Whatever the reason may be for you not to have made the transition yet, this article will convince you to take the big step. Here, we will discuss why do people go vegan and why you should, too.
Why Go Vegan?
If you want to reduce your environmental impact, protect the planet, and support animal welfare at the same time, there is no better way of doing it than going vegan.
The plethora of health benefits that come with a vegan lifestyle is an added advantage. The comprehensiveness of the philosophy of veganism and its diverse impacts are also encouraging more and more people to commit to the vegan lifestyle.
Why You Should Go Vegan? The Top 14 Reasons Explained
As hinted above, veganism has a lot to offer to humans, animals, and the planet. Let’s dig a little deeper and discuss some of the benefits of going vegan.
Environmental Benefits of Going Vegan
If you’re concerned about the rapidly deteriorating natural environment (everyone should be) and are looking for ways to make positive contributions to improving (or at least preserving) it, you should consider veganism.
The following are some of the major reasons to go vegan for the environment:
1. Veganism Helps Reduce Global Warming by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Animal agriculture is the second leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is even higher than the emissions caused by transportation.
The gases produced by animal farming primarily include CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide. The activities that are responsible for them range from feed crop cultivation and fueling farm machinery to slaughtering, packaging, and transportation.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and, ultimately, global warming at every step.
However, research tells us that a vegan diet can reduce these greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50%.
In addition to greenhouse gases, the livestock industry is also responsible for generating 64% of all human-generated ammonia, a significant contributor to acid rain.
2. It Makes Drinking Water More Available to Humans.
Consider yourself lucky if you have drinking water readily available all the time because a lot of people struggle for it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three people does not have access to safe drinking water globally, whereas animal agriculture takes up one-third of drinkable water.
Shifting to a vegan diet will help conserve water since plant foods take much less amount of water. While the estimates can vary regarding how much the exact amount of water shifting to a vegan diet can save, even the most conservative estimates show that one person can save about 150,000 gallons of water by going vegan.
A research review published in the Public Library of Science in 2016 showed that a vegan diet uses the least amount of water, even among sustainable diets. It also showed that dietary changes could reduce water use by 50%.
In addition to guzzling vast quantities of fresh water, the livestock industry is one of the biggest sources of water pollution.
3. A Vegan Lifestyle Helps Reduce Habitat Loss and Species Extinction.
Animal farming is the largest contributing factor to ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss, and animal and bird species extinction.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, land equalling seven football fields is cleared every minute to make room for raising farm animals and growing the feed for them to meet the ever-increasing global demand for meat. This involves deforestation on a massive scale, which then disrupts the natural habitats and destroys the ecosystems.
Animal agriculture is considered responsible for up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. The rate at which tropical rainforests are cleared is estimated to cause the loss of 137 animal, insect, and plant species every day. This accounts for the loss of a whopping 50,000 species in a year.
Furthermore, millions of wild animals are killed each year to protect livestock from natural predators. In the U.S. alone, 30 million animals have been killed during the last decade, with around 1.5 million killed only in the year 2020. Many non-threatening animal and bird species are also killed during the process, thereby becoming collateral damage.
Hence, adopting a vegan diet can help preserve the natural ecosystems and species by decreasing the demand for meat.
In addition to deforestation and the killing of animals, improper disposal of animal wastes and by-products from the meat industry also destroys natural habitats.
4. It Reduces Energy Consumption.
The livestock industry consumes enormous amounts of fossil energy, ranging from operating farm machinery to performing activities like production and application of fertilizers, production of animal feed, and breeding. Raising animals is estimated to take eight times more fossil fuel energy than growing plant-based foods does.
5. It Will Help Reduce Land Degradation.
Deforestation and overgrazing contribute to soil erosion and land degradation, affecting the land’s physical, chemical, and biological makeup. This causes the loss of fertile land and pollutes the surrounding waterways, eventually leading to the depletion of aquatic animals.
