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Are Vegetarians Smarter? They're Better for the Environment

A British study shows that intelligent children may be more likely to be vegetarians as adults. Since cows, pigs, sheep and poultry are among the world's greatest environmental threats, it's the earth-saving way to eat.

The researchers found over 8,000 30-year-old men and women who had high scores on I.Q. tests at the age of 10. Twenty years later, almost 400 of them were vegetarians, thus higher IQ at the age of 10 years was associated with an increased likelihood of being vegetarian at the age of 30. Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher occupational social class and to have higher academic or vocational qualifications than non-vegetarians, although these differences were not reflected in their annual income, which was similar to that of non-vegetarians.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), raising animals for humans to eat is degrading the land, increasing global warming, polluting water, and destroying biodiversity. In New Scientist, Catherine Brahic writes livestock farming is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale." Since the demand for meat will more than double by 2050, the environmental impact of raising meat needs to be cut in half to protect the environment.

The livestock industry causes 18% of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the word, which is more than automobiles, which is are responsible for a little over 13%. These greenhouse emissions are generated by fertilizer, as well as by the livestock themselves. Grazing herds lead to deforestation, since livestock now occupy 26% of earth's ice-free land. Growing their feed takes up one-third of the world?s farmland. There is also a major pollution problem from manure.

This includes emissions generated by fertilizer and feed production, deforestation to open up pastures, manure management, and emissions from the livestock themselves and from transporting them and their feed. Livestock occupy 26% of Earth's ice-free land. Their pastures account for 70% of deforested areas in the Amazon, and their feed occupies one-third of global cropland.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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