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3 reasons why you should (NOT!) go vegan.

written by

Nathan Masser

posted on

April 27, 2024

A recent study by Vegetarian Times shows that 7.3 million people follow vegetarian diets in the U.S.A. alone, and the number is rising daily! 

It’s almost understandable why this trend is rising in a world full of fake news and food mislabeling. Recently, I did some research concerning these common misconceptions. Without further adieu, here are the top three reasons people go vegan (and the truth about these polarizing issues).

#1 Environmental Impact

Over 90% of all meat produced in America is raised in CAFOs. (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

What is a CAFO, you ask?

CAFO stands for Confined Animal Feed Operation and includes all farms that raise more than a set number of animals. For example, a CAFO of cattle is 1,000 animals, whereas a CAFO of chickens starts at 30,000. To learn more about CAFOs, click here.

Large amounts of carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere in a CAFO. Feed needs to be grown, processed, and trucked in. Then, after feeding, the manure must be trucked out and spread onto farmland. This large amount of trucking and processing makes many of these CAFOs detrimental to our environment. 

Arguably, the most significant environmental concern in our region (Mid-Atlantic) is the over-application of manure. If you drive through PA, NJ, MD, NY, or VA, you will see countless large poultry CAFOs. These farms generated millions of tons of manure, which was more than they could ever use to add fertility to the soils of their farms. This led to manure being over-applied, causing runoff and the pollution of streams and rivers. To help solve this problem in our community, the government (taxpayers) have financed a facility to dehydrate poultry manure to divert it away from the area.

What should you do?

Becoming vegan simply does not mean eliminating environmental issues. Each system of raising food has its own set of problems. Fruit and vegetable farming, processing, and trucking can be as bad as animal production. For example, most of the produce we eat on the East Coast must be shipped from California or other countries before it reaches our plate. 

Click here to watch John Dutton from the show Yellowstone simple explanation on the issues of veganism. 

Knowing where your food comes from is essential to combat these environmental issues. You can make a difference by sourcing your food from farmers who use green practices such as cover cropping and rotational grazing. 

Cover crops pull carbon from the atmosphere into our soils, helping to counteract animal carbon emissions. 

Rotational grazing leads to a healthy level of manure distribution throughout every acre without additional hauling.

Invest in a farm whose practices work with nature rather than against it and whose goal is to regenerate the environment rather than sustain it. 

#2 Animal Welfare

In large confinement operations, animals are contained by the thousands. Although farmers must follow USDA’s requirements for sq. ft./ animal, disease can spread quickly when many animals are confined to a small area.

Recently, the avian flu has been all over the news. This disease travels through wildlife and transmits to poultry through their saliva. It is a significant threat to poultry production in America. 

Poultry is often raised in a confined house in a controlled environment. This environment is created to help keep the birds from getting ill from rain or cold weather. While it does a very good job of keeping them safe from the elements, it also weakens their immune systems because they are never exposed to harsh climates. When events such as the avian flu happen, problems arise because the flocks are not suited to protect themselves from this illness.

We witnessed how this disease affected our local farms. A recent outbreak led to over 40,000 birds being killed due to their weak immune systems, which is a big problem for American farmers.

The final and most concerning animal welfare issue in the vegan community is the treatment of animals. 

Farmers often hire laborers to help with the day-to-day chores of farm life. These workers see so many animals daily that they can lose respect for the animals they care for. While every farm is not this way, we can not turn a blind eye to the fact that this mistreatment of animals does happen, and it is an issue that needs to be fixed.

What should you do?

This one is very straightforward. VISIT YOUR FARMER!! 

Find a farmer who is willing to show you around their farm. Don’t trust a label in the supermarket; find a farmer you can trust, and be sure to ask him/her about their practices. 

By visiting your farmer, you can know the food you put on your table was raised with respect and care.

#3 Health 

There’s no denying it: the cheapest meat you find on the supermarket shelf was likely raised using GMO feeds, antibiotics, and artificial growth hormones. These factors are beginning to appear as significant factors in the chronic disease epidemic our country is facing.

Eating fruits and vegetables has undeniable health benefits for our bodies and well-being. However, vegetable and fruit farmers often use chemicals to control their fields' pests, which leads to the same problems production animal farming brings.  



Another reason people are turning away from meat is for heart health, which is a legitimate concern with very fatty animals such as grain-fed beef. This fat contains cholesterol that is very high in saturated fat, causing many people with high cholesterol and heart issues to go vegan.

What should you do?

There’s no denying that a diverse diet is key to health. However, meat provides essential, natural nutrients not found in fruits, veggies, and nuts. 

So, where do you turn for healthier meat?

Stop going to the supermarket and head straight to your farmer. Buy grass-fed or pasture-raised meats, which are leaner and have less saturated fat than their grain-fed counterparts. 

Grass-fed beef is becoming increasingly popular because of its higher concentration of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). This acid helps to aid in weight loss and lower cholesterol. You can learn more about the fantastic benefits of CLA by clicking here.

    Why grass-fed or pasture-raised? 

    The microbes in a ruminant animal's (AKA Cow’s) gut make CLA. There is a higher microbe count in grass-fed beef because the plants they eat are alive and full of bugs! Recent studies have shown a 300%—500% increase in CLAs in grass-fed beef, making it a much better alternative to manufactured supplements, often made from seed oils like safflower and corn.



    Knowing all of the facts is essential before you go vegan. Don’t let yourself be misled by flashy marketing campaigns or cool packaging in the supermarket trying to persuade you to buy their food. Purchase your food from farms that you can visit. Talk to your farmer and ask him/her questions about how your food is raised, and make sure they know WHY they follow the practices they follow. 

    It is now more important than ever to have food you can trust. Click the link below and contact us to schedule a farm visit today!

    Talk to a farmer you can trust today!

    Red Hill Harvest

    Phone:(570) 900-1566

    Email: info@redhillharvest.com

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