Animal advocates across the globe have a reason to celebrate for the next 30 days because Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day and kicks off World Vegan Month.
The practice of veganism—a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose—is the single most effective way to directly impact the lives of animals. It addresses the root causes of animal exploitation.
Not only that, veganism is good for you, too; even the American Dietetic Association has given the practice its blessing:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
Below are 15 reasons for going vegan.
(By the way, Friends of Animals has two vegan cookbooks and a vegan starter guide to help you transition to a plant-based lifestyle.)
Climate: Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.
Drinking 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.
Health: The cholesterol and saturated fat present in animal products is responsible for many leading diseases such as cancer and heart disease. A plant-based diet is healthier for your heart and overall health. Check out The Vegan RD’s blog for science-based nutrition information related to vegans.
Animal Protection: Billions of animals are raised, bred and slaughtered on land that was once wildlife habitat to be turned into food. That’s six million animals killed every hour for food. The immense suffering animals endure can be prevented by switching to a vegan diet.
Ocean Preservation: The fishing industry has decimated ocean life. 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 from other marine mammals, such as sea lions and marine bird species that include pelicans.
Land Preservation: Vegans require just 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.
Wildlife: Free-range animal farmers are responsible for exterminating wild horses, wolves, coyotes, bison, foxes, bears and many other wild animals. Federal public lands should be designated as protected space for wild animals, not used as feedlots to raise and slaughter animals for food.
Alternatives: Plant-based alternatives are EVERYWHERE. In the past few years, the plant-based market has exploded, with more companies like Beyond Meat replicating animal protein using things like soy and peas to create meatless alternatives.
Economics: A vegan diet is not only good for one’s personal health but also for the nation’s economy. Five diet-related chronic diseases cost the U.S. economy a staggering $1 trillion each year. This figure is based on an estimate of direct medical costs and the indirect impact of productivity losses due to illness and premature death associated with the illnesses that include chronic heart disease, stroke, obesity, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Useless Labels: 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 — factory and free range, are bad.
Cruelty-Free: Farmed animals feel pain and experience emotions just like our beloved cats and dogs and just like us. They have unique personalities, experience fear and form emotional bonds with others. There is no reason for us to consume animals, thus being vegan is the ethical thing to do because you care about animals.
Suffering: (see above reason too) The egg and dairy industries create immense suffering for chickens and cows. Like “humane farming” (which doesn’t exist), it’s a misconception to think that animals are not harmed for eggs and dairy production. For more information on these industries, check out Humane Farming Association (which advocates veganism): HFA.org
Livestock Encroachment: Animal farming has also created a war on America’s wildlife. In fact, our own government has killed more than 30 million wild animals in the last decade alone because they were deemed a threat to the livestock industry. Wildlife Services spends millions of tax-payer dollars each year to kill native carnivores and predators — coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, and many others — on behalf of the livestock industry.
Wasteful: More than 1 billion people out of the Earth’s population of 7 billion are malnourished. Worse still, 6 million children starve to death each year. Animal farming is grossly inefficient and wasteful. A better use of water and resources for humans to consumer plants directly, rather than growing plants to feed to animals that are then slaughtered and fed to humans. Growing crops directly for human consumption instead of animal feed and fuel could feed four billion more people, analysis has shown. For more information on world hunger related to a vegan diet visit A Well-Fed World.
Positive Change: You will feel great about yourself and the positive change you are making for animals.