For vegans, every day is a celebration of a plant-based lifestyle. But Nov. 1 is extra special because it’s World Vegan Day and kicks off World Vegan Month! This special month honors a completely cruelty-free lifestyle, and shares with the world all the reasons why vegans have chosen to adopt it. It’s a wonderful opportunity for individuals to highlight everything they love about veganism.

We’ve put together a list of 10 reasons why adopting a vegan lifestyle is critical to you, the environment and animals. Whether you’re a longtime vegan or someone who’s just getting started, please join us this month in spreading awareness. If you’d like to learn more, check out our Vegan Starter Guide here and visit our store to purchase one of our gourmet vegan cookbooks!

1.  Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.

2. Save Water—It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one gallon of beef, and 1,000 pounds of water to produce a gallon of milk. Plants require vastly less water to grow food.

3.  Health—The cholesterol and saturated fat present in animal products is responsible for many leading lifestyle diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. A plant-based diet is healthier for your heart and overall health.

4. For the animals: Billions of animals are bred, raised on land that was often once wildlife habitat, and slaughtered every year to be turned into food. That’s six million animals killed every hour for food The immense suffering they endure can be prevented by switching to a vegan diet.

5.  Preserve our Oceans: The fishing industry has decimated ocean life. All stocks of species fished for food are set to collapse by 2050.  When humans remove fish from the ocean we are taking away food sources for other marine mammals like sea lions and marine bird species like pelicans.

6.  Conserve Land: A vegan requires 1/6th acre of land to feed themselves for a year. A vegetarian requires three times as much land as a vegan, and a meat eater requires 18 times as much land as a vegan.

7.  Save Wildlife: Free-range animal farmers are responsible exterminating wild horses, wolves, coyotes, bison, foxes, bears and many other wild animals. Federal public lands should be protected spaces for wild animals, not feedlots to raise and slaughter animals for food.

8. Plant-based alternatives are EVERYWHERE. In the past few years, the plant-based meat market has exploded, with more companies like Beyond Meat replicating animal protein using things like soy and pea protein to create meatless alternatives.

9. It makes economic sense: A vegan diet is not only good for one’s personal health; it’s also good for the nation’s economy. Five diet-related chronic diseases cost the U.S. economy a staggering $1 trillion each year!  This is an estimate of direct medical costs and the indirect impact of productivity losses due to illness and premature death associated with chronic heart disease and stroke, obesity, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

10. Because feel-good labels like “humanely raised” or “free range” are meaningless. The “happy meat” market has exploded in the past several years and these labels mislead consumers into believing that if they spend a little more to purchase these products, they can eat animals from idyllic “humane” farms that treat animals with respect and kindness. The truth is all farming methods are bad…factory and free range. Learn more about it in our Action Line article here.