Memorial Day is this weekend and it’s the official kickoff of the summer season, the time of year we enjoy beautiful weather outdoors and grill up our favorite foods. But before you rush off to buy those burgers, read these seven facts about grilling meat.
1. Meat Can Make You Sick
While you can be stricken with foodborne illness any time of year, your risk peaks in the summertime. The USDA reports that hot weather and grilling are the culprits. Meats prepared on grills at barbecues can easily be undercooked. Summer heat also creates a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Nothing can ruin summer fun like salmonella.
2. It Raises Disease Risk
Countless studies have linked meat consumption to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, various cancers, and more. In fact, the World Health Organization placed processed meats in the same carcinogenic category as asbestos and smoking cigarettes. And to make matters worse, grilling meat in particular has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Bottom line: Meat isn’t good for you.
3. It’s Killing Our Planet
Love to enjoy nature during the warmer months? Well, by consuming meat you’re actually destroying the great outdoors. Yes, you read that right. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprits.
What’s more, simply by avoiding animal products, you cut your carbon footprint in half. Keep in mind that a pound of beef requires 13 percent more fossil fuel and 15 times more water to produce than a pound of soy. Protect the planet—don’t eat meat.
4. Hot Dogs Are Nasty
Hot dogs are mainly made of animal “trimmings. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that trimmings consist of “lower-grade meat or animal parts, such as fatty tissue, blood, liver, skin, head meat, feet, and “other edible slaughter by-products. Still not grossed out? Just read this.
5. Burgers Aren’t Any Better
The Washington Post reports: “Meat patties aren’t just made from the muscle tissue of a single animal, but from the fibers of as many as a hundred cows, or even more. We mix different kinds of cow tissue like one combines colors on a palette, potentially putting animals that once grazed next to each other into tightly packed beef discs. Yes, this means that one burger could contain meat from over 100 cows!
6. No Federal Laws Protect Farmed Animals for Most of Their Lives
Sadly, not a single federal law protects animals during their lives at factory farms. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act pertains only to the slaughterhouse. What’s more, the HMSA doesn’t include birds, leaving them with virtually no protection from abuse.
7. Meat Comes From Suffering Animals
Arguably the most repulsive thing about grilling meat is the incredible animal cruelty in every bite. Extreme confinement; mutilations without painkillers; and bloody, violent slaughter are all the norm at factory farms.
Start your summer with compassion and love. Leave all animal products off your plate and enjoy a delicious, nutritious, and compassionate vegan meal!
Click here for eight drool-worthy vegan grill recipes.
Click here for a list of the most grill-worthy vegan meats on the market.