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Famous vegetarians include Paul McCartney, Sarah Conner, James Cromwell, Pierce Brosnan, Jackie Chan, Jane Goodall, Gandhi and many more.
The reasons are varied although most proclaim to have become vegetarian because of:
Health concerns - A healthy vegetarian diet can decrease the risk and symptoms of many chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Food safety concerns - About 5,000 Americans alone die of food-borne diseases each year. There have been many large-scale recalls of meat contaminated with e-coli in various countries and many local incidents where restaurant patrons were sickened by improperly cooked meat and eggs.
Environment: Vegetarian (and especially a vegan) diets protects the environment in many ways. Excessive amounts of water are used in raising beef and other livestock, water that could be used for other purposes. Furthermore, cattle that are raised for consumption produce large amounts of methane, and methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Meat diets also indirectly contribute to deforestation: land clearing for raising cattle or growing grain for livestock. People feel good being vegetarian especially knowing how it benefits the environment.
Religious reasons also play a big role for many people.