When people ask me why I became a vegan, these are some of the ways I reply:
- For my health: less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Too much protein damages your kidneys.
- For the animals: There is no idyllic farm life, animals are cooped up in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feed Operations) where they stand knee deep in their own manure and are fattened up by ingesting GMO corn and soy, which gives rise to E.Coli. Animals are often treated inhumanely and abused by the workers, who share the idea that the animals will die anyway, so it doesn’t matter. The animals live short, scary lives of violence, abuse, and disease. The factories where all this takes place are hidden away, worked by illegal immigrants and disposed of as such by big companies. Waste run-off contaminates our water supply or other vegetables (which is why you often hear of E.Coli in spinach).
- For other people: The greatest argument you hear in support of GMOs is that it will increase the abundance of food available, and therefore increase the capacity to feed more people and thus reduce world hunger. It’s never been proven that GMO foods will do that, frankly, Monsanto cares more about profit than about feeding starving people, as evidenced by their treatment of small farmers. In fact, if we wanted to feed more people, we should eat less meat. In America, most of our arable land is planted to wheat, corn, or soy. The corn and soy is mostly GMO, and those grains result in a proliferation of processed food, and animal feed. In fact, very little of the crops planted in the U.S. is actually food fit for consumption. Huge stores of our water and electricity also go to rasing animals forconsumption. Therefore, we are operating in diminishing returns: the resources used to raise animals (water, power, land), result in less food. If we all cut out meat there would be more forests, more land for crops and small farms, more water, and less CO2 production (methane from animal CAFOs and gas used to transport food and meat all over the country). We could feed many more people, and they would be healthier.
- For the planet: I addressed some of the reasons veganism is better for the planet above, but to reiterate: there would be less CO2 production from CAFOs and food transportation, there would be less water contamination from waster runoff from slaughterhouses and CAFOs, less forests would be chopped down for land to plant to soy, corn, or wheat. There would be more land for other crops (like fruits and vegetables), by planting more fruits and vegetables closer to towns and cities there would be less fossil fuel use in transportation, and people in cities and other food desert areas could have more fresh food that is currently being displaced by artificially cheap, processed junk food. Less animal consumption would result in less need for GMO corn and soy products, so Monsanto could stop creating pesticide and herbicide resistant crops that give rise to superbugs and superweeds. We could all also stop ingesting antibacterial resistant meat, and excess hormones. Also, farmland is not meant to only grow one crop continuously, the best practice is to rotate crops on a plot of land, or let it rest for a season. By continuously planting only one crop on the same plot of land, eventually the land will become useless, the soil stripped of nutrients. Essentially, it will give up and die. Literally, the planet is dying.
- In Protest: I protest the govt. that makes this possible, the lobbyists, big money, the 3 or 4 big companies who are responsible for most of the meat produced in the U.S. (Tyson, Cargill, Archer-Daniels Midland). I will not participate in the corruption. All of this is propelled by money and profit. The govt. Farm Bill subsidizes mono crops like corn or soy, and does minimally nothing for the small farmer. Monsanto has lobbyists to sway govt. in its favor, these large companies are able to act as though regulation does not apply to them because they have money and know important people. To put it bluntly, they are criminals. But they are too important to be brought down by regulations, and they know it. They take advantage of everyone in the U.S., when the average American consumes any animal products, they have no clue what they are unwittingly participating in. I WILL NOT PARTICIPATE.
- For Karma: This is my way of saying “I will not be violent, I will not propagate violence by consuming misery, fright, sickness, and death.” I believe in compassion. I believe in equality. I believe that animals are our friends. There is no difference between a piggy and a puppy. Why do we love one and kill another? Morally, it is wrong to cause harm for no reason, people are fully capable of living without killing animals for consumption, so there is no need for this cruelty.
When I was in India, I saw firsthand how much cows were revered. They are considered holy, and are allowed to wander the streets. This one had beautiful, big brown eyes.
I believe in veganism. As I continue to educate myself about America’s food supply I discover more unsettling, stomach-churning things I would rather not be a part of. People will often wonder, so how far do you go? For example, do you eat honey? Gelatin? Are your cosmetics cruelty-free?
I won’t eat gelatin, and honey is debatable. But anything new I learn, I try to incorporate and grow from. It makes no sense to not eat meat, but then buy other products which have been tested on animals or contain animal products, not when there is another harmless option. So the more I learn, the more I grow. The trick is do to the best to your knowledge.