Below is a list of reasons to go vegan, which covers various benefits of a vegan lifestyle, including: ethics, environment, health, and social factors.
If you found any of this helpful or useful, or want to support my activism, consider a one-time donation here: http://bit.ly/DonateSbeast
Also, check out my Animal Rights facebook page ‘Forgotten Voices’: https://www.facebook.com/ForgottenVoicesScott
Dominion is a feature-length animal rights documentary made in 2018, which is the sequel to 2014’s Lucent. While Lucent focused mostly on the Australian pig farming industry, Dominion takes a much broader view as a comprehensive account of the numerous ways animals are used and abused in Australia. By exploring six primary facets of our interaction with animals – Companion Animals, Wildlife, Scientific Research, Entertainment, Clothing and Food – the film questions the morality and validity of our dominion over the animal kingdom. The film makes use of emerging technologies, such as aerial drones, to capture new perspectives and examine the wider context of animal exploitation upon our landscape and within our society.
Youtube link: Dominion (2018)
Climate change, despite still being denied by many, is a well established theory with overwhelming evidence to support it. Climate scientists have been warning governments around the world for decades to take necessary steps to reduce global carbon emissions to avoid climate catastrophe, but so far not enough has been done to combat this major problem.
How can veganism help?
There are many things an individual can do to reduce their carbon footprint, including: have fewer or no children, recycle more, walk, cycle and use public transport more, use automobiles and planes less, use less electricity, and educate others. One of the best ways, that is often not talked about, is to go vegan and switch to a plant-based diet.
Read more here: Climate Change and Veganism
A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from non-human animals (usually vertebrates) to humans. Examples of major modern diseases that are zoonoses include Ebola, salmonellosis, and HIV.
Zoonotic diseases are very common, both in the United States and around the world. Scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Because of this, CDC works 24/7 to protect people from zoonotic diseases in the United States and around the world.
In a vegan world the likelihood of zoonotic diseases being transmitted to humans and global pandemics is greatly reduced.
Read more here: Veganism Can Help to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases
Animals are more similar to us than many people realise. They have emotions, feel pain, have families and want to live without suffering just like us. Humans want to live and be free, and animals also want to live and be free.
Below are a few of many examples of animals showing they desire freedom and wanting to live by trying to escape from a truck or slaughterhouse.
There is much evidence that a plant-based diet is both adequate and healthy for all stages of life. In addition, certain animal products, such as processed meats, can increase the risk of certain diseases.
Below is a list of articles and a video to support this:
Speciesism is a term used in philosophy regarding the treatment of individuals of different species. It involves treating members of one species as morally more important than members of other species in the context of their similar interests. Some sources specifically define speciesism as discrimination or unjustified treatment based on an individual’s species membership, while other sources define it as differential treatment without regard to whether the treatment is justified or not.
“Speciesism is the first form of hatred humans are taught. Way before racism, sexism, and heterosexism is taught, speciesism is the first form of hatred.” ~ Gary Yourofsky (picture)
In addition to this, there is a general lack of understanding of the sentience of animals and whether they can actually feel pain, suffer, and experience emotions. A good example is how different cultures view and treat dogs and pigs. This post aims to explore this issue further and improve our knowledge of these two animals: The Similarities Between Dogs and Pigs
For a while now, there has been an established link between cruelty to animals and human violence, which not enough people seem to know about. This post aims to address that, and to encourage people to go vegan, if they haven’t done so already.
“…The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a “Sinclair effect” unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.”
“Our research showed that the philosophers were right when they drew an analogy between speciesism and other forms of prejudice. Speciesism correlates positively with racism, sexism, and homophobia, and seems to be underpinned by the same socio-ideological beliefs. Similar to racism and sexism, speciesism appears to be an expression of Social Dominance Orientation: the ideological belief that inequality can be justified and that weaker groups should be dominated by stronger groups (Dhont, et al., 2016). In addition, speciesism correlates negatively with both empathy and actively open-minded thinking. Men are more likely to be speciesists than women. Yet, there are no correlations with age or education.”
“Animal abuse is part of an inter-generational cycle of violence. Children living in homes with domestic violence and animal abuse absorb unhealthy attitudes and family norms… and hand these values down to their own children when they grow up.”
For more information, check out this post ‘The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence‘.
A lesser known fact about slaughterhouses is that they are associated with increased mental health problems for the workers, especially PTSD. So every time someone buys meat, they are contributing to mental health problems of slaughterhouse workers, which would not occur if they switched to a plant-based diet instead.
