Veganism has become an increasingly popular lifestyle throughout the younger generations. In the past five years, the number of vegans and vegetarians in the country has more than doubled surpassing sixteen million according to an online article at therawfoodworld.com. The vegan diet cuts out all animal products whether it be dairy, meat, eggs or even clothing products that use wool or leather.
There are many that do it for health purposes to help high cholesterol or digestive issues and others that do it to support animal rights. What people don’t realize is that high cholesterol and heart disease to name a few are way more prevalent among people eating the Standard American Diet, the main diet of the average American consisting of meat, dairy, fat, and sugar, than among those following a vegan or even vegetarian diet.
Studies from the Harvard School of Public Health have shown that less red-meat consumption can lead to lower cholesterol, lower blood-pressure, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Living a vegan lifestyle has proven for some to be a direct counter to those ailments.
Other than for health benefits, the more compassionate reason people go veg is for the support of animal rights, to take a stand against the inhumane treatment of other living creatures we share this planet with. It is no secret the meat and dairy industry are full of unethical and inhumane treatment to the animals that are raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Organizations like PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are one of the loudest voices in the animal rights world and have taken a large stance against the animal industry. They have been responsible for a large number of the horrible videos of life on an animal farm or slaughterhouse as undercover workers at major corporations like Tyson.
Violence to the animals isn’t the only type of violence going on surrounding the animal industry, there is an extreme amount of damage being done to the environment from meat production. One of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is animal agriculture like animal farms and slaughterhouses. A 2006 study by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions are directly attributable to livestock production, which is more than the emissions attributable to the entire transportation sector. Aside from the emissions, the amount of food, water, and energy necessary to feed, clean and host the animals on one of these farms is enormous and could be utilized in a more efficient way.
By going vegan or vegetarian or even pescatarian you’re not conforming, you’re adapting. It isn’t a trend or a phase, it’s a way of life. It’s a choice to not participate in the surplus of violence going on in this world. We as humans do not need to eat animals to thrive or to live. “Most people haven’t thoroughly researched the topic to know how their diet is contributing to violence inflicted on animals who are capable of the same range of emotions as their dog or cat, environmental degradation, and the physical and emotional suffering of workers who are paid to kill all day long on the kill floor of a slaughterhouse” said the Chair and Associate Professor of the Health and Physical Education Department at Monmouth University (where I go to school) Chris Hirschler. Hirschler is a longstanding vegan, animal rights activist, and health nut. So, clear your conscious, practice nonviolence, and make a difference. Try to limit your use and consumption of animal products or at the very least be aware of what is going on and know where your food is coming from.