The Difference You Make As A Vegan | The Impact Of Veganism
Author : Amal Rahiman
Can you really help save the planet if you, just you, turn vegan?
Let’s look at what research says:
30 animal lives saved.
620 pounds of CO2 emissions reduced.
913 square feet of forest protected.
And 33,481 gallons of water not wasted.
This is the impact ONE PERSON can make, by going vegan for just ONE MONTH.
Veganism is a lifestyle, usually followed by choice. Being vegan due to cultural factors or traditions is not very common. Something somewhere would have incited certain feelings in an individual to choose a vegan lifestyle.
The reasons can be both selfish and selfless (or ethical).
Selfish in the sense that it is purely for health reasons. A vegan lifestyle might have been recommended by a doctor, or an individual took a conscious decision to turn vegan after scrutinizing their declining health.
By selfless we mean to turn vegan, even when your health does not require you to change your diet. You could be an absolutely healthy human being, but the effects of a non-vegan diet on the environment, and the inherent animal cruelty, made you choose the vegan lifestyle.
Whatever the reason behind the change, the end result is the same.
Veganism benefits your individual health, helps save the environment, and reduces animal torture.
Being Vegan for the Animals
The age-old reason for turning vegan – animal cruelty. Before being a trendy dietary option, one of the main motivators to choose vegan was when people were finally exposed to the cruel realities of slaughterhouses, poultry, and dairy farms.
It should not be surprising to know that slaughterhouses are not the friendliest of places. But animal torture starts way before they even reach the slaughterhouse, it starts from their birth.
Cows are artificially inseminated throughout their reproductive years, to ensure a continuous supply of milk. The young calves are forcefully removed from their mothers, as farmers need to use the milk supply for human consumption. Thus, the calves are deprived of their mother’s milk, much needed for their growth and sustenance.
The mother cows do not live for a long time, as their body cannot sustain giving birth an unnatural number of times. Once they are deemed “useless” for milk, they are then taken to be slaughtered.
The male offspring of cows and chickens do not even get to the paltry few years as their female counterparts. This is because they cannot produce milk, or lay eggs, and thus are considered to be “waste”. They are killed at a very young age, with male calves being sold as veal, and male chicks simply killed and disposed of. Apparently, if humans cannot consume them, then they are not worth living.
Although you may find meat labelled “cage-free”, “free-range”, “ethically sourced”, and so on, it does not take away the fact that these animals are born to die. The sole purpose of breeding them and caring for them is to finally end up in the slaughterhouse. Also, there is no logical way to produce such a large amount of milk and eggs through natural ways. So, whether “cage-free” or not, they still lead a torturous life.
Being Vegan for the Environment
Greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, carbon footprint, wildlife extinction, environmental pollution – all of these can be significantly reduced by choosing a vegan lifestyle.
14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions are from farmed livestock alone. That amount is equal to all the car, train, and plane emissions from all over the world. Within this figure, most of the emissions are due to cows burping.
Yes, you read that right.
Cows belch out methane gas, a gas more powerful than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere, thereby increasing global warming. There is an actual study being done to find out if we can stop cows from burping out methane because sadly, that seems more possible than people actually quitting meat.
If we all decide to quit meat, food-based emissions would reduce by 70% in 2050, according to this report. 70%, just from food. Think about that for a moment.
Other than greenhouse gases, natural habitats are being destroyed to make way for man-made pastures and slaughterhouses. The waste produced from meat and dairy farming needs to be processed and dumped, which further leads to land, water, and air pollution.
Being Vegan and Healthy
There is no doubt about it that a proper vegan diet is rich in nutrients, low in cholesterol, and gut-friendly. By choosing a plant-based diet, there is a 32% reduced risk of heart diseases, as shown through research.
Eating plant-based foods leads to a diet that is rich in fiber content, which in turn leads to a happy gut. High fiber helps reduce inflammatory and digestive issues and can help in preventing certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Research also shows that young women consuming high-fiber diets tend to have a 25% less likely chance of getting breast cancer. Phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, also aid in cancer prevention.
You might have heard of the many amazing benefits of antioxidants for your skin. Fortunately, a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and nuts is packed with antioxidants that are missing in an animal-based diet. Being vegan takes care of your skin as well!
In conclusion, Veganism is the “single biggest way” to reduce our carbon footprint.
Can it save humanity from all diseases? Maybe not all diseases. But if there is a significant reduction in cancer and heart diseases, why not give it a try and see for yourself.
Can it save animals? Yes, to the greatest of extent.
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