This has not been a banner year for the meat industry. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed once again that meat consumption raises the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan warned that routine use of antibiotics to promote animal growth on factory farms is causing "the end of modern medicine."

No wonder U.S. per capita meat consumption has been dropping by nearly 4 percent annually. October offers several excellent opportunities for dropping animal products from our diet.

It kicks off with World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animals Day on the first and second days of the month, respectively, and continues with World Food Day on Oct. 16 and Food Day on Oct. 24.

To make the transition to meatless, enter the term "live vegan" in any search engine for tips on how to start.

Bill Canterbury, Baltimore