Since the vegan movement started in the 1940s, it has been mainly about ending the exploitation of animals. While veganism has grown in numbers throughout the decades, let’s face it: most people simply don’t care about animals enough to stop using them as food. But animal welfare is only one reason to go vegan. Other than the animals, here are some of the many reasons why I am vegan and you should be too.
Veganism Is Feminism
Veganism is based on the principle of speciesism, or the belief that no species (in this case, humans) is inherently superior to another species.
This concept is closely related to sexism, as well as racism, classism, ableism, heterosexualism, and the other “isms” that plague society. If you allow the belief that humans are superior to animals and thus it is okay to exploit them, then you make room for the belief that men are superior to women and so forth. To quote Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple:
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.”
Veganism Is Good for the Planet
Unless you’ve been solely tuned to Fox News, you are probably aware by now that global warming is a serious problem. The 2014 UN report on climate change said that we can expect famine, drought, and wars over resources by 2050 if climate change isn’t halted.
While the media focuses on things like taking shorter shower and using public transportation as a way to curb the eminent doom that is global warming, they often fail to mention what really needs to be done, which is to change the way we eat.
“It will be hard to meet the 2-degree goal no matter what; it will be impossible if livestock pollution isn’t part of the mix,” Doug Boucher, PhD ecologist and evolutionary biologist and director of climate research and analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists told CNN,
How bad is meat and dairy for the planet? According to FAO, 18 percent of global emissions come from livestock. Lindsay Wilson from Shrink that Footprint looked at the eco footprints of various diets in America, and he found that the average American has a footprint of 2.5 tCO2e per year (tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) and a meat lover has a footprint of 3.3 tCO2e. By contrast, a vegan footprint is just 1.5 tCO2e!
Or, to put this in terms of water usage, 1lb of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water. Do the math and you’ll see that the water used to make 10 hamburgers is well over a year’s worth of showers.
Veganism Is Good for Your Health
Yes, there are some nutritional issues about the vegan diet which need to be considered (but protein isn’t one of them!). And, yes, it is possible to eat nothing but junk food and still be vegan. However, numerous studies have shown that the vegan diet is linked to numerous health benefits, including:
Lower Body Weight: People who eat meat are 9 times more likely to be obese than vegans.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: Vegans are 32 pecent less likely to get heart disease.
Diabetes: Vegans have half the risk of developing type II diabetes as meat eaters.
So, even if you don’t care about animal welfare, go vegan for your fellow man (and woman) kind, the planet, and for yourself!