“Animals are bred to be eaten.”
“We evolved to eat meat.”
Sound familiar? Chances are, as a meat-eater, you’ve found yourself using at least one of the above reasons when faced with a vegan who consumes no animals products at all. As a vegan, I am faced with a huge range of soundbites like the above, from the genuinely curious (“Where do you get your protein from?”) to the downright ridiculous (“Plants have feelings too!”) – I’ve heard them all. So, I challenge you, open your mind, and your heart, and check out the following five reasons to give up animal products for good.
- “Animals are bred to be eaten”
Indeed, animals are bred to be eaten. Well, some are. Cats, dogs, rabbit, guinea pigs… let’s just say pets in general, are not bred to be eaten. However, cows, pigs, chickens, geese and sheep are all bred to be eaten and/or used commercially for clothing, household goods, medical testing etc. In Western society, that is.
Every year, the Yulin Dog Festival occurs in China, where between 10-15,000 dogs are killed, cooked and eaten. To put this in context, every year in the UK approximately 2.6 million cows, 10 million pigs, 14.5 million sheep and lambs, 80 million fish and 950 million birds are slaughtered for human consumption.
Why does the idea of people eating dogs on the other side of the world enrage people so much? Yet farm animals die in the millions every year for a few seconds of a taste. This doesn’t seem right to me, and it shouldn’t to you, either.
As a population, we are breeding animals to kill and eat. This is true, what is also true is that animals suffer in slaughterhouses: chicks are sorted by gender, as males are ground up and disposed of, females are de-beaked (so they do not peck each other to death), and fed antibiotics to minimise the spread of disease as they live in their own waste for around 30 short days (if they’re lucky, if they’re unlucky their legs will give up due to their unbearable body weight and their peers will eat their corpses) and finally they will be killed, de-feathered and cleaned before being shipped to the supermarket for you to purchase.
I ask you this: is it better to live 30 days of torture and disease, or to never live at all? I’ll leave you to ponder that one as we move onto the next reason…
2. “We evolved to eat meat”
It’s true. We did evolve to eat meat. Over a period of thousands of years, we developed as hunter-gatherers, we ate what we could find and, sometimes, that would mean hunting a living animal to ensure survival. Survival being the key word here. With around 70 billion land animals reared and killed in factory farms each year, we can’t exactly say we are ‘hunting to survive’ can we?
That’s not to mention the health problems that have appeared as a result of our meat-heavy diets over the last 50 years. The World Health Organisation has named processed meat a class one carcinogen – that’s on par with alcohol and cigarettes, while red meat (even your favourite grass-fed steak) is a class two carcinogen.
Putting processed and red meat aside, all animal products, even dairy and eggs, are closely linked with inflammation in the human body. When you consume an animal product, your pituitary gland produces IGF-1, a growth hormone processed by your liver, which “can promote abnormal growth—the proliferation, spread (metastasis), and invasion of cancer.” Basically, IGF-1 + cancer go together like two peas in a horrible pod. No thanks!
3. “One person won’t make a difference, so why bother!”
This is not true. Veganism is spreading like wildfire across the developed world, with the number of vegans growing in the UK by 360% in the last decade – one person certainly can make a difference. As soon as you choose a veggie burger over a quarter pounder, or almond milk over cow’s milk, you are sending a message to the corporations to say this is your preference.
Business works by supply and demand – if demand for animal products goes down, which it is, this will affect the supply chain. Less animals will be bred to be slaughtered, less cows will be forcibly impregnated and milked to agony, and less of our wonderful sealife will be destroyed as by-kill for your prawn toast (5lb of by-kill for every 1lb of seafood, by the way).
So, one person can make a difference – a huge one! Since I went vegan in March 2017, I have saved an estimated:
- 132,000 gallons of water
- 4,800lb of grain
- 3,600 sq ft of forest
- 2,400 lb of Co2
- 120 animal lives
(According to The Vegan Calculator)
4. “Plants feel pain too”
Sigh. This one is silly but thought I’d cover it briefly. Plants have no cerebral cortex, nor do they have a central nervous system. As far as we know, they do not feel pain. But let’s assume they do, for argument’s sake. Around 85% of the world’s soybeans are harvested and fed to animals. It is estimated that around 95% of the world’s crops are for animal consumption, in fact there is enough land on this planet to grow food for 10 billion people, yet around 1 billion people are going hungry. Cattle and beef alone take up around 27% of the plant’s land.
So, if plants have feelings too – then we could do a lot less damage by eating them ourselves, instead of feeding them to animals along with between 34-74 trillion gallons of water annually, we’d be causing a lot less harm to those precious plants, wouldn’t we?
5. “I could never give up [insert animal product here]!”
Believe it or not, vegan food is not just salad! Vegans eat pizzas, burgers, ice cream, cakes, cookies, pasta, nachos, curry… the list is endless. Using apps like Happy Cow and Trip Advisor, you will discover the fantastic plant-based offerings on your doorstep, with recipes from the likes of the Minimalist Baker and Thug Kitchen, you can enjoy fantastically filling and indulgent food – without the death or suffering.
Once the seed is planted, it’s difficult to ignore. If you could live a life that causes less harm to both yourself, the environment and animals, then what more could you want? Eat life, not death: start your journey today!
Thanks for reading 🙂