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Barbecues are a quintessential staple to summertime. Who doesn’t love gathering around the grill with friends and enjoying the warm air and sunshine? From the outside, a summer barbecue seems virtually harmless, but upon closer inspection, you may find there is extinction lingering in your midst.

“Extinction?” You might ask, “but all I have on the grill are burgers and hotdogs! Cows aren’t in danger of extinction…”

You would be correct in the point that cows are in no danger of becoming extinct anytime soon, but what you have overlooked is how beef, chicken, and pork contributes to the extinction of other species, such as the polar bear, elephant, and orangutan (to name a few). We have said it many times before, and likely will continue to repeat this point many more: all our actions have consequences. With this, taking a step back and looking at how the processes that brought you those burgers and dogs impact the world outside the safe scope of your backyard is pretty important.

Eating Cows Kills Other Species? Huh?

By and large, animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation. From deforestation to clear lands for cattle grazing, to the additional leveling of forests to grow animal feed, and the countless methane emissions associated with raising livestock, there is no question: factory farming is not a planet-friendly industry. It is also important to remember that 78 percent of beef, 99.9 percent of chicken, and 95 percent of pork in the U.S. come from factory farms.

Habitat degradation coupled with rising global temperatures and climate change makes a rather deadly cocktail for the many species that call the Earth home. Having evolved over a span of millions of years to thrive in their native environments, species such as the sloth and polar bear, are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing environment…the question now is whether they will be able to keep up.

What’s on Your Grill?

While there are many other factors that can be identified as the cause of species extinction, environmental degradation is ranked pretty high. The good news is, you can easily help to lessen the environmental burden caused by animal agriculture by simply making one choice: which type of burger will you serve this holiday?  Meat or plant-based.

The Center for Biological Diversity has created an amazing infographic to show you all the awesome benefits you will find from making this decision. Of course, even if everyone in the U.S. decided to go meat-less for Labor Day, it wouldn’t instantly make our planet’s factory farm-related woes disappear, but it is a great place to start! Check out the Center for Biological Diversity campaign site for more information, here. For ideas on super yummy plant-based burgers, check out some mouth-watering OGP recipes, here.

The facts behind this graphic hold true every day of the year, so share this post and help others start to take extinction off their plates…we hear it has a yucky aftertaste anyway!

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