Why vegan? Four good reasons
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
- high blood pressure
- diabetes type two
- some cancers – especially breast, prostate, colorectal
- 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. Here are some more reasons:
- Cows must be repeatedly made pregnant for the production of milk.
- Their babies are either killed at one or two days old or reared for veal, beef or milk.
- 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.
- Chickens (and ducks, geese etc)
- 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).
For further information see:
Viva! Guide 11 – A Matter of Life and Death. www.viva.org.uk/guides/animals
3. It’s good for the environment
Cycling to work is good but a vegan diet is miles better
l. 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.
- We could produce far more plant foods to feed humans in the UK instead of using most of it to feed animals.
- 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.
4. It’s good for the planet’s people.
- 800 million people are hungry and there’s no need!
- We could easily produce enough food to feed everyone if only we stopped feeding all the crops to the animals.
- 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 produces only 9kg of beef protein or 31kg of milk protein. Doesn’t it make sense to just eat the plants?!
For further information see:
Viva! Guide 12 – Feed the World. www.vivashop.org.uk/books/feed-world-guide