Humans are not carnivores, and we’re not at the top of the food chain, as many people like to say. Instead, we’re closer to being herbivores.

For the first time ever, researchers measured the trophic level of human beings, which tells us where species fit on the food chain, and found that we fall in the middle (we’re omnivores). However, meat-eating is on the rise globally — something that isn’t good for people’s health, animals, or the environment.

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The extensive study, as reported by Nature and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined what people eat and trends in different countries.

“We are closer to herbivore than carnivore,” said Sylvain Bonhommeau, the leader of the study. “It changes the preconception of being top predator.”

The researchers also discovered that although meat eating has been down in the United States and some other countries for several years, the fast-growing economies of China and India are driving a global increase in eating animals and animal products.

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Some might say this carnivorous trend is good, but how is that? Eating more meat causes diseases and other health problems for humans, kills and treats animals without respect, and it harms the earth at dangerous levels.

What are the effects of our increasing consumption of meat …  

… on animals?

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Eating animals kills them but also hurts them in other ways — ways they certainly do not deserve.

… for our health?

Meat consumption has been linked to many diseases, and many people have improved their healths by reducing or eliminating meat from their diets.

  • Meat is killing us. Here’s an infographic that summarizes news and studies pointing to the harmful effects of eating meat.

… for the environment?

The environmental impact, including carbon emissions, water use and more, of producing meat is much higher than the impact of producing vegetable foods.

So if we want to save ourselves, the planet, and animals, we need to reverse the trend of increased meat consumption and choose plant-based foods.

Before we leave you, here’s one more enlightened reading suggestion to check out: “Why Eating Animals Is A Social Justice Issue.”

 Image Source: Zhang!/Flickr