Why Going Vegan Was A Natural Choice- After Finding Out These Shocking Facts
Veganism is increasingly the focus of media interest. More and more people are making the change to avoid animal products, shops are changing their product lines to meet demand for plant-based alternative foods, and articles about the benefits of going vegan or how to make the change easily are on the rise.
I went vegan last year and people frequently ask me why, so I thought I’d share the five main reasons why going vegan was a natural (although difficult!) choice for me:
The way that animals are treated and killed in the meat, dairy and egg industry is barbaric. Thanks to dishonest marketing we often picture rolling green fields with happy lambs skipping about with their mothers or chickens wandering around farms with workers picking up eggs behind them as they lay.
The truth is that in the egg industry, male chicks are thrown into a grinder or tied in plastic bags to suffocate as soon as they are born, because they won’t produce eggs.
It’s not like this…
It’s like this. These are ‘free range’ chickens.
Female pigs are put into tight metal crates laying on their side- their piglets can just about get to their teats but they can’t move or help any of their babies and piglets often die and lay strewn around the crates.
Cows are milked so much that pus and blood comes out of their udders; there is actually an allowance as to how much pus and blood is allowed in each pint of milk, because it is unavoidable. They are over milked to an awful degree; in 1970 one dairy cow would produce on average 9,700 lb of milk per year- now they are forced to produce 19,000 lb. When they eventually collapse from exhaustion they have their throats cut.
Animals are never anaesthetised before having their throats slit. They are sometimes ‘stunned’ but this frequently goes wrong. Either way, they are hung upside down in agony as they bleed out. This is our steak, burgers, sausages, this is what happens to make them (in the UK, not in some far-off country- this is how we get OUR meat).
The health claims surrounding meat and dairy are frequently twisted, overstated, understated or lied about. Yes, meat provides protein (so do lentils, tofu, beans, pasta and a ton of other stuff). It also contains cancerous tissue and parasites which the factories do not cut out. It also contains hormones and antibiotics that the animals are given, as well as pesticides from their rubbish food. Processed meats such as sausages are now classed as a type 1 carcinogen, the same as smoking. It’s seriously bad stuff. We know it contributes to giving us colon cancer.
Milk is literally a hormonal fluid designed to cause calves to grow at a rapid rate into cows- it contains growth hormones that are not good for us and has been strongly linked to breast cancer (ironic, right?) As long as meat and dairy companies know that people doubt the benefits of a vegan diet and as long as there is doubt about how bad these products are for us, the happier they are and the more cash lines their pockets.
Human slavery is alive and well in the 21st century and the meat, egg and dairy industry pays for it. If you’ve recently eaten fish or prawns from Thailand (and how often do we check where our produce comes from?) chances are slavery will have been involved in the catching or cleaning of those products. People are kidnapped and kept hostage on fishing boats, kept out to sea for months, beaten, raped and killed on the boats. This is happening today, for food that ends up in our every day supermarkets. The Happy Egg company, one of the more ‘wholesome’ looking egg companies, among others, was found to be using trafficked slaves on their farms. Workers in abbatoirs also have a far higher rate of injury at work and PTSD than in other industries; unsurprisingly, give that their job is to do things to animals that would get us arrested if we did it in the street.
Consuming meat and dairy puts money into an industry that exploits poor people. Small farms are bought up to make way for animal feed crops, pushing families away from subsistence farming and into a corporate wheel that cares about profit, not them or the environment. In the US, property near pig farms is occupied by the poorest, mainly black members of the community because of the spray of faeces and urine that rains down on them like a mist from the farms as they process the waste products. Babies are suffering from respiratory diseases because we want bacon; as I went vegan I realised there was no way I could look their parents in the face and say meat was worth it.
Our planet is being destroyed at a shocking rate, and a huge chunk of the destruction is down to our consumption of meat and dairy. The rainforest is being cut down at an acre per second (that’s over 80,000 acres every day) to make way for animal feed crops; this simply isn’t sustainable. It takes 100 calories of grain to produce just 3 calories of beef, and 15,000 litres of water to produce just 1kg of beef, compared to 180 litres for 1kg of tomatoes or 250 litres for 1kg of potatoes. An average family of four used 400 gallons of water for their daily needs- showering, flushing the toilet, washing dishes, etc. By adding just four cheeseburgers to that, their consumption goes up to 7000 gallons. The meat producing process is incredibly resource intensive- It’s a huge waste of both food and water.
So there are the five reasons that motivated me to go vegan, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
What really helped to make the process easier were <<– These 10 Simple Vegan Hacks –>> – if you are thinking of reducing your meat or dairy consumption I would definitely recommend you check it out!