Plant-Based Diet Can End Wildlife Apocalypse Now

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Successful wildlife conservation depends on a transition to a plant-based diet. The devastating apocalypse now for birds, fish, and mammals threatened by the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher captures the world’s conscience and desire to rescue animals in peril. Yet even larger numbers of wild animals die each year in a hidden apocalypse rooted in the meat, seafood, and dairy industries.

The Perfect Formula Diet shows how to eat green and sustainably by eating a plant-based diet

The apocalypse in the Gulf can serve as a wake-up call for compassionate people who care about threatened wildlife to make a real difference

The tragedy of animals coated in oil ignites the natural empathy people have for other creatures. A Best Friends Animal Society survey of 1,000 adults found that 96% agreed animals should never be abused and 86% said people have a moral obligation to protect animals.

The media calls the effect of the Gulf oil gusher a “wildlife apocalypse.” The grim images of oil-soaked seabirds and fears for the survival of dolphins, whales, turtles, and fish are spurring massive public anguish and outcry. The number of animal that will succumb to the spill is not yet known, and likely never will be.

Raising domestic animals for food routinely wipes out massive numbers of wild animals every year. This apocalypse rolls on out of the public eye. As with the Gulf oil catastrophe, the number of dead remains unknown. Realizing the true cost, in terms of both individuals and species, of meals based on animal foods will be a call-to-action for people who want to preserve threatened wildlife. Here are just four examples of this secret wildlife apocalypse.

Steller Sea Lions. These animals weigh up to a ton, the size of a small car. Understandably, Steller sea lions need massive amounts of food to survive and successfully reproduce.

However, industrial fishing is starving hundreds of thousands of these animals to death. Trawlers seeking fish to sell have removed billions of pounds of pollock and mackerel from areas that these sea lions must hunt to survive.

A staggering 90% of Steller sea lions have died in large parts of their home range. Although this animal was listed as a threatened species in 1990, humans continue to appropriate most of the seafood needed for population recovery.

Dolphins. The 2010 Oscar winner The Cove documents the slaughter of thousands of these highly intelligent, social marine mammals every year in Taiji, Japan. Fishermen round up and confine the helpless dolphins. At night they secretively slash their throats and stab them while the animals scream in fear and pain. Up to 20,000 other dolphins are killed with harpoons by fisherman in boats at sea.

While some dolphin meat is consumed, the primary motivation for the slaughter is seen as “pest control.” The fishermen, who do not want the dolphins eating fish that could be caught for human consumption, openly advocate exterminating these marine mammals.

Wild horses and prairie dogs. The food-driven apocalypse thrives on land as well as in the oceans. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a government agency responsible for enforcing a 1971 aimed at protecting wild horses.

Yet the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from their Western home ranges and forced wild horses off nearly 20 million acres they used to live on. Holding facilities corral, at taxpayer expense, 32,000 wild horses captured in helicopter round-ups.

The population of prairie dogs has been decimated by over 98%. These social creatures live in families and use a complex system of communications. This animal is integral to its ecosystem, providing both habitat and food to other animals.

Wild horses and prairie dogs are both under attack for competing with “grass-fed cattle” for food. While the meat industry cultivates a green, ecological image for grass-fed cattle, these animals displace other creatures and eat forage that would otherwise go for wild animals.

The grazing program costs taxpayers over $200 million annually for damage to public lands. The amount of vegetation necessary for one cow and her calf in a year would feed almost 7 bighorn sheep, 11 pronghorn, 8 deer, or 2 elk.

A plant-based, whole foods diet would end the unseen wildlife apocalypse encouraged by animal foods. Crops now used for livestock feed could be fed to malnourished people instead.

Protein is not an issue – only plants can make all essential amino acids. Animal protein is just recycled plant protein. The omega-3 fats in fish are easily replaced with ground flaxseed or marine algae oils. In fact, marine algae at the base of the marine food chain are the source of the fish omega-3s.

"The apocalypse in the Gulf can serve as a wake-up call for compassionate people who care about threatened wildlife to make a real difference," Janice Stanger, Ph.D. observes. Ten tips for beginning a plant-based, whole foods diet ease the transition to new eating choices that will also boost health and result in permanent, hunger-free weight loss.

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Janice Stanger, Ph.D.

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