9 Reasons Your Labor Day Barbecue Should Be Vegan

Labor Day is this weekend and it’s the official end of the summer season, the time of year we enjoy the last of the longer days, the warm weather, and grilling up our favorite foods outdoors. But before you rush off to buy those burgers and hot dogs, read these nine 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 days of vomiting and diarrhea.

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 has 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 sources.

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 dozens of different 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.

8. The Meat Industry Exploits Workers

Labor Day is when we honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to our society. But sadly, the meat industry doesn’t care about workers, their contributions, or their well-being.

From slave labor to sexual abuse, workers at modern farms are horribly exploited and abused. These workers are subjected to countless workplace hazards, including injuries, respiratory illness, PTSD, and exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

9. Vegan Food Is Better Anyway

Once you go vegan, an entire new world of culinary delights opens up! From delicious grill-worthy vegan mock meats to flavorful side dishes like grilled veggies and baked beans, having a vegan barbecue is easier than you think.

Don’t believe us? Check out these easy-to-make vegan black bean sliders!

End your summer with compassion and love. Leave all animal products off your plate this Labor Day weekend and enjoy a delicious, nutritious, and compassionate vegan meal!