What are the key reasons that persuaded millions of people around the world to eliminate animal products from their diet? In this article we examine the most common ones, and provide evidence to support them.
1. Saving animals
Stopping animal exploitation and cruelty is the major reason to go vegan according to The Vegan Society and Peta. According to Wikipedia 77 billion land animals are killed each year for their meat. That’s almost 10 times more than the whole human population! As the facts about the miserable life conditions and unnecessary suffering of farm animals get widely known, it is more and more difficult to remain detached from this reality and just enjoy your sausage or fried eggs. As some people say, if you would not be able to kill an animal or even watch it get killed, why are you ok with eating its flesh?
2. Health benefits
The most common reason (38%) among the people who joined Veganuary last year was health benefits. There is a growing evidence that animal products are linked to high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Animal products contain harmful antibiotics, hormones and potentially dangerous contaminants like bacteria and viruses. But a vegan diet is more than just eliminating meat and dairy products, it is retrieving all the nutritious benefits from plants. Together with right supplementation, vegan diet can not only provide all the essential nutrients, but also makes people more fit, more energised and generally healthier. Documentaries such as Game Changer and What the health are full of scientific explanations and references to most recognised studies supporting the health benefits of a vegan diet.
3. Protecting the environment
It is not always obvious how the meat, fish and dairy industries are impacting our environment. The amount of food and water used to raise farm animals is out of scale with the output. For example, producing 1kg of beef requires up to 20,000 litres of water! We simply do not have enough resources (water, land and crops) to sustain human meat consumption at the current scale. Animal farming is the major reason for deforestation of the Amazon Forest and other green areas around the world which are turned into grazing fields. Animal agriculture is responsible for about one third of all methane emission, contributing to global warming.
4. Helping people
According to some studies, the amount of crops fed to farm animals would be enough to end world hunger. Instead, those extreme amounts of crops are used to raise animals for their meat. The meat obtained from this unbalanced chain is a luxury consumed by the rich, while poor populations are starving. Farmers in countries like Brazil get higher profit from crops sold to animal farms than from growing crops that could feed the local population.
5. Love of vegan food
Vegan food has always been widely available (just look at the fruit and vegetable section in your supermarket), but recently we are experiencing a real boom for plant-based products, making our diet even more delicious and exciting. Vegan cheese, vegan ice-cream or a vegan burger? You will find everything you loved about an animal diet in almost every shop. We have vegan restaurants, vegan recipe boxes and vegan food blogs, so no matter if we want to be treated by a chef or make a delicious meal ourselves, we will find endless options available.
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