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Apr 152009

By Laura Elizabeth May
Green Right Now

On Earth Day, Farm Sanctuary wants people to “eat green” as well. Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, encourages people to reduce or eliminate meat and other animal products from their diet by raising awareness about factory farming’s negative impact on the environment. The group believes that choosing a plant-based vegan diet is the most ecologically sustainable way for people to eat.

The group will be involved in nearly two dozen outreach and education events on Earth Day. At the different Earth Day festivals, volunteers will man tables and hand out leaflets documenting meat’s devastating impact on the environment. The group will also hand out literature promoting a healthy, sustainable vegan lifestyle.

“People need to know how their food choices impact the planet, so during Earth Day, Farm Sanctuary will be getting the word out, and promoting vegan lifestyles as a key part of the solution to our environmental crisis,” said Farm Sanctuary president and co-founder Gene Baur in a statement.

A 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report indicated that about 18% of total greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere are produced by modern animal agriculture. The report says the livestock sector is a major source of land and water degradation. The Farm Sanctuary says the animal agriculture industry consumes more than half the water and over one-third of the petroleum used in the United States.

The group also cites the large amount of pollution as another reason to start a vegan diet. According to EPA estimates, farm animal excrement has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.  Farm animals excrete half a billion tones of manure, which is three times the amount of waste produced by the entire human population according to Farm Sanctuary.

To find out more about their Earth Day events check out their website.

(Photo credit: Keith Weller USDA)

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