I can't resist plugging Vegetarian Awareness Month, an initiative of the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS). Non-vegetarians who pledge to go veg for a short duration can enter a random drawing for cash prizes. Vegetarian and vegan diets save animals' lives (over 50 animals a year per person on average), have proven health benefits, and help to preserve the earth. So while to me the #1 reason to adopt a meat-free diet is to not harm animals, these other important reasons also compel people to go vegetarian or vegan. You may have heard former President Bill Clinton talking about his adopting an almost vegan diet (still sometimes eating fish) in a successful effort to lose weight for his daughter Chelsea's recent wedding.
Indeed, vegetarianism continues to permeate our culture. Popular author and food activist Michael Pollan advises, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser narrated the recent documentary Food, Inc., examining factory farming and its harmful effects on both animals and the environment. Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer's first foray into nonfiction, Eating Animals, inspired Natalie Portman to go from "a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist."
Here are a few books I recommend on veganism and animal rights:
-Farm Sanctuary / Gene Baur
-The kind diet / Alicia Silverstone
-The pig who sang to the moon / Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
-Veganomicon : the ultimate vegan cookbook / Isa Chandra Moskowitz