As America goes to war, I am acutely aware of the violence we perpetrate against our bodies, against the animals and against our planet every time we sit down to a steak dinner.
Each year, 1.4 million Americans die of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases associated with consumption of meat and other animal products. Ten billion animals are abused and slaughtered in America's factory farms and slaughter houses. Liquid waste from these factories and feed croplands poisons our waters and fouls the air.
Every time we shop at a super market or sit down to a meal, we can refuse to subsidize this violence. This month, caring Americans like me are holding educational events in more than a thousand communities in all 50 states and 20 other countries. We ask our friends and neighbors to "kick the meat habit" on March 20 (the first day of spring) and to explore a nonviolent, wholesome diet of vegetables, fruits and grains. The occasion is the 19th annual observance of the "Great American Meatout" the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign.
I ask you, my fellow readers of this paper, to join me in this cause. Additional information is available at www.meatout.org or by calling 800-MEATOUT.