Why Go Vegan?
For the animals
Preventing the exploitation of animals is a common reason for becoming vegan—and remains a key factor in many people’s decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may be a big factor in turning to veganism, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom.
For the environment
Others’ reasoning behind going vegan isn’t for the animals but instead protecting the environment. So many have already taken the initiative to reduce, reuse, and recycle—even some businesses make recycling part of their culture—and cycling to work has gained popularity over the last few years, so society in general is becoming aware of ways to live a greener life. Each year, more and more people are waking up to becoming vegan to lower their carbon footprint, which means to avoid all animal products. This goes way beyond the problem of cow flatulence!
Why is meat and dairy so bad for the environment?
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment. From the crops and water required to feed the animals to the transportation and other processes involved from farm to plate, consumption of animal products has a heavy carbon footprint. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss, and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soybeans for animal feed in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves.
Another pitfall from the meat and dairy industry is that it causes deforestation and forest fires. Industrial meat is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally. In Brazil, farmers are deliberately setting forest fires— like the Amazon rainforest fires you have seen in the news—to clear space for cattle ranching and to grow industrial animal feed, like soybeans, for farms back in the UK.
For your health
Both the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the British Dietetic Association recognize that a well-planned vegan diet that follows healthy eating guidelines and contains all the nutrients that our bodies need is good for every age and stage of life.
A bonus is that many vegans have expressed that veganism is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition, cooking, and improving your diet. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options like whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Whether your choice for going vegan is for the animals, the environment, your health, or all three, there’s never a bad reason to go vegan. Just remember, like with anything new, take your time to learn everything about it before diving head-first into it in order to get the best results.