Good for animals
The vegan movement aims to build a world where animals are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Although animals are sentient beings capable of feeling emotion and pain, their needs are considered to be less important than ours in a society where animal exploitation is widely accepted.
Animals are killed for their fur, hunted for “sport” and experimented on in laboratories but, the farming industry is responsible for exploiting the largest number of animals. In the UK alone approximately one billion animals are killed for food each year. Worldwide the figure is more than a staggering 65 billion individuals, not including fish.
Animals raised for meat live short, brutal lives before facing the horror of slaughter. Dairy cows are kept continuously pregnant typically separated from their calves with 24 hours of birth, causing great distress to both mother and calf. Male calves are either shot at birth or raised for veal. Male chicks suffer a similar fate, being minced or gassed to death at birth and hens bred to produce eggs lead a life full of pain and suffering.
The only way to avoid contributing to this cruelty, and show compassion to animals, is to follow a vegan lifestyle
Good for the planet
Growing plants to feed to animals is a very inefficient way to produce food, wasting both food and water, and is a major contributor to climate change, the most serious threat we face.
Going vegan is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the planet, according to a research study from Oxford University. The study found that farmed animals take up over 80% of the world’s farmland but produce only 18% of calories consumed. We could feed everyone in the world on a vegan diet and reduce global farmland by more than 75%, an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined.
Animal agriculture is a leading cause of species extinction. An incredible 96% of all land mammals are now humans or the animals they farm. Eating animals also wastes large amounts of water. It takes 1,000 litres of water to produce one beef burger, but just 167 litres to produce a tofu-based equivalent.
It is also one of the leading causes of climate change and is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, trains, trucks, ships on Earth combined, according to the United Nations. By going vegan you can cut your carbon emissions by up to 50%.
Freshwater fish farming, which provides 96% of fish eaten in Europe also contributes to methane production, a greenhouse gas through fish depositing excreta and unconsumed feed down to the bottom of the pond. Discarded fishing nets account for at least 46% of all ocean trash with other fishing equipment making up most of the rest, not the headline grabbing plastic bottles and straws, the latter of which accounts for less than 0.1% of all ocean rubbish.
Good for your health
Unhealthy diets, high in processed food and meat products, and lacking in whole-plant foods are now a leading cause of death, causing 20% of deaths globally. In addition eating animals causes pandemics, with three in four infectious diseases being caused by trading wildlife and animal farming.
It is recognised amongst top health organisations and professionals that vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in reducing the risk of suffering diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer.
A low fat whole food plant-based diet can also reverse some diseases. For example it is the only diet that has been shown to arrest and reverse artherosclerotic plaques in the heart arteries, responsible for causing heart attacks.
A balanced and varied vegan diet provides all the necessary nutrients for a long and healthy life. The Vegan Society produces clear nutritional guidelines for those adopting a vegan diet.
Time to take action
The easiest and most effective way to save animals, reduce your ecological footprint and improve your health is to go vegan. You can choose not to eat any animal products, but instead replace them with the huge variety of alternatives that now exist.