In fact, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), more than 50% of the earth’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years.
While animal farming isn’t the only reason for land degradation on such a massive scale, it certainly exacerbates the problem.
Reduce Your Environmental Impact by Going Vegan
With an increasing awareness about the need for environmental protection, many people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. While there are several ways to do it, the latest research from the University of Oxford stated that the “single best way” to reduce your environmental impact is to eat a vegan diet.
According to researchers, eating a vegan diet can reduce a person’s food-related carbon footprint by up to 73%. This involves a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, acidification, water and land use, and eutrophication.
The lead author of the study, Joseph Poore, believes that going vegan is far better for the environment than activities like buying an electric car or reducing your travels since they only reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This research and all the facts discussed earlier in this section should be enough to convince anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact to adopt a vegan lifestyle. So, go vegan to save the environment!
Ethical Reasons to Go Vegan
There are many reasons to go vegan. But, a significantly large number of people choose the vegan lifestyle because of ethical reasons.
Veganism strongly advocates for the minimization—if not elimination—of animal exploitation and cruelty prevalent across many modern-day industries. It’s likely that there would hardly be any non-vegan left on this planet if people knew how badly animals are exploited and abused to fulfill our needs.
Whether you’re an animal rights advocate or just conscious of the impact of your actions on other living beings, going vegan is the best way to live. For those who lack knowledge, the following are some of the ethical arguments for veganism:
6. It Will Reduce Animal Killing.
Did you know that about 72 billion land animals are killed for food every year worldwide? The daily count of slaughtered animals stands at over 200 million. These do not yet include the more than 1.2 trillion aquatic animals farmed and caught for human consumption each year.
While these animal cruelty statistics highlight meat eaters’ contribution to animal cruelty, many people argue that one person alone cannot make any difference in bringing these statistics down. However, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) states that every person who chooses to go vegan can save over 100 animal lives in a year.
7. Veganism Reduces Animal Suffering in the Egg and Dairy Industries.
When it comes to boycotting animal products to reduce animal cruelty, many people choose to opt for a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, thinking they are produced by animals naturally and do not involve any cruelty towards them. However, that’s not true. Sadly, the egg and dairy industries are not animal cruelty-free.
Let’s talk about the animal cruelty involved in the egg industry first.
While chickens do lay eggs naturally, they are genetically altered in the commercial industry to lay more eggs. A wild hen naturally lays only 12 to 20 eggs in a year, whereas a domesticated one is made to lay 250 to 330 eggs per year via genetic manipulation. This leads to various serious reproductive disorders, which cause them pain and are also often fatal.
Furthermore, billions of hens and male chicks are killed each year in the egg industry. As hens stop laying eggs, they are considered useless and are sent to slaughterhouses. Also, killing male chicks soon after they’re born is common because they cannot lay eggs and, hence, are useless for egg farmers.
Killing male chicks is a prevalent and legal practice in the U.S. Even certification programs like American Humane Certifies and Certified Humane, which are considered strict humane labeling certifications, allow for the killing of male chicks at their hatcheries.
What makes the situation even worse is that the hens are kept in inhumane conditions, crowded in cages that are filthy and so small that the poor animals cannot even stretch their wings. Since overcrowding leads to fighting, their beaks are cut off beforehand to prevent injuries. Research says that 95% to 98% of eggs sold in the U.S. come from chickens raised under these conditions.
Let’s now briefly discuss the dairy farming industry to give you an idea about why animal milk should be avoided.
The dairy farming industry may appear harmless, but it is essentially based on the exploitation of cows and their motherhood. Like all other mammals, cows only produce milk when they have babies, and it’s meant to feed their calves. However, the poor calves do not get their natural feed in dairy farming.
To prevent the calves from feeding on their mother’s milk, they are separated from their mothers, which is emotionally devastating for both cows and their calves. In fact, 97% of calves in the U.S. dairy farms are separated from their mothers permanently during the first 24 hours, while the remaining 3% are taken away in the first few days of birth.
