At the end of 2011 I went vegan. Having been a vegetarian since birth I was surprised to discover that giving up dairy was such a big step for me; but it was a step I had to make, as I was becoming a vegan for ethical reasons. While transitioning into a vegan diet, the craving for milk products was the biggest challenge I had to overcome. However, whenever I struggled, I remembered the animals that were suffering when I consumed dairy products, simply to please my taste buds. This made me feel guilty and that is how I got over my craving for dairy products, and evolved into a vegan. It is scary how addictive dairy products can be.
Going vegan was the best decision that I have ever made. Going vegan not only helps the animals, but also the environment, plus it is very beneficial to one’s health.
We all need food to survive, but our food should not be the result of animal suffering. Animal agriculture industry destroys both animal lives and the environment. Why do we ignore the plight of farm animals and fish when we speak of love and compassion? Most people appreciate love and compassion as long as it does not stand in way of their lifestyle. But unfortunately it’s a parasitic way of living, which they refuse to see.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 60 billion animals are killed each year for human consumption, and horrifically those figures do not include the billions of fish caught illegally nor ‘unwanted’ sentient beings accidentally caught and discarded. Nor do they count fish impaled on hooks as bait. We put them through hell, torturing them and slaughtering them in billions every year, which is completely unnecessary and very much avoidable. They should not pay with their lives to be on our plates.
And when it comes to farm animals, some people use the term ‘humane slaughter’. There is no such thing as ‘humane slaughter’.
Let’s consider this example: If someone sedates and kills a human, it will be considered as a homicide, regardless of how humanely he/she was killed. Why should it be any different for animals?
Free-range or factory farm, the end result of both is that animals are killed to be on our plates. There is nothing humane in murdering other beings.
Plants have feelings too?
Speaking of animal lives, the argument that most non-vegans put forth is: plants are lives and they have feelings too.
Matter of fact, even if plants do have feelings, far more plants are killed to provide food for farm animals. If we exclude animal products from our diet, more plants will be saved.
However, there is a big difference between plants and animals. Of course plants are lives too. But we humans need plants to survive. Plants do not have a central nervous systems. Unlike plants, animals are sentient beings. For example, if we pluck an apple from a tree, it will grow again, but if we chop the limbs of a lamb, the poor animal will bleed to death.
Impact on environment
Animal agriculture is the foremost cause of rain forest destruction and global warming, as a whole. CO2 emissions and methane emissions are major reasons for global warming. Livestock and their byproduct account for at least 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emission.
More reasons to go vegan
Its not just about animals and environment, there are more reasons for one to go vegan.
Are we carnivore?
Often people compare humans with carnivores, but our bodies are not designed to be a carnivore. Our teeth are similar to herbivores and not like any carnivore. But these aren’t the only reasons for one to go vegan.
Solution for world Hunger
Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. Going vegan will save lots of feed as well as water, which also means more land to grow food to end world hunger.
The United Nations too has urged the world to go vegan.
Good for health
A plant-based diet also is beneficial to our own health, while meat and dairy products being the foremost cause of heart diseases in humans.
Even if some people go vegan for health rather than ethical reasons, I would say it’s still a good thing as it saves lives. It also helps them see the bigger picture. It increases the chances for them to evolve into ethical vegans. Who knows, they might eventually turn into activists!
Is veganism nothing but a mere diet change?
No it’s not! Most people misunderstand, thinking that veganism is all about diet, but it is lot more than just a mere diet change. Living on a plant based diet could be considered as being vegan as long as you do not cause any intentional harm to other lives, but if you have a plant based diet and wear fur or support captivity or indulge in cruel activities like trophy hunting, then you are not a vegan, but a hypocrite and a speciesist.
Veganism is a way of life with love and compassion being the foundation. It is all about love and compassion extended to all beings, and a moral commitment for life.
— HappyCow Guide (@HappyCow) February 27, 2016
Are vegans superior?
Some believe that we vegans think we are superior.
In reality, vegans know that we are not superior to any other being on this planet; that is the very reason we chose our vegan lifestyle.
We are just like anyone else on this planet; we are far from being holy. We aren’t perfect, but we just try and reduce our impact on this planet and our fellow earthlings.
Do vegans hate non-vegans?
Each vegan is a different individual with their unique views. In my opinion, there is no room for hatred in veganism as the whole movement is based on love and compassion.
However, we do feel frustrated when people look down on animals as a lesser being or a product, while they are sentient beings just like we humans are.
Some people say, vegans force their beliefs on other people and expect them to live a life of discipline. And they also accuse vegans of making people feel guilty to bring the change in them.
But we do not force our beliefs on anyone. All we do is to make people aware that what they eat is not food but violence, and we try to make them aware of the poor animals ‘who’ had their whole life ahead of them to live to the full, but were prematurely murdered to be on their plate.
Animals are not ‘something’ but someone.
Most of all, they are not ours to use as we like. They have every right to exist on this planet, just like we do.
Vegans do not claim to be saints. And to be a vegan it does not require saint-like discipline. All it needs is the same discipline that takes for us not to murder another human.
We humans have been destroying this planet, without regret. But this has to change before its too late.
— Dmitry Lysenko (@DmitryLysenko3) February 24, 2016
A vegan world is what we dream of, and work on. It is the path for a peaceful world, where love and compassion matters more than anything else.
Go vegan for animals, for the planet and for your own health, and be the change you want to to see on this planet.
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(Special thanks to Gill Redfearn for her valuable time to proof read this article for me)
(The same has been published in http://www.viva.org.uk/blog/being-vegan )