“These employees are hired to kill animals, such as pigs and cows that are largely gentle creatures. Carrying out this action requires workers to disconnect from what they are doing and from the creature standing before them. This emotional dissonance can lead to consequences such as domestic violence, social withdrawal, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and PTSD.”
Read this article to find out more: https://mercyforanimals.org/blog/slaughterhouse-workers-have-ptsd-from-killing/
There are numerous parallels and similarities between carnism (the ideology that conditions us to discriminate against, kill and eat animals), and the holocaust. Understandably, many people do not want to think about this or see the parallels, not because it is untrue, but because of the implications. However, it is important to be aware of these similarities, and realise that we are contributing to the unnecessary suffering and killing of living beings so that we can finally end these atrocities once and for all.
1) Supremacy: Nazism (the belief that some humans are superior to others) and Speciesism (the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals).
2) Transport: Innocent lives being placed on trucks and trains against their will, then being transported long distances to arrive at their final destination where they will be killed.
3) Megafarms: Megafarms look similar to concentration camps.
Drone footage of megafarms: https://vimeo.com/321220412
4) Gas chambers: Gas chambers were used in the holocaust and are also used in many slaughterhouses. https://animalsaustralia.org/features/not-so-humane-slaughter/
5) Sentience: The victims of both are sentient, conscious, can feel pain, and desire to live and be free
For more parallels check out this post: Parallels Between Carnism and the Holocaust
Antimicrobial resistance has become a major threat to public health globally with approximately 700,000 people a year dying from antimicrobial-resistant infections. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance report predicted this will reach 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if no action is taken now.
A major cause of antibiotic resistance is animal agriculture, so going vegan is a great way to combat against this.
Going vegan is one of the best and quickest ways to reduce further outbreaks and may potentially prevent millions of lives being lost from avoidable, deadly pandemics that may occur in the future.
Aside from the obvious ethical reasons to go vegan, there are a number of environmental benefits too, including less greenhouse gas emissions , water consumption, and land use.
Some of these benefits are listed below, from the documentary Cowspiracy.
From the following article: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/20/e2013637118
Poor air quality is the largest environmental health risk in the United States and worldwide, and agriculture is a major source of air pollution. Nevertheless, air quality has been largely absent from discussions about the health and environmental impacts of food. We estimate the air quality–related health impacts of agriculture in the United States, finding that 80% of the 15,900 annual deaths that result from food-related fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution are attributable to animal-based foods. By estimating these impacts and exploring how to reduce them, this work fills a critical knowledge gap. Our results are relevant to food producers, processors, and distributors, and to policymakers and members of the public interested in minimizing the negative consequences of food.
…Agricultural production in the United States results in 17,900 annual air quality–related deaths, 15,900 of which are from food production. Of those, 80% are attributable to animal-based foods, both directly from animal production and indirectly from growing animal feed.
…We also find that nationwide dietary shifts that decrease consumption of animal-based foods can lead to large decreases in agricultural PM2.5-related death rates, simultaneously reducing direct damages from livestock waste management and indirect damages from feed production (Fig. 4). Substituting poultry for red meat could prevent 6,300 annual deaths (40% of total deaths from food production). Even greater benefits of 10,700 to 13,100 deaths prevented per year (68 to 83%) could be achieved from more ambitious shifts to vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diets such as the planetary health diet of the EAT-Lancet Commission (2).
From the following video by Earthling Ed:
Farmers often claim that they care about their animals and would never let anything bad happen to them. Yet if a piglet is growing too slowly or is weak, it’s standard practice for the farmer to pick the piglet up by their back legs and slam their heads against the wall or the floor. This isn’t illegal and is a practice defended by the pig industry, and welfare schemes such as Red Tractor and the RSPCA.
From the following PETA article:
In order to save money, many farmers simply kill sick animals instead of giving them medicine or veterinary care. A PETA investigation found that a manager at an Oklahoma farm killed pigs by beating them with metal gate rods, and others were left to die without food or water. On most farms, unwanted “runts” are killed by “thumping,” or slamming their heads against the floor.
There are numerous reasons to eliminate fish from your diet, some of which are listed below:
“Having examined the research that has been done for some species of fish (a relatively small number of species have been studied), this panel concludes: “The balance of the evidence indicates that some fish species have the capacity to experience pain.” “In the light of evidence reviewed … it is recommended that, where considerations of welfare are involved, all vertebrate animals (i.e., mammals birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) should be regarded as equally capable of suffering to some degree or another, without distinction between ‘warm-blooded’ and ‘cold blooded’ members.
