Veganism continues to be a controversial topic within modern society, despite the common public having a general misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about what veganism is or why it exists. I’ve met countless amounts of people who will outright say that veganism is not for them or flat-out say that veganism is “silly/exaggerated”, while continuing to ask or assume what vegans can or can’t do. It’s quite interesting that someone could disapprove of veganism before they even know what it means to be vegan. When people first hear about being vegan, most will quickly exclaim they could never give up meat. While the reasoning for eating meat can be believable, the contrary has a greater positive impact on the world as a whole.
Consuming meat is something a wide range of the world has done regularly for their entire life. When asked to consider giving meat up, many become uneasy and quickly deny it, but if they realized the multiple justices it provides, they may reconsider. Even if a small percentage of the population stopped eating animal products, it would still make a huge difference and raise awareness. Humans living on the planet Earth have been causing destruction in so many different ways, so if people are willing to make a small contribution to try and help, it can still have some kind of effect. One interesting thing to contemplate is if we eat food to feel alive, then why eat something dead?
Although most of the population believes that meat is necessary to human health and survival, it’s not. Since childhood, most people are raised eating meat and large quantities of animal products, focusing less on healthier foods like grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. It’s engraved into their minds that they need meat for nutrients, milk to grow and keep strong bones, and that plant-based foods just aren’t enough to keep them healthy. All they know is what they’re taught by society, and since society supports an omnivorous diet, most are afraid of deviating from the norms. For years, research has shown that the standard American diet focuses on large quantities of meat as well as other animal products and less on plant-based foods.
Veganism is quickly growing across the world it’s a lifestyle that consists of using no animal products whether it be in food, clothing or any other purpose. One of the major reasons for those who are vegan explain that they do it because it helps the entire world not just animals but humans and natural resources as well. A documentary called “Cowspiracy” explains that it takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. It takes this much water for one pound of beef because you need to grow the crop to feed the animals as well as give water to the animals to keep it alive until it’s time to slaughter it for the meat. There are thousands of people all over the world who die of dehydration and starvation every day and the animal agriculture market is a huge contributor. No one would have to be deprived of basic necessities if the world stopped animal consumption because all of the crops and water used to produce a small amount of meat, could be used to feed the unprivileged people. In addition to preserving water, veganism prevents lots of deforestation, because there is no need for cleared land for pastures for the cows to graze on. The article “How Animal Agriculture Affects Our Planet” Haley Hansel states that “Every second, 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared for grazing livestock or growing animal feed.” (Hansel 1). In another article called “Vegetarian or Omnivore” written by Tamar Haspel, he successfully describes the pollution added to the air from cow agriculture as stated, “Cow’s four chambered stomach digests by fermentation which releases the greenhouse gas methane” (Haspel 1). Hansel’s piece of work also supports Tamar’s statement by saying that “Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation sector. When you consider livestock and their byproducts it accounts for 51% of global greenhouse emissions.” (Hansel 2). Eating meat causes humans to not only kill another being but also kill themselves and the planet in the process.
One of the most important reasons people adopt a vegan diet, is to stop causing unnecessary harm to animals, there is so much information out there about how animals raised for eating are mistreated, kept in unpleasant habitats, and killed after they can no longer produce what the farmers want. Think of where the animal products you consume come from. You’re probably envisioning acres of grassy farmlands with cows grazing leisurely in the open air, happy pigs rolling around in the mud, and chickens in cozy coops laying their eggs, right? Wrong. Farms like those hardly exist anymore. Instead, cows are kept pregnant to produce an abnormal amount of milk, pigs are raised in concrete cages inside windowless metal buildings, and two hundred and fifty thousand laying hens are piled in one, single building. These animals are living in what’s known as factory-farms. A factory-farm is an over-crowded madhouse, filled with suffering animals that are literally going insane. The conditions the animals are forced to live in are absolutely unacceptable and vile. The images and videos of the living conditions that these animals are living in should be enough to make you think about what you’re supporting by buying and consuming animal products. It is highly confusing how people choose to ignore what’s going on or simply don’t care and continue to eat the animals.
There are many different reasons as to why more people should become vegan or at least try to cut more meat out of their diets. Abstaining from eating meat can reduce as well as prevent a variety of diseases and promote better health. Some of the health concerns that are linked to meat consumption are: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, harmful cholesterol, strokes, and obesity. Fully excluding or cutting down animal products from one’s diet can reduce the risk of coming into contact with these health concerns. Although a plant-based diet is far healthier than an omnivore diets it does come with some downsides. There is evidence that shows that vegans lack in nutrients. In an article by Chris Kresser, it states “Studies have shown that both vegetarian and vegans are prone to be deficiencies in B12, calcium, zinc, long-chain fatty acids EPA & DHA” (Kresser 1). B12 is used in the formation of blood and the functioning of the brain and in order to get it vegans would have to take additional supplements rather than just obtaining it from their everyday meals. Calcium is a problem because although vegetables such as kale and spinach contain calcium, the bioavailability from the plants are affected by their levels of oxalate and phytate, which makes the calcium not efficiently absorbed during digestion, lack of the fatty acids E96 and D86 is a problem because they play an important role in protecting against depression, asthma, inflammation and even minor cases of Alzheimer’s. Another problem most new vegetarians and vegans face is not doing enough research into recipes and food prep and eat too many empty calorie foods that are high in carbs, thus not making their new diet any healthier, or even worse than what their diet was before.