Question: How does environmentalism play into the animal rights movement?
Ingrid Newkirk: At PETA we have a saying, and it’s “You can’t be a meat eating environmentalist.” You really cannot be. You may want to talk about the environment, but actually the United Nations has a study; The University of Chicago had a study recently that if you can switch to a hybrid car. You can change all your light bulbs in the house. But if you still eat a meat and dairy based diet, you’re doing more harm to the earth than any of those things.
Because if you switch to a vegetarian diet, you use about a tenth of the amount of water that’s used in animal farming. If you use animal based agriculture, it’s like cooking spaghetti and you cook 16 pounds of pasta and you throw 15 pounds of it out, because it’s such a wasteful way of making food. If you support animal based agriculture, you support not only an increase in the carbon gases – methane, carbon dioxide and so on – but also you contribute to the pollution of the water ways. And water is going to be a big battle of the future. So if we don’t preserve the _________ now, which are being drained for animal based agriculture, and we don’t keep the waterways clean, and they’re being polluted by chicken and hog farms in the __________, then we’re all in trouble. So if you want to look out for the earth, even if you can’t stand animals, then it’s good to switch to a vegan – or vegetarian at least – diet.
Recorded on: November 12, 2007