Fish like to be petted – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVnE9o5Uxik
Drug contamination – “Something fishy is going on in a major waterway where the aquatic inhabitants have been found to be high on a cocktail of 81 different drugs including cocaine and anti-depressants.” https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/fish-test-positive-cocaine-cocktail-7443169
Mercury – “The danger level from consuming fish depends on species and size. Size is the best predictor of increased levels of accumulated mercury. Sharks, such as the mako shark, have very high levels of mercury. A study on New Jersey coastal fish indicated that one third of the sampled fish had levels of mercury above 0.5 parts per million, a level that could pose a human health concern for consumers who regularly eat this fish.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_in_fish
Fishing net pollution – “The study also found that fishing nets account for 46 percent of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets.” “Ghostnets, a term coined to describe purposely discarded or accidentally lost netting, drift through the ocean, entangling whales, seals, and turtles. An estimated 100,000 marine animals are strangled, suffocated, or injured by plastics every year.” https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/great-pacific-garbage-patch-plastics-environment/
Bycatch – “For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill” http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/
Modern day slavery – “Based on the six risk factors, we considered the top 20 fishing countries, which combined provide over 80 percent of the world’s fish catch. Slavery in these nations’ fisheries would thus profoundly impact the degree to which slave-dependent seafood exists in the global supply chain. Our analysis identified China, Japan, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand as being at high-risk of modern slavery in their respective fishing industries.” https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/importing-risk/fishing/
For more reasons, check out this post: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Fish
Not only is a plant-based diet better for animals, and the environment, it is also has benefits for humans including reducing world hunger. https://www.livekindly.co/plant-based-diets-erase-world-hunger/
A new report released by Our World in Data, featuring statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, highlighted how the food industry could feed vastly more people with plant-based diets, rather than raising livestock.
A chart included in the report breaks down the area of land on Earth by function and allocation, including land usage by animal agriculture and produce. “[T]he 11 million square kilometres used for crops supply more calories and protein for the global population than the almost 4-times larger area used for livestock,” noted the report.
According to the report, the land allocated for raising livestock — both for the animals themselves and the land used to grow livestock feed crops — is equivalent to the area of North, Central, and South America combined. This area equates to about half of the entire habitable land on the planet.
In contrast, land allocated to growing crops for human consumption — arable farming excluding livestock feed crops — is equivalent to East Asia-Pacific, ceasing South at Thailand.
Another report stated that swapping out meat in favor of plant-based food could feed an additional 350 million people.
Not According to scientists, we are living in the ‘’Holocene extinction”, also known as the “Sixth mass extinction”, which is largely due to human activity. Some of the causes of species extinction include hunting, deforestation, habitat destruction and overfishing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_extinctions_in_the_Holocene
Switching from animal agriculture to plant-based agriculture should slow the rate of species loss.
With a 2.5 percent rate of annual loss of insects over the last 25-30 years, “In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none,” he said. …The “root cause” of the problem is the intensification of agriculture over the past six decades. In turn, this leads to the worsening of other factors, such as pollution, the destruction of habitat, and the increasingly relentless use of synthetic pesticides.
Biodiversity loss: Agriculture ‘threatening 86% of at-risk species’, says major UN-backed report. Global food systems are the world’s biggest driver of nature loss and urgent systemic change to address this will result in an uptick of plant-based diets, according to a major news report.
Not only are slaughterhouses a place of violence and death for animals, but they have also been linked to increased crime rates in the surrounding areas. From the following study: http://animalstudies.msu.edu/Slaughterhouses_and_Increased_Crime_Rates.pdf
More than 100 years after Upton Sinclair denounced the massive slaughterhouse complex in Chicago as a “jungle,” qualitative case study research has documented numerous negative effects of slaughterhouses on workers and communities. Of the social problems observed in these communities, the increases in crime have been particularly dramatic. These increases have been theorized as being linked to the demographic characteristics of the workers, social disorganization in the communities, and increased unemployment rates. But these explanations have not been empirically tested, and no research has addressed the possibility of a link between the increased crime rates and the violent work that takes place in the meatpacking industry. This study uses panel analysis of 1994-2002 data on nonmetropolitan counties in states with “rightto-work” laws (a total of 581 counties) to analyze the effect of slaughterhouses on the surrounding communities using both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regression. The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a “Sinclair effect” unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.
