Why Vegan? What a few changes will do for you!
Why vegan? Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing Earth today. Nobody is making you go vegan, and that isn’t the aim of this article. I hope to show people that they don’t need to consume the amount of meat or dairy that they are doing. Animals are not ours to eat. It is bad not only for your health but for the economy, the environment and your mental state. We can all make a difference by eating fewer animal products.
It has been proven that as a species, we eat far too much meat. We do not ask that you cut it out completely, but by cutting down and swapping your snacks and extras to plant-based options you will be doing your part for everyone. For a list of popular vegan foods click here. You’ll be surprised by a lot of them.
1. It’s good for you
Science is on our side! All major health organisations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the British Medical Association (BMA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) agree that a vegan diet reduces the risk of:
- heart disease – by having far lower cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- stroke – a vegan diet reverses Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) that leads to strokes + heart attacks.
- diabetes type 2 – vegans are 1/9 as likely to be obese and find it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
- some cancers – especially breast, prostate, colorectal. Vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer.
- rheumatoid arthritis
- kidney stones
It also reduces the chance of you contracting food poisoning to almost zero. And of course, you avoid all those chemicals and antibiotics that are pumped into animals.
2. It’s good for the animals
If you’re already a vegetarian you’ve undoubtedly helped reduce animal suffering, but the dairy industry is strongly linked to the meat industry. Also, egg-laying hens are killed at 18 months to two years for ‘low-grade’ meat. A vegan saves on average 198 animals a year, that is roughly 3x the amount of all the animals at San Diego zoo in their lifetime, who says one vegan can’t make a difference? Here are some more reasons:
- Cows must be repeatedly made pregnant for the production of milk, very painful, very stressful. They normally never get to meet their babies.
- Their babies are either killed at one or two days old or reared for veal, beef or milk, there is no freedom.
- A lot of animals die on their way to the slaughterhouse, usually from shock and fear.
- Cow’s sensitive horns are removed, usually without painkillers or anaesthetic. Imagine having your fingernails pulled off 10x over.
- Dairy cows are killed between four-five years because they are too worn out to produce enough milk for the industry’s demands. Naturally, they would live until at least 20.
- Each year some 150,000 dairy cows are still pregnant when killed in the UK.
- Goats kept for milk are also killed prematurely for goat meat – often by religious slaughter methods for an ethnic trade.
- Sheep – the males are slaughtered when very young and their bodies sold as lamb; the females are slaughtered when they become too weak to bear more lambs.
- Caged egg production: hens are imprisoned in cages, row upon row.
- Since only the females lay eggs, up to 40 million day-old male chicks are killed every year in the UK alone.
- Free range, barn eggs and other such welfare labels are no guarantee that eggs are cruelty-free – large scale commercial production can mean thousands of hens on the floor of a shed never finding their way outdoors.
- RSPCA’s Freedom Food symbol approves factory farms so is no guarantee that hens are genuinely free range.
- Whether battery, free range or organic, all laying hens are killed prematurely when they are too worn out to lay enough eggs for the industry. Their bodies are made into stock cubes, soups, baby food or pies.
- Eggs marked ‘free range’ and ‘Approved by the Soil Association’ does mean that animal welfare standards are higher than the norm (but the male chicks are still killed).Chickens (and ducks, geese etc)
3. It’s good for the environment
Cycling to work is good but a vegan diet is miles better
Meat and dairy produce more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transport put together. The billions of cows and other animals which humans breed for profit produce massive quantities of gas – farts and belches, in other words! This gas is actually nitrous oxide and methane, which contributes hugely to global warming.
- Forests across the world are destroyed to farm or grow feed for farmed animals and so are British woods and hedgerows. This is the number one cause of loss of wildlife species worldwide.
- Average of 1.5 acres of rainforest cleared every minute – over 110 species become extinct every day due to loss of habitat.
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.
- 600,000 balloons worth of greenhouse gases is released into the environment every year. If greenhouse gases were like helium, that’s enough balloons to lift a 1.5-tonne car.
- In addition, the soil is poisoned with chemicals to increase crop production that is destined for animal feed.
- Organic or not, animals poo and wee in mighty quantities. As a result, our waterways are polluted with livestock slurry.
- The waste from a farm of 2500 dairy cows is the equivalent to the waste from a city of 411,000 people.
- Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US alone.
- Over half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture.
- 6 months worth of shower water is saved for every 1 pound of beef NOT eaten. 1 pound of meat = 168 showers. 1 pound of wheat = 2 showers.
- USA water use: 5% domestic, 55% animal agriculture.
4. It’s good for the planet’s people.
- 800 million people (equivalent to everyone in Europe) are hungry and there’s no need! If everyone in the US went vegan we could feed each and every one of them.
- We could easily produce enough food to feed everyone if only we stopped feeding all the crops to the animals. 40% of the world’s grain is fed to livestock.
- Richer countries are eating more and more meat. This, plus recent crop failures, means that global food shortages are predicted to get even worse: more people will starve across the world.
- 100kg of plant protein only produces 9kg of beef protein or 31kg of milk protein. Doesn’t it make sense to just eat the plants?!
- We could produce far more plant foods to feed humans in the UK instead of using most of it to feed animals.
- 1.5 acres of land can grow 37,000 pounds of plant-based food or 375 pounds of meat. So why are people starving?
- 8 out of 10 starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals eaten by western countries.