(UR) China — The Chinese government is attempting to sway the population away from meat consumption. In a recent change to the country’s dietary guidelines, a recommendation to reduce meat-eating by fifty percent was championed.

International celebrities like former California Governor and Hollywood action movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as director James Cameron, are helping to promote vegetarian and vegan lifestyles along with Chinese officials; but there are practical reasons to reduce or halt meat consumption that shouldn’t need a celebrity endorsement.

China will use a series of billboards and advertisements featuring famous faces to help promote a reduction in meat consumption, with an aim to reduce carbon emissions caused by animal agriculture by one billion tons by 2030. Many people are unaware, however, that greenhouse gas emissions are not the only problem caused by the world’s obsession with a good steak, or a breakfast with maple-glazed bacon.

Aside from the atrocious ways which animals are treated on factory farms, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly half of all the water consumed in the U.S., while, ironically, also spoiling our groundwater and other potable water supplies.

For the price of cheap meat, pigs live in the stench of their own feces, often packed so closely together they suffer broken legs. Young calves are taken from their mothers before they are even weaned from their milk. At factory hen plants, the excrement is piled so high, farm worker’s lungs burn, as if you asked them to inhale burning coals. The list of hellish conditions on these farms would surprise even the most avid meat eater.

Conversely, even reducing your meat consumption considerably, without giving it up altogether, can have profound impacts on your health. These benefits only grow exponentially the more plant-based your diet becomes. This is a hotly contested debate among those who promote paleo or other meat-based diets, but the environmental damage caused by raising animals for food are undeniable.

Chronic degenerative diseases — like obesity, which leads to heart conditions and type two diabetes — are remarkably lower in those who are vegetarian or vegan. Disease caused by an overly acidic body are also tremendously reduced by limiting or restricting the consumption of meat.

Here are seven additional benefits you can enjoy from going meat-free, or reducing your intake:

  1.   Reduced Inflammation: Research has linked saturated animal fats to higher levels of inflammation in the body as well as health challenges like Crohn’s disease and lucky gut syndrome.
  2.   Lowered Blood Cholesterol Levels: While there is new evidence that cholesterol has little effect on heart disease, those who eat less meat tend to have lowered blood cholesterol levels.
  3.   Significantly Decreased Chance of Developing type 2 Diabetes: Loma Linda University, California, researchers found that vegetarians are a third less likely to get heart disease, diabetes, or suffer a stroke than meat eaters.
  4.   Lower Risk for Metabolic Syndrome: A peer-reviewed study states that vegetarians have significantly lower metabolic risk factors.
  5.   Slimmer Body: Vegetarians are usually slimmer than their meat eating counterparts. In a world where obesity is a major health concern, the 30-pound difference in one study is significant.
  6.   Avoidance of toxic food contaminants like herbicides, pesticides, and growth hormones, along with antibiotics: These are used prevalently on factory farms.
  7.   Help Stop Deforestation: More than 70 percent of the Amazon Rainforest has been destroyed to provide land for cattle ranching.

If this is not enough to convince you, Cameron and Schwarzenegger have some words for you:

This article (China Is Now Urging People to Eat Less Meat. Here’s Why They’re Right) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Flickr/Gary Stevens