All this is done to save cow milk for human consumption.
Cows that are raised in dairy farms are also forcibly artificially inseminated several times to initiate milk production. She is also fed and injected with hormones to boost milk production.
Similar to the egg industry, male calves are considered useless and are sold for meat. For the small-time male calves to live, they are kept in small isolated crates where they do not even have enough room to turn around. Female calves are also kept in isolated hutches and calf pens in poor conditions for several months before being moved to dairy herds.
Dairy cows, on the other hand, get to live for a significantly shorter period of life than they naturally would. To be specific, the natural life expectancy of cattle is 20 years. But, in the dairy industry, they only get to live for a maximum period of 5.5 years. They are then sent to slaughterhouses for their meat when they stop producing milk.
Other milk-producing animals, such as sheep and goats, also share a similar fate.
8. Vegan Lifestyle Reduces Animal Cruelty in Other Industries.
When we talk about animal cruelty, many people only consider the food industry responsible for inflicting pain and suffering on animals. However, that’s not true. Animals are abused to serve human needs in many other industries as well. These mainly include wool, leather, beauty, pharmaceutical, and medical research industries.
Animal testing of cosmetics and beauty products has long been a standard practice worldwide. Furthermore, many colors used in cosmetics and personal care products also come from animals. For example, carmine, a red color made by crushing insects , is one of the most commonly used ones.
Thanks to the increasing awareness about the pain and suffering that animals go through and the increasing number of people going vegan, many beauty companies have turned cruelty-free.
While this is a huge step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go to eliminate—or at least, significantly reduce—animal testing because it’s also an integral part of the medical research and drug development industry.
Animal abuse is also inherent in the wool industry. Many people mistakenly believe that wool is cruelty-free because sheep aren’t killed in the process, and shearing is essential to keeping them healthy and alive. However, that’s not true.
I did a detailed article on “Is Wool Vegan?” to help clear misconceptions and fallacies about the wool industry.
9. Veganism Can Help Combat Hunger.
It may surprise many, but research says that humans aren’t the primary consumers of grains. Globally, 83% of farmland is reserved for raising animals, whereas in the U.S., livestock consumes about 70% of the grains grown in the country.
A 1997 research study from Cornell University stated that the grain used to feed livestock in the U.S. could feed around 800 million people. Also, livestock in the country consumes five times more grains than the whole American population and are fed around 41 million tons of plant protein to produce just 7 million tons of meat for human consumption.
Keeping in view the increasing demand for meat over the years, it can be said that the numbers must have increased over the years.
Imagine all this food going to poverty-ridden and famine-struck regions! We could, perhaps, be able to eradicate hunger from the world.
The dedication of the majority of farmland to growing animals and the negative impact of animal farming on the planet and environment have also reduced the earth’s overall capacity to produce food. If we could use that land for growing plant crops, we can feed many more humans at much less expense to our planet.
10. It Will Reduce Animal Exploitation for Entertainment Purposes.
Another form of animal exploitation at the hands of humans is their use for various entertainment purposes, such as in zoos, marine parks, sanctuaries, circuses, exotic pet trade, sports, tourism, advertisements, and even movies.
Species of animals used for entertainment include, but are not limited to, dogs, cats, horses, elephants, bulls, whales, dolphins, monkeys, camels, and bears.
The poor animals are kept in captivity, chained up, and forcefully trained to behave in certain ways to entertain humans. These animals are also often kept in poor conditions, poorly treated, and undernourished.
If you’re not sure what counts as animal exploitation in entertainment sectors, here’s a simple rule to figure out: if an animal wouldn’t perform it by choice or without human intervention in its natural habitat, it’s exploitation.
For example, animals wouldn’t stay in cages, perform various tricks, ride humans on their backs, or carry their luggage by choice. These are all forms of animal exploitation.
