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Source: ISTOCK

How Plant-Based Diets Can Benefit the Earth

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If you've ever asked a vegan why they are vegan, you may be familiar with the three central reasons behind the lifestyle change for most people: the animals, personal health, and the Earth. As more and more information becomes available about the harsh reality of animal agriculture, it's pretty clear why an animal lover might choose to no longer consume animal products. And thanks to documentaries like Forks Over Knives and What the Health, people have become increasingly aware of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. But how exactly does forgoing animal products help the environment?

For some background, every year, between 56 and 70 billion land animals are raised for meat, eggs, and dairy, according to Animal Matters and Sentient Media. In the U.S., 99 percent of land animals raised for food come from factory farms. And those figures do not include fish, of which several trillion are killed for food each year, according to Fish Count.