Successful wildlife conservation depends on a transition to a plant-based diet. The devastating apocalypse now for birds, fish, and mammals threatened by the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher captures the world's conscience and desire to rescue animals in peril. Yet even larger numbers of wild animals die each year in a hidden apocalypse rooted in the meat, seafood, and dairy industries.
The tragedy of animals coated in oil ignites the natural empathy people have for other creatures. A Best Friends Animal Society survey of 1,000 adults found that 96% agreed animals should never be abused and 86% said people have a moral obligation to protect animals.
The media calls the effect of the Gulf oil gusher a "wildlife apocalypse." The grim images of oil-soaked seabirds and fears for the survival of dolphins, whales, turtles, and fish are spurring massive public anguish and outcry. The number of animals that will succumb to the spill is not yet known, and likely never will be.
Raising domestic animals for food routinely wipes out massive numbers of wild animals each year. This apocalypse rolls on out of the public eye. As with the Gulf oil catastrophe, the number of dead remains unknown. Realizing the true cost, in terms of both individuals and species, of meals based on animal foods will be a call-to-action for people who want to preserve threatened species. Here are just four examples of this secret wildlife apocalypse.