Ingredients sourced from animals are present in the majority of value-added food items in today's food markets. Reading labels will astound and educate anybody willing to turn the packet around.
The proportion of animal-based foods in todays general diet is very much higher than, say, a hundred years ago. So is the incidence of so-called degenerative diseases like heart diseases, cancers, diabetes etc. Research into historical general eating habits shows that populations consuming mainly plant-based foods encounter only a fraction of those diseases, especially heart disease, the number one killer in 'affluent' societies like the States, Europe etc. and now China as the country becomes richer and people turn to "luxury" foods which are more meat and other animal based products.
Think about it. There is probably little wrong in consuming s*o*m*e* meat or fish or egg or milk.... Consider though that the evidence points very strongly toward a definite connection between high animal-based food consumption and a high incidence of degenerative diseases.
Re: global warming - quite a lot of research is being done about how to lower the greenhouse gas emissions from cows. As the population of cattle grows around the planet so does the amount of cow farts. This is happening to the extent that it is considered important enough to be addressed with industry sponsored R&D!
It is clear today that the largest proportion of crops grown on the planet today are consumed by lifestock. Although saying that eating soy beans causes deforestation may be somewhat valid commentary, it might just be contextually necessary to consider who is actually eating the soybeans in question (hint: soy protein is a widle used animal feed).
Generally speaking, having strong opinions may or may not be a good thing. It may be far more useful to observe and consider how agriculture has morphed from "culture" to "industry" fuelled by financial mechanisms like subsidies designed to shift the market from high plant-based foods to high (animal) protein foods.
It may also be useful to consider that hand-in-hand with the shift to high animal-based food consumption a disproportionate rise in degenerative health issues is recorded, both in terms of people's health and planetary health.
in December 2008