In the first post of this series, we talked about what veganism is about. If you missed it, we talked about how, while vegetarians avoid eating animals, vegans also avoid consuming dairy products, eggs and honey as well as using fur, leather, wool, down or products -as cosmetics or medicines- tested on animals. Now, we’re talking about the many great reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle and how with small actions you can make a great impact over the environment and the world. Everyone has their own motivations to go vegan, with all the health and eco-friendly benefits they carry, and considering a few or all of them can help you make decisions about how you want to take this ride.
The main reason for going vegan involves the animals. Even when there are a lot of products, foods and practices that don’t include killing them -like wool making, animal testing, filmmaking, circuses, etc.-, the levels of torture and cruelty they are exposed to make these are a good reason for wanting to avoid them. Farms are not pacific places where animals live in peace: with all the technological advances we have now, they have become mechanized factories where animals welfare means nothing compared to production rates. These animals are slaughtered as soon as they are not profitable anymore, surviving all types of cruelty and deprived of their most basic needs as living beings, and the first step for people who want to take a stand against animal cruelty and exploitation starts with avoiding animal products.
The production of meat and other animal products leaves an enormous carbon footprint on the planet on a daily basis, being one of the main causatives of the Greenhouse Effect. Feeding animals requires big amounts of water, land, fertilizers and other kind of resources that hurt the planet, cause deforestation and could be used on producing healthier and greener food. A lot of environmental issues have been linked to animal agriculture by the United Nations Food And Agriculture Organization, such as contamination of aquatic ecosystems, acid rain from ammonia emissions, depletion of aquifers for irrigation, pollution, erosion of farms lands and more, so veganism has become an easy, enjoyable and effective way of reducing the impact we have on our planet.
Colon and lung cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, obesity and hypertension are just a few of the conditions that have been linked to an animal-based diet. Vegan diets have been approved by several international organizations as a lifestyle suitable for every age and stage of life, following well-planned and healthy eating guidelines. Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about cooking and nutrition, cutting out processed food and saturated fats, limiting salt and getting a whole new culinary experience that can be fun and empowering without missing all the nutrients and benefits founded in animal-based products.
Land used to grow food for animals could be going directly to people, making it a more sustainable and caring way of feeding human families. While world population grows, meat production goes up, converting wildness in fields to raise animals that will be slaughtered in short time. Veganism is a way to fight hunger and stand against inefficient and inadequate food-systems that, rather than help poor people over the world, are taking away spaces to feed the richest.