There is a preconceived stigma for veganism and vegans themselves: a pushy, opinionated and self-righteous individual that enjoys expressing to everyone that they meet that they have chosen this specific life-style. I must vouch for all the non-stereotypical vegans that do not want to be pigeonholed into this typecast and explain the logic behind this moral choice. For both the loud-mouthed and the more reserved vegan, there is rationality behind the decision.
The clear-cut and recognisable aim of avoiding and thus reducing animal suffering is foremost in peoples’ minds. Although many people like to sidestep this topic and disassociate living animals from the food on their plate, this factor of veganism cannot be disputed. Even if an individual is not willing to cut meat out of their diet it would be hard to imagine that deep down they can suggest that farm animals do not suffer in the food production process. Meat eaters desperately try to defend themselves: ‘Vegans are so hypocritical, think about all the plant lives you are taking… plants have feelings too’. Firstly, we can address that plants do not possess a nervous system and so we can be confident that we are not causing pain by cultivating them. Secondly, even if we did live in a world in which plants had the mental and physiological capacity to suffer, a meat eaters’ diet leads to the consumption of more plants than that of a vegan. This is clear when you recognise that matter can’t be created - it is not possible to yield more from an animal than it has consumed… rational logic.
To be vegan is to be responsible for our planet. Meat and dairy production contributes in a much bigger way to the harmful emissions that mankind are inflicting on the planet than the whole of the transport sector. Emissions such as methane, produced in dairy production, are enormous in their powers as greenhouse gases. Methane itself is vastly more damaging than carbon dioxide, contributing grossly to climate change. Not only does such climate change affect wildlife but also it will inevitably affect the poorest communities in devastating ways. Warming seas will affect fish stocks leaving many communities reliant on the ocean for survival with inadequate resources.. Rising sea levels will devastate homes. The increases in extreme weather occurrence will hit the most exposed and vulnerable populations. If veganism were to be adopted by enough people, we could move closer towards ridding the world population of hunger. To gain a certain amount of food in the form of animal products, 90% more plant feed must be provided. If the ‘middle man’ of livestock production were cut out of the production system a remarkable amount of food would be freed up to feed hungry mouths.
Veganism also benefits your health. Although sources of protein and dairy are removed from your diet, this does not create the perceived malnutrition that many suggest. As herbivorous animals do, we can obtain the nutrients we need from plants: protein from beans and pulses; calcium from leeks; B12 from marmite! Many people who are not vegan will be missing key nutrients from their diet… yet no one seems interested in this. As soon as you are a vegan anyone you speak to is a ‘qualified nutritionists’ and has a deep interest in your protein intake.
It is clear that veganism is not for everyone and it is neither realistic nor productive to aim to convince all that you meet to choose this lifestyle. However I think what can be achieved is that more people understand that rationality behind the choice and accept that it is not an overly sentimental or anthropomorphic waste of time.
Been persuaded by our article to become a vegan yourself, or just keen to know a little more? Get to know all the key facts about changing your lifestyle by reading the informative article below from Positive Health Wellness.