Go Vegan to Fulfill Your Moral and Ethical Responsibilities Towards Animals and Other Humans
In essence, veganism challenges the very notion that animals exist for human use. It argues that animals have as much right to live as freely as humans do. They also have feelings and experience fear, grief, and pain when isolated, abused, or killed. Misusing animals for your needs is outright cruelty.
Even though many “certified humane” or “ethical” animal products are available on the market, do not fall prey to these labels. They are nothing more than marketing gimmicks created to increase concern about animal welfare and demand for ending animal cruelty. No such thing as “humane or ethical animal farming” actually exists.
If you are concerned about animal cruelty or other ethically wrong practices that have become prevalent due to commercial animal farming, go vegan.
Play your part in reducing animal cruelty, saving animal lives, and making this world a better place to live for all living beings by transitioning to the vegan lifestyle.
Health Reasons to Go Vegan
The vegan diet has become highly popular during the past few years. Many people initially considered it another fad or passing trend. However, it’s now proven that the vegan diet is here to stay.
A common misconception regarding the vegan diet is that it lacks various nutrients and isn’t a balanced diet. However, research shows that you can meet all your nutrient needs with a vegan diet.
Just like any other diet, the condition is that it has to be well-planned. The following are some of the key scientific reasons to go vegan for health purposes:
11. A Vegan Diet Can Help Lose Weight.
One of the most advocated vegan diet benefits is that it can help shed some pounds. Many research and observational studies found evidence supporting this claim.
It’s easier to reduce your calorie intake with a vegan diet, contributing to weight loss.
12. It Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Levels.
Not only have vegans been found to have significantly lower risks of developing type 2 diabetes, but vegan diets are also shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Research shows that low-fat vegan diets can be more effective in reducing blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes than the conventional diabetes diet that follows the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. They also help improve plasma lipid levels.
13. V.egan Diets Are Linked to Reduced Risk of Heart Disease.
Foods like vegetables, fruits, and legumes are long known to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Since vegan diets are comprised of these foods only, they can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Several research studies have shown vegan diets’ effectiveness in lowering the risk of developing hypertension by up to 75%, reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and decreasing total cholesterol levels.
Plant-based diets with no added fat, like the American Heart Association (AHA)-recommended diets, are equally beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease since they help reduce your risk.
14. It Helps Increase Productivity.
The stressful modern-day life often takes a toll on our efficiency and productivity. To this end, a research study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed that a vegan diet could boost productivity, alleviate the symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and improve overall health.
If you feel like in need of an energy and productivity boost and better overall wellness (don’t all of us adults need it?), transitioning to a vegan diet is the way to go.
Go Vegan to Experience These (and Many More) Health Benefits
An ever-increasing number of people are giving up on animal foods to experience these health benefits. Health is often the primary reason people get attracted to veganism, and as they study and explore the philosophy over time, they find out that it has a lot more to offer. Eventually, many of them commit to a completely vegan lifestyle.
Even though there are many known health benefits of a vegan diet, research on vegan diet advantages is still going on, so we can hope to get many more health reasons to go vegan in the upcoming years.
To Sum Up – Why Is Being Vegan So Important?
As mentioned earlier, veganism is a philosophy that advocates against exploitation in all forms and across all sectors. It’s not just a dietary discipline; instead, it’s a way of life that aims to make this world a better place, not just for humans but also for animals.
Veganism makes humans more aware of the negative impact of their activities on animals and the environment. It helps us realize that the resources in this world are limited, so we need to be cautious of our choices. Moreover, animals are equally entitled to inhabit this planet as humans do. With veganism, we can become kinder and make this world a better place.
To sum up, veganism provides us with the answers to a host of modern-day problems about health, the environment, animal rights, the conservation of resources, and the protection of the planet. Check out the following video to learn more about how veganism could change the world:
Did you find this detailed vegan resource useful? Check out the series of articles I have done on the vegan status of various leading restaurants to make informed decisions when dining out!