“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.”
We consider ourselves a nation of animal lovers, they are our friends, companions and even members of our families. However, as a nation we also slaughter one billion land animals every year for no necessary reason alongside billions of marine animals.
We are born into societies and cultures that condition us from birth into believing that animal products are normal, natural and necessary. Our societies dictate many philosophies and ideologies that we carry with us through life and in the case of animals, we are told to love some - and eat others. We have normalised behaviour that we would normally consider to be horrific, using excuses and ingrained justifications to hide behind the reality of our immoral actions.
We are indoctrinated with advertising and marketing, further reinforcing the idea of separation and segregation between species, with decades of devaluing and reducing the lives of farm animals to nothing more than commodities for human disposal. In many respects we are vulnerable to the power society holds over us, but at what point do we choose to look past what we are told and seek the truth?
Animals suffer, just like us. They feel a vast spectrum of emotions including love, joy, grief, fear and pain. The fact that animals experience pain means that they have a innate preference to avoid it. Therefore it is our moral obligation to protect them from unnecessary suffering - however we have normalised exploiting them in the trillions, profiting from their gentleness and their innocence.
The suffering that occurs in order to produce animal products is immense - and it is all unnecessary. The consumption of animal products has no necessity in the human diet and is in fact massively detrimental to our health and life longevity. Moving from an animal-based diet to a vegan diet is directly opposing animal cruelty and oppression. Every purchase we make is a vote for the type of world that we want to live in, therefore when we buy animal products, or products tested on them - we are saying that we are comfortable living in a world that inflicts violence upon animals. However when we choose the vegan option, we are stating that we oppose animal cruelty and wish to live in a compassionate, non-violent world.
Livestock currently covers 45% of the total land on earth, with this in mind it is not surprising that animal agriculture is the leading cause of the destruction of the planet. Raising animals for meat, dairy and eggs requires a huge amount of energy, in fact more greenhouse gas emissions are produced from just animal agriculture than all of the transportation industry combined.
Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is also responsible for causing the largest mass species extinction of the past 65 million years (which we are currently in) - and by the year 2048 we could see fishless oceans. Although eating meat, dairy and eggs is deemed an acceptable choice by society’s standards, by doing so we are paying for the leading cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction and greenhouse gas emissions.
Due to all of these contributing factors we are fast approaching a vast shift in our planet’s climate, something that will impact every living being on earth. It doesn’t have to be this way, one person CAN make a difference. 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 and 20 lbs CO2 equivalent.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding the necessity of animal products for a healthy diet, many coming from animal agriculture propaganda. But do we really need animal products to be healthy, or do they inhibit a healthy body and mind?
One of the biggest health concerns of consuming animal products is the extensively documented associations that they have with a myriad of unnecessary and preventable diseases including heart disease, cancer, strokes, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, high cholesterol, autoimmune disease and osteoporosis. In fact consuming animal products has been linked to 15 of the top 16 killers of people in the west, however by consuming a plant-based diet not only are you able to prevent these diseases but in many cases reverse them as well.
Although the meat, dairy and egg industries tell us that animal products contain essential nutrients that we cannot find elsewhere, this simply isn't true as every nutrient that the human body needs to survive and thrive, can be found in abundance in the plant kingdom.