The True Price of a 99¢ Burger

Of course, you can grab a burger at most fast-food chains for a dollar or two. But that cheap meat comes at an extremely high cost for animals, the environment, and our own health:

• Animal Abuse

Unfortunately, not a single federal law protects animals during their lives at factory farms. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act pertains only to the slaughterhouse, providing zero protection to animals for most of their lives.

This means that cows at farms are subjected to excruciating mutilations without painkillers. Farmers burn or saw off the horns of cattle without anesthetics. This cruel practice, which often leads to infection, is 100 percent legal. Weak, lame, sick, and injured cows are often brutally beaten, electrically prodded, and even dragged before being slaughtered and processed into ground beef.

• Environmental Degradation

Most consumers focus on reducing their CO2 emissions. But methane and nitrous oxide, produced by cattle digestion and fertilization of soil, respectively, are much more powerful greenhouse gases. They easily make animal agriculture one of the leading causes of climate change.

Plus, the World Bank reports that most Amazon deforestation has been to clear land for grazing cattle and growing feed for farmed animals.

• Wasted Resources

It takes a staggering 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef and 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger. That’s enough water for two months’ worth of showers! In addition, each pound of beef takes 16 pounds of grain to produce. If that grain were given to people instead of cows, there’d be a whole lot more mouths we could feed.

• Dangerous Bacteria

At farms, antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. Bacteria can develop resistance to these antibiotics, making it virtually impossible to treat humans who become infected by these "superbugs."

What’s more, your burger (especially if it’s only $1) could be made with “pink slime.” This vomit-worthy product is created by treating beef scraps and cow connective tissue with ammonium hydroxide to kill off E. coli, salmonella, and other dangerous pathogens that may be present.

• Early Death

According to a report published in Men's Journal, a large-scale study of 73,000 Americans shows that eating a vegetarian diet promotes longevity. Study participants who followed a plant-based diet had an early mortality rate 20 percent lower than study participants who consumed meat! And this study is just one of the most recent in a long line of studies confirming the vast health benefits of a meat-free diet.

We can take a stand for animals and the environment by ditching beef and other animal products. Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.