“Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.” ~ Donald Watson
THE SPEECH THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
I highly recommend watching ‘Best Speech You Will Ever Hear’ by Gary Yourofsky. In this inspirational speech he uncovers the myths and lies that we have been sold by the meat and dairy industries, and how we can all make more ethical choices for our health, for the animals and for the planet. This mind-blowing speech changed my life – and it may change yours too!
FOR YOUR HEALTH
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein
Now more than ever, people are turning to a plant-based diet to improve their health, lose weight, increase their energy levels, and even overcome chronic disease. There are many health benefits from adopting a plant-based diet, and there is a vast amount of scientific evidence supporting that it is the healthiest, most natural diet for humans to consume. With an estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, related to diet, it’s no wonder that cultures who mainly consume a plant-based diet are the healthiest, slimmest, and longest living people on the planet. Consuming a plant-based diet reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. But where do you get your protein, iron, calcium, etc? Contrary to what you may have been told, plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. The sources of these nutrients are also low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants. An increasing number of health professionals are now acknowledging that animal products are not only unnecessary for optimal health, but are actually harmful to our health. I recommend checking out The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It is arguably the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition and provides compelling evidence that links the consumption of animal products to disease such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes etc.
I also recommend checking out the resources section of this website for more informative books, documentaries and websites.
FOR THE PEOPLE
“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable.” ~ Gary L. Francione
It is estimated that there are over 925 million people around the world who are suffering from the effects of hunger. That is enough hungry people to fill up almost two entire continents! Every year, over 2.5 million children under the age of five, die from starvation. Did you know that there is more than enough food on this planet to feed everyone? But if this is true, than why do so many people continue to starve? This has to do largely with the production of animal-based products such as meat and dairy. There is more than enough plant-based food on the planet to feed the entire world’s population, but unfortunately the majority of this food is fed to livestock. The amount of animal-based products that is produced is much less than the plant-based food that is put into it. For example, it can take anywhere from 13-20 pounds of grain fed to a cow just to produce 1 pound of muscle (beef). This diminished return on investment is what makes the animal farming industry so unsustainable. A 2013 study by scientists from the Institute on the Environment and the University of Minnesota found that if all food crops were fed to humans instead of livestock, the world’s food supply would increase by 70 percent. This would be enough food to feed an additional 4 billion people, which is more than enough to feed the 925 million who are suffering from hunger everyday! A plant-based diet is a far more sustainable way to feed the world’s growing population, and with rising global food and water insecurity, there has never been a better time to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
FOR THE ANIMALS
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, the whole world would be vegetarian.” ~ Paul McCartney
Some people will initially adopt a vegan lifestyle due to concerns around animal rights. Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment purposes. We can’t continue to ignore the horrors that are taking place in factory farms, slaughterhouses, fur farms, animal research labs, and entertainment venues (e.g. circuses). The majority of those who consume an animal-based diet want to believe that their meat, dairy and eggs are ethical, and that the animals lived full, happy lives roaming freely on a farm, and when it came to slaughter they experienced no pain or fear. Unfortunately this is not true. All living creatures (whether labelled ‘free range’ or ‘organic’) are sentient beings, and just like us they feel emotion and fear death. It doesn’t matter how they are treated while they are alive, when it comes it slaughter, they all experience the same fear. Over 70 billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption every year, and the majority are factory farmed. That’s over 100,000 animals killed every minute. These animals are crammed into cages where they can hardly move and can spend their entire lives in crates or stalls so small that they can’t even turn around. Feedlots are often crowded and filthy with open sewers and choking air. Conditions are so bad that the animals require huge amounts of antibiotics just to stay alive. Hormones and stimulants are also injected to make them grow bigger and faster, and many dairy farms use recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production (despite the fact that it has been shown to cause cancer and other disease). By adopting a plant-based diet we not only improve our own health, but we help also alleviate the needless suffering and deaths of countless animals.
If you want to learn more about animal rights and how we can reduce our impact on animal suffering, I highly recommend watching the award-winning documentary Earthlings. This powerful and informative documentary is considered the definite animal rights film by organisations around the world.
FOR THE PLANET
“Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.”
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all transportation combined! Based on this fact alone, it is highly hypocritical for anyone to call themselves an environmentalist if they consume a meat and dairy based diet. The most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to avoid a diet containing animal products. A plant-based diet only requires one third of the land needed to support the livestock required for a meat-based diet. In fact it takes about 18 times more land to produce a meat-based diet than it does a plant-based diet. This means that if everyone consumed a meat-based diet we would consume no less than three planets! Think that’s crazy? If everyone were to consume the amount of meat recommended on the ‘Paleo’ diet, or other high protein fad diet, it would cause such unimaginable destruction that we would consume no less than TEN PLANETS! The huge amount of grain feed that is required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and the extinction of several animal species. A plant-based diet on the other hand, requires much lower quantities of crops and water, making it one of the most effective ways of reducing our impact on the environment. Chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is also a huge environmental issue and one of the greatest threats to water quality today.
For more shocking facts I highly recommend visiting http://cowspiracy.com/facts
If you would like to learn more about these issues I highly recommended watching the documentary COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret (also available on Netflix).
It has never been easier to be vegan than it is now. These days it is easier than ever to find great tasting vegan foods, whether it be at the local supermarket, café or restaurant – most places are more than happy to cater for vegans, and some places will even provide a vegan menu. So rather than asking yourself why go vegan, maybe you should ask yourself why not?
“Go vegan. It’s better for your health (animal foods cause physical harm); it’s better for the environment (animal agriculture is an ecological disaster); and, most importantly, it’s the morally right thing to do.” ~ Gary L Francione