According to a 2011 Harris poll, 5% of Americans are vegetarian, and half of those are vegan. 16% of Americans eat vegetarian “more than half the time.”

Between 2000 and 2010, US beef consumption dropped by 59 pounds per person, pork consumption by 47 pounds per person.

States with the most vegetarian eateries per capita are Oregon, Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, and New York, but if the Washington, DC, were a state, it would beat out Oregon for the top spot.

450 tons of manure are produced annually by animals on US factory farms – approximately 100 times the amount of sewage sludge processed by municipal wastewater plants.

Nearly half the water used in the US goes to raising animals for food. It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce a 16-ounce steak, and only 25 gallons to produce a pound of v

American farmers administer 29 million pounds of antibiotics to their livestock each year. That’s eight times the amount of antibiotics taken by humans.

A 2009 Oxford University study showed that vegetarians and vegans had body weights 3-20% below those of meat-eaters.

39.7% of meat-eaters and 37.6% of “semi-vegetarians” develop “metabolic syndrome,” a group of risk factors that can precipitate both diabetes and heart disease. The rate for vegetarians is 25.2%.

81 million Americans live with cardiovascular disease. A 2009 article in The American Journal of Cardiology included this startling statement: “Only pure vegetarians, for practical purposes, do not need statins. Most of the rest of us do!”

Noteworthy historical vegetarians include literary figures Louisa May Alcott, William Blake, Charlotte Bronte, John Milton, George Barnard Shaw, Mary and Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth; humanitarians and reformers Clara Barton, General William Booth, Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Albert Schweitzer; and scientists and inventors Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Sir Isaac Newton.

Famous vegans of the present day include Pamela Anderson, Russell Brand, President Bill Clinton, James Cromwell, Ellen Degeneres, Portia de Rossi, Robin Givens, Woody Harrselson, Chrisse Hynde, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Toby Maguire, Stella McCartney, Alanis Morissette, Alicia Silverstone, Mike Tyson, and Jane Velez-Mitchell; recent converts Ted Danson, Larry Hagman, and Ozzie Osbourne; as well as Moby and Russell Simmons who have endorsed Main Street Vegan.

Vegans who decry the you-can’t-be-big-and-strong myth: triathlete Brendan Brazier, Andreas Cahling (champion bodybuilder and Olympic gold medalist in the ski jump), mixed martial artist Mac Danzig, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, Andrew Lalley (NASCAR), George Laraque (NHL), tennis great Martina Navratilova, John Salley and Salim Stoudamire (NBA), Art Stills, Desmond Howard, and Ricky Williams (NFL), and even US number 1-ranked arm wrestler, Rob Bigwood.


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