Research shows there is a positive correlation between speciesism (the discrimination of animals), and other forms of prejudice such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Those who claim to oppose the latter, should also try to oppose the former (speciesism) to be more consistent. Choosing to value the differences between various species may help us to further value and appreciate the differences between people also. http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2018/02/the-psychology-of-speciesism-how-we-privilege-certain-animals-over-others/
Our relationship with animals is complex. There are some animals we treat very kindly; we keep them as pets, give them names, and take them to the doctor when they are sick. Other animals, in contrast, seem not to deserve this privileged status; we use them as objects for human consumption, trade, involuntary experimental subjects, industrial equipment, or as sources of entertainment. Dogs are worth more than pigs, horses more than cows, cats more than rats, and by far the most worthy species of all is our own one. Philosophers have referred to this phenomenon of discriminating individuals on the basis of their species membership as speciesism (Singer, 1975). Some of them have argued that speciesism is a form of prejudice analogous to racism or sexism.
Our research showed that the philosophers were right when they drew an analogy between speciesism and other forms of prejudice. Speciesism correlates positively with racism, sexism, and homophobia, and seems to be underpinned by the same socio-ideological beliefs. Similar to racism and sexism, speciesism appears to be an expression of Social Dominance Orientation: the ideological belief that inequality can be justified and that weaker groups should be dominated by stronger groups (Dhont, et al., 2016). In addition, speciesism correlates negatively with both empathy and actively open-minded thinking. Men are more likely to be speciesists than women. Yet, there are no correlations with age or education.
Perhaps not as important as some of the other reasons to go vegan, however, there are many ethical alternatives to just about every food or recipe that contains animal products, and pizzas are no exception.
Below is a list of examples and recipes to check out:
Land of Hope and Glory is a 2017 documentary made by vegan activist Earthling Ed, which is the UK version of ‘Earthlings’. It uncovers the hidden truth behind UK animal farming, and features approximately 100 facilities across the UK and never before seen undercover footage.
Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvtVkNofcq8
Some people criticise veganism and plant-based diets for being too restrictive or lacking in variety, however, in the case of vegan desserts there is a large variety and many classic desserts that contain animal products can replicated by simply swapping an ingredient or two with substitutes. Examples include: chocolate, yoghurts, ice cream, cookies, brownies, pancakes, apple crumble, and cheesecake to name but a few.
Sentience is the capacity to be aware of feelings and sensations, and is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘self-awareness’, or ‘consciousness’. The sentience of many animal species has been overlooked and neglected for much of history and this trend continues to this day. Below, are a list of some lesser known facts about the behaviour and sentience of various different animals, especially those that are routinely exploited or killed for human consumption.
One of the overlooked reasons to oppose factory farming and the killing of animals, is not just that they lose their lives for our taste and pleasure, but they are not even allowed to live a full life before they are killed. Below is a list of animals commonly used for food, with their typical slaughter age and their natural life span next to it for comparison.
From this website: https://www.farmtransparency.org/kb/48-age-animals-slaughtered
Chickens (male in egg industry): Typical Slaughter Age: 1 day / Natural Life Span: Up to 8 years
“Veal” calves: Typical Slaughter Age: 1-24 weeks / Natural Life Span: 15-20 years
Chickens (broilers/meat breeds): Typical Slaughter Age: 5-7 weeks / Natural Life Span: Up to 8 years*
Ducks: Typical Slaughter Age: 7-8 weeks / Natural Life Span: 6-8 years
Rabbits: Typical Slaughter Age: 10-12 weeks / Natural Life Span: 8-12 years
Goats: Typical Slaughter Age: 12-20 weeks / Natural Life Span: 12-14 years
Geese: Typical Slaughter Age: 15-20 weeks / Natural Life Span: 8-15 years
Turkeys: Typical Slaughter Age: 10-17 weeks / Natural Life Span: Up to 15 years*
Pigs: Typical Slaughter Age: 5-6 months / Natural Life Span: 10-12 years
Lambs: Typical Slaughter Age: 4-12 months / Natural Life Span: 12-14 years
“Beef” cattle: Typical Slaughter Age: 18 months / Natural Life Span: 15-20 years
Chickens (egg laying hens): Typical Slaughter Age: 18 months / Natural Life Span: Up to 8 years
Pigs (breeding sows): Typical Slaughter Age: 3-5 years / Natural Life Span: 10-12 years
Dairy cows: Typical Slaughter Age: 4 years / Natural Life Span: 15-20 years