People have different reasons for going vegan - some do it to lessen their impact on the environment. Others do it for social impact. Still others do it for their health.
One reason, though, is that most people go vegan and continue to follow that lifestyle over an extended period of time because of veganism's ethics.
Everyone knows that veganism is a way to minimize the cruelty to animals and their exploitation. But why animals, as opposed to plants?
Animals can suffer and experience both joy and pain, which makes them worthy of protection and empathy.
The idea behind animals being here for our use brings up many questions that veganism can answer, and we'll do that here. Let's take look at some of the ethics behind going vegan.
Pain and Suffering of Animals
Animals raised for food are usually kept in conditions that are far from ideal. They are essentially prisoners being fed to be slaughtered for human benefit, whether it’s food or material.
Many slaughtering practices are cruel and prolong suffering, both psychological and physical. Vegans are against causing pain and suffering to other living beings as a matter of morality.
Some people defend the consumption of animals by saying that they provide essential proteins, but there are many plant-based protein sources that are superior to animal meat.
For instance, tofu is a low-fat, high-quality protein that is highly sustainable and can be prepared in many delicious ways. Check out Tofubud.com for how to prepare tofu so that even meat-eaters won't miss their steak!
It is clear to anyone who takes a good look that animals have a form of consciousness. They have and share feelings - observe mother animals with their babies.
There are many instances where people report that their pets or farm animals seem to sense when they are about to die. Just because we don't have adequate means of communicating with animals doesn't mean we should ignore them.
Better to take their feelings into account instead of exposing them to psychological trauma.
Many philosophers and scientists would say that animals experience a consciousness level that includes a notion of self.
Therefore many of these people - including vegans - say that animals should be afforded the same rights and protections as human beings.
Impact on the Environment
Raising animals for slaughter has an impact on the environment. Massive amounts of land are needed for cattle to graze and to grow crops to feed these animals.
This land and food could serve other purposes, not to mention the water and energy needed for farms, slaughterhouses, the meatpacking and meat transportation industries.
It is said that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all of the transportation systems in the world put together!
In other words, you could make more of a positive impact upon the environment by eating less meat than by forgoing airplane, car, and train journeys.
Of course, there are the obvious impacts of greenhouse gases upon humans as well as animals.
Impact on Other Animals
It isn't only the meat industry that harms animals. Producing milk and eggs puts a terrible strain on animals who are raised in cramped conditions.
For instance, the egg industry gasses all male chicks as soon as they hatch in painful ways.
In some places, the chicks are even tossed into a grinder while they are still alive!
It is evident that meat products, such as processed meat, can have negative impacts on our health. We must ask themselves, how ethical is it to produce and sell these foods to people? To give these foods to our children?
As the world's population grows, it becomes less and less sustainable to produce food from livestock. Therefore human welfare is massively impacted by the consumption of animal products.
As time goes on, more and more people are becoming allergic to dairy products. In fact, dairy products are the number one source of saturated fat in the average American's diet.
Saturated fat contributes to Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. There have also been possible links to an increased risk of prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer with dairy consumption.
Animal Consumption isn't Necessary
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that a properly planned diet, whether fully vegetarian or vegan, can provide all the necessary nutrients our bodies require. Not only that, but meat-free diets can also provide many health benefits in preventing certain diseases.
There are millions of healthy vegans - including vegan athletes - around the world who are living proof that you can not only live but thrive on a plant-based diet.
Besides, the demand for plant-based produce and cookware is growing so rapidly that it is easier than ever before to source excellent - and even gourmet - vegan food.