people. The U.S. has the highest healthcare costs in the world. The more healthcare companies have to reimburse doctors, the higher our copays, premiums, and out-of-pocket expenses. Eating plant-based food improves people’s health. That’s why Keiser-Permanente advises doctors in their network to recommend a plant-based lifestyle to their millions of patients. If more people ate plant-based food, fewer people would be sick, and healthcare costs would be lower. What you eat affects everyone because healthcare costs would be lower if you eat plant-based food.
Hopefully, now that you realize that your eating choices impact the planet, animals, and people, you’ll make the compassionate choice to eat plant-based food. What you eat is everyone’s business if you’re eating animals because it affects everyone. I used to eat animals too until I realized it’s unnecessary, destructive, unhealthy, and misaligned with my values.
John Robbins said it best: “Your life does matter. It always matters whether you reach out in friendship or lash out in anger. It always matters whether you live with compassion and awareness or whether you succumb to distractions and trivia. It always matters how you treat other people, how you treat animals, and how you treat yourself. It always matters what you do. It always matters what you say. And it always matters what you eat.”
P.S. Whoopi, here’s a plant-based bacon you may enjoy!\