Asking Bill Gates to Reconsider His Erroneous and Misleading Assumptions

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Bill Gates recently published a blog post titled “Is There Enough Meat for Everyone?” in which he shared how the world can meet its “need” for meat. The article made two glaring erroneous and misleading assumptions, so PETA founder and managing director Ingrid Newkirk dropped him a line asking him to reconsider his position:

Dear Mr. Gates:

I am writing on behalf of PETA UK – an affiliate of PETA US, which is the largest animal rights group in the world and has more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide – in response to your recent blog post, “Is There Enough Meat for Everyone?” to ask that you reconsider two erroneous and misleading assumptions.

First, the title and subsequent discussion incorrectly imply that meat is a dietary requirement. Eating meat is unnecessary for human health, and experts around the world agree that a plant-based diet is most beneficial to our health. Studies show that vegetarians have a lower risk than meat-eaters do of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and several types of cancer, including breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic, and kidney. Furthermore, intervention studies indicate that eliminating animal products from one’s diet in favor of plant-based foods can control and may even reverse certain diseases. So to suggest not only that meat is necessary but also that its increased consumption is a “good thing” is decidedly misleading.

Second, while the negative impacts of the meat and dairy industries on the environment are immense and cannot be overstated, your post suggests that environmental damage is the most notable consequence of meat production and consumption. Yet it is animals—living, breathing sentient beings—who suffer the most in a world where people eat meat, and cruelty to animals is the most significant issue related to meat consumption. The vast majority of animals raised for meat spend their lives on factory farms, where they are kept in crowded, filthy conditions, with hardly enough room to move and little if any access to sunlight or fresh air. Their miserable, unnatural lives are cut violently short when they are shipped to slaughterhouses like commodities, strung up by their legs, bled out, and scalded or skinned. Although the environment suffers at the hand of the meat and dairy industries, it is the animals who endure the worst punishment.

We greatly appreciate that you have invested in plant-based meat alternatives and hope you will reconsider your current position and the harm it may cause by encouraging the many people who respect your views to continue eating Earth- and animal-killing meat when they should be going vegan. Thank you.

Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk

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