Why Meatless?

David Alexander, TVA Executive DirectorMeatless Mondays is a growing, international movement of individuals, environmental, health and animal welfare associations, businesses and even governments with a shared goal of reducing global meat consumption.

Joining Meatless Mondays is a fun and easy way for people to reduce the negative environmental impact of animal production, improve their health and reduce the suffering of farm animals. Anyone can participate and even one-day a week can make a huge difference.

Join today to connect with exciting recipes and healthy cooking ideas from the experts at the Toronto Vegetarian Association and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in your neighbourhood.

David Alexander, Executive Director
Toronto Vegetarian Association

Choose Meatless Mondays

  1. Reduce your eco-footprint
  2. Protect your health
  3. Cutback on cruelty

Reduce your eco-footprint

Cutting out meat and other animal products is the most powerful way for each of us to fight climate change and reduce our ecological footprint.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls the meat industry “one of the most significant contributors to the world’s environmental problems,” including acid rain, deforestation, water and land pollution. According to the FAO, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global climate change, more than all forms of transportation.

In 2000 alone, 40 billion chickens – more than six times the human population – were transported using massive amounts of fuel and generating tonnes of pollutants in the process. Going vegetarian would eliminate 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalent gas emissions per person, per year — an even bigger difference than switching from a SUV to a hybrid.

In Canada, it takes seven times more land to feed a non-vegetarian than a vegetarian. With one-third of the world’s cereal harvest and 90 percent of the world’s soy harvest being raised for animal feed, the energy required to grow those crops is a major factor in toxic gas emissions. In the United States and Canada, half of all synthetic fertilizer is used for feed crops.

Protect your health

Meatfree meals are nutritionally sound and provide proven health benefits that can help to prevent and manage a number of chronic diseases and conditions.

Currently in Canada rates of type-2 diabetes and levels of overweight and obesity are epidemic in scope. About 1.8 million Canadians aged 12 and over, or 5.5% of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes (and 90% is type-2 diabetes). Almost 60% of adults ages 18 and over, or 14.1 million Canadians, are overweight or obese (26% of Canadian children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 are overweight or obese).

Numerous studies and experts agree that healthy vegetarian diets, coupled with regular physical activity, can help to prevent and manage chronic diseases and conditions, such as type-2 diabetes and obesity.

Old ways of thinking on vegetarianism have shifted in the last decades as experts in health and nutrition such as the The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dietitians of Canada, and American Dietetics Association support and outline the benefits of vegetarian diets.

Cutback on cruelty

By boycotting cruelty, each of us can help to reduce animal suffering.

Throughout history, many people have chosen to expand their circle of compassion to encompass domestic animals like dogs, cows, cats and pigs. Farm animals such as pigs, cows and chickens lead complex emotional lives and experience feelings of love and loss, joy and sadness.

Unfortunately legislation designed to protect animals is often powerless to monitor and protect animals on the scale needed to produce the large volume of cheap meat required by our North American food systems can lead to cruelty. Too often, the animals we eat – especially those in factory farm conditions – are subjected to cramped, close confinement and cruel conditions. Incorporating more vegetarian meals into our diets means that fewer animals will experience suffering.