Now is a fantastic time to go Vegan. With more meat alternatives and reasons to do it than ever before why wouldn’t you? But maybe you have a family member that needs a little convincing. Or maybe you still need a bit of convincing yourself. Here are 11 reasons to become vegan right now. They’ll make you think twice about your meat loving diet.
Animal Agriculture is a Large Contributor to Climate Change
You may think that your car contributes more to climate change every day than your diet, but if you eat meat that simply isn’t the case. Somewhere between 14 and 51 percent of global greenhouse emissions are from animals raised for food depending on which study you’re looking at. Either way that’s a lot of methane being produced.
Poor Living Conditions For Animals
According to One Green Planet, in the U.S., 99.9 percent of chickens for meat, 97 percent of laying hens, 99 percent of turkeys, 95 percent of pigs, and 78 percent of cattle are raised on factory farms. This means that a staggering number of the animals you eat never get the chance to feel grass under their feet, the wind on their skin, or the joy of frolicking. They’re given small spaces to live where they cannot possibly hope to run around. Mothers and babies are separated almost immediately, especially cows. Chickens are slaughtered after they pass their prime egg-laying years, cutting their lives drastically short. Does it matter if they never get to see grass? Watch this video of cows seeing grass for the first time in just six months to decide. They’re literally jumping for joy.
Meat Means Loss of Habitat
Raising animals takes up a lot of land. Not only do you need the space for the animals and their waste you also have to feed them. Feeding them is incredibly costly in terms of land. It takes seven pounds of feed to create one pound of beef. In fact cattle are the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon and many other places around the globe. As much as 80% of deforestation is to make space for agriculture. Much of that geared towards raising cattle. Deforestation isn’t just bad for the trees. It also leads to a loss of habitat for local wildlife. All of this is contributing to the current mass extinction of life on Earth. It’s called the Anthropocene Extinction by scientists, meaning it is a man-made extinction.
You may have heard about the crisis that bananas are currently facing. Bananas as we know them are being demolished by a blight. In the near future the world may not have any bananas left. Why might this be the end of bananas? The lack of biodiversity. The world’s banana growers have all been producing the big bright yellow bananas that people of come to know and love. But this has meant that other types of bananas, the less attractive ones, the ones that are harder to eat or grow…these have all been allowed to die. The loss of habitat is also contributing to the loss in biodiversity. Wild types of plants are being killed off. Meaning when a blight hits the banana crop there isn’t another type of banana on hand for the world to switch to. It means the end of bananas. If people weren’t spending so much time and space producing meat there would be greater biodiversity in the world and we would be better for it.
Humans Don’t Need Meat
You most likely grew up being told you needed a well balanced diet to keep healthy. You might have even assumed that meant that you had to eat a healthy amount of all different types of foods. But in reality you don’t need to eat meat at all. A well thought out, well-planned vegan diet can provide everything you need to be healthy and happy. Consider this, aside from breast milk babies are typically on diets of pureed fruits and vegetables for their early lives. It isn’t until they get older and their diets conform to their parent’s diets that they start consuming meat. Leading heath boards in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the United States have all agreed that vegan diets are viable for all age groups. In fact there are a number of health benefits.
Processed Meat Increase Risk of Cancer, So Does Red Meat
The World Health Organization (WHO) has come out with evidence that processed meat and red meats are both carcinogenic to humans. This simply means that they increase your chances of getting cancer. Processed meats like ham, bacon, beef jerky and sausages are classified as Group 1 carcinogens. This means that the evidence of them causing cancer is on the same level as cigarettes and asbestos. Red meats are a Group 2A carcinogen, meaning there is less evidence of the connection between the red meat and cancer. In this case, red meat refers to mammalian muscle; cow, pig, sheep, goat, and horse are included. If you want to learn more about all of this the WHO have put together a helpful FAQ to clear up misconceptions and concerns.
It’s Good For You
Studies have shown time and time again that a plant-based diet is incredibly good for you. Not only are you avoiding the cancer risks mentioned above you’re also lowering your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Also, you’ll have a longer life expectancy. On average vegans are 30 pounds lighter than their meat-eating peers, giving them a much healthier BMI. A study from Loma Linda University showed that Vegetarians are 36% less likely to have metabolic syndrome which can be a precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. What is metabolic syndrome? It’s when you have 3 out of 5 risk factors; high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high glucose levels, elevated triglycerides, and an unhealthy waist circumference.
It’s Easier to do Now Than It Ever Has Been
Today it is easier than it has ever been to go vegan. As more and more people embrace the vegan lifestyle it becomes easier to do it. Go to any bookstore and you can find dozens of vegan cookbooks. The fast food industry is even getting on board with Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts carrying plant based milks, and the likes of Subway and Chipotle which offer plant only options on their menus. Meatless-meat, dairy-free cheese, plant-based milk, eggless-eggs, all of these can be found in grocery stores today. Even ethical fashion is on the rise. With more comfortable non-leather shoes on the market than ever before and vegan clothes appearing in departments stores dressing vegan is easier than ever.
The Cost of Meat is Rising
The cost of meat has been slowly rising for a long time now as the production of meat gets more expensive. Some of this is climate related as grazing becomes more difficult during droughts. Diseases from poor living conditions are also having an impact as entire herds are destroyed to contain diseases. Supply is down and demand is climbing as more people are born each year. You can avoid that all together by going vegan.
Decreasing Your Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint of a vegetarian is half that of a meat eater’s. This is all down to the production and shipping of meat. Meat, cheeses, and eggs have the highest carbon footprint. The emissions from the creation of one-kilogram lamb is equal to driving 91 miles, making it the largest carbon footprint. In comparison for the same amount of beef, you’re looking at 63 miles. The highest vegetable? The potato, which 1 kilo equals driving 7 miles. If you’re interested in reading more about the carbon footprints of different foods check out Green Eatz who have a fantastic breakdown of different foods.
It’s the Moral Thing to Do
Animal cruelty, carbon emissions, biodiversity, loss of habitat for local wildlife…all of these leads to one conclusion. Going Vegan is the moral thing to do. One area that hasn’t been touched on yet though is the impact on humanity. People working on massive farms and in processing factories are often extremely underpaid and exposed to deadly illnesses. Farmers and other agricultural workers are exposed to all sorts of hazards, especially respiratory. Chickens and pigs are especially harmful to your lungs and chronic bronchitis is on the rise amongst farmers at the same time smoking is on the decline. With fewer people eating meat fewer people would be exposing themselves to this issues.