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We millennials are often described as lazy, entitled and unwilling to leave our parents’ homes. But this isn’t the truth, nor is it what I’m here to discuss. We need to talk about what we’re eating and how it affects the world, our health and the countless animals at factory farms.

We’re not only the world’s largest generation; we’re the largest generation of self-identified vegetarians and vegans. Concerned about health, the environment and animal welfare, nearly 12 percent of us avoid animal products.

While it’s great that so many of us care, it’s important that we all understand the negative impact that eating meat, dairy and eggs has on the world.

Let’s start with the environment. It’s clear that killing animals for food is killing our planet. Consider this: Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined. Simply by avoiding animal products, we can cut our carbon footprints in half.

Animal agriculture isn’t only a leading cause of climate change; it’s also a leading source of water pollution. And it’s a huge drain on natural resources—for example, a pound of beef requires 13 percent more fossil fuel and 15 times more water to produce than a pound of soy. If you say you care about the environment, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and eat a plant-based diet.

Millennials are the age group most likely to be uninsured, so it’s important we discuss the negative health effects of consuming animal products. Study after study has shown that one of the best ways to improve your health is to adopt a vegan diet. In fact, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that compared to shorter-term vegetarians, people on a vegetarian diet for more than 17 years enjoyed a 3.6-year increase in life expectancy. Just think about all you could do with that extra time.

But surely the most important reason we millennials need to start caring about what we eat is because it directly affects the lives of billions of farmed animals. Cows, pigs and chickens raised and killed for food are just as smart and sensitive as the dogs and cats we adore at home. But at factory farms, they’re subjected to extreme confinement, brutal mutilations and bloody, violent deaths.

See for yourself:

Fortunately, we have the power to stop this. We can help the planet, animals and ourselves simply by adopting a vegan diet. And I know what you’re thinking—yes, you can still enjoy brunch.

So what do you say, fellow millennials? Let’s be the generation that puts an end to this cruel and unnecessary industry and makes the world a kinder place for all.

This article was originally published at AlterNet.
By Joe Loria, communications and content manager at Mercy For Animals
Read the original article.

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