Photo from the amazing vegan activist, Tally, who was saying goodbye to some beautiful babies at a slaughter house vigil on the 3rd of September 2017.
On a regular basis I get asked why I’m vegan and the reasons behind my decision, but I often, however, find it hard to think of all the reasons at once and get a decent ‘argument’ together. So I thought I’d collate my perfect answer on here – after all, there are many reasons that influenced my decision – and answer some of the frequently asked questions/statements us vegans receive daily.
For the Animals
Of course this is the most common, and most obvious answer most vegans will give. I guaranteed if you asked everyone in the UK if they were against animal abuse about 90% would definitely say yes, but what they really mean is that they’re against the abuse of domestic animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, not the pigs and cows that end up on their plate – which are actually a lot smarter than their beloved dogs. Why love one and kill the other? I just don’t see the point in destroying an innocent animal for the sake of 30 seconds of pleasure for your taste buds? Especially when vegan food is just as satisfying, but without the blood on your hands. And to anyone who says the animals don’t know that is going to happen to them when they’re sent to die, please watch the following, and look at the featured photo, the fear in their eyes is so prominent…
For the Human Race
The amount of food that is grown for animals in a year could potentially cure world hunger (1), so why not remove the middle man (or animal, in this case)? To me, it’s a no brainer.
For the Planet
‘A cow does on overage release between 70 and 120 kg of Methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore the release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2’300 kg CO2 per year.
Let’s compare this value of 2’300 kg CO2: The same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) is generated by burning 1’000 liters of petrol. With a car using 8 liters of petrol per 100 km, you could drive 12’500 km per year (7’800 miles per year).
World-wide, there are about 1.5 billion cows and bulls. All ruminants (animals which regurgitates food and re-chews it) on the world emit about two billion metric tons of CO2-equivalents per year. In addition, clearing of tropical forests and rain forests to get more grazing land and farm land is responsible for an extra 2.8 billion metric tons of CO2 emission per year!
Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.’ (2)
The USDA estimates that the area of Brazil that is devoted to cultivating soy plantations will reach 30 million hectares by 2020. That’s an area the same size as the Philippines. Over 80 percent of agricultural lands in Paraguayan region of Gran Chaco are devoted to soy. Worldwide, the size of land that is devoted to soy cultivation reaches an area the size of Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands … combined.
While soy is popularly associated with a variety of dairy-free and meat-free products, such as soy milk, soy cheese and the illustrious tofu, the bulk of the world’s soy is NOT consumed by people. Around 70 percent of the world’s soy is fed directly to livestock and only six percent of soy is turned into human food, which is mostly consumed in Asia. The rest of soy is turned into soybean oil. (3)
For My Health
‘The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, bacon and frankfurts – as a Group 1 carcinogen which means that there is strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork has been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer. Cancer Council estimates that in 2010, one in six (or 2600) new bowel cancer cases in Australia were associated with consuming too much red meat and processed meat.’ (4) If you knew the risks, why would you willingly eat this stuff? Since being vegan I’ve felt SO much healthier, have more energy, and my skin has cleared up and my hair has grown even longer and thicker (I’m surprised that’s even possible). More and more athletes (such as David Haye, Venus and Serena Williams and handfuls of NFL players) are increasingly turning to vegan diets to improve their fitness (5).
FAQ’s and Statements Made Towards Vegans:
- How do you get your protein in?
PLANTS are the answer – I easily hit 130 grams of protein a day. After all, all protein is derived from plants – where do you think animals get their protein from in the first place? They aren’t just born with it, they have to consume it like us! Here are some examples of vegans who definitely aren’t lacking their protein.
- How do you get your vitamin B12?
‘It is true that vitamin B12 is found in animal foods, and plant foods contain very little. However, animals do not have the ability to manufacture vitamin B12, so the presence of B12 in animal foods is not because of some superior characteristic of the food source. In fact, it is bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of animals that produce vitamin B12. Therefore, any B12 present in animal foods is only because of bacterial contamination.’ (6) I’ve never struggled to hit any of my vitamins/minerals such as B12, iron etc. and even if you’re concerned about these, there are non-animal derived supplements that you can take.
- How do you get calcium in your diet?
The tofu that I eat (Cauldron) has 100% of your daily calcium needs in only 200 grams. So it’s easy to get to get your calcium, along with drinking dairy free milks like soya, oat, hemp, cashew, almond, hazelnut… the list goes on!
- But being vegan is expensive, how do you afford it?
As I student I lived off £15 a week (easily) as a vegan. Vegetables, beans (kidney, chickpeas etc.), lentils, pasta, potatoes (and even the odd veggie burger) aren’t expensive in the slightest. Some of the poorest countries in the world are in-fact vegan.
- How do you know a vegan is a vegan?
Don’t worry, a family member (or friend) will tell you. Since being vegan I’ve not once told people I don’t know that I’m vegan… but don’t worry, before you even enter the room someone would have made them aware that you’re vegan – trust me, happens every time!
- Do I miss meat?
No. The thought of eating a dead carcass or it’s bodily fluids makes me feel physically sick.
- But don’t cows need to be milked?
No, the only reason cows produce milk is because they’re constantly forced to be pregnant and then give birth. Like humans, cows only produce milk when pregnant, so as you can imagine the life of a dairy cow is somewhat bleak. The calves that are then born (if male . they are rendured ‘useless’ because they can’t produce milk) are stripped from their mothers, kept in small cages (this happens in the UK, too) then will be killed after only living a few months on earth: example.
- If you’re going to eat fake meat, you may as well eat real meat?
No, because I don’t want to eat ground up body parts. And ‘fake meat’ for example, as sausage, doesn’t look like a dead animal… even real sausages don’t look like an animal, they’re processed so much that they don’t even resemble body parts anymore, hence why people become so detached from the idea that their food once pooped.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, would you eat meat?
No, because this would never happen. And even IF it did, I would do exactly what this lady did and eat a vegan diet of berries and mushrooms and survive nicely without causing the unnecessary suffering of others.
- If we stopped eating animals wouldn’t their populations keep growing?
No, it’s called supply and demand. Even now, the demand is already dropping and farmers are now switching from live-stock to crop farming, and dairy farmers are now switching to plant-based alternatives (7). This also just wouldn’t be the case as live-stock don’t reproduce on their own, they’re artificially inseminated (in rape-racks) on a supply and demand basis… so the only way their populations would increase rapidly is if all the males and females were suddenly all placed in one field to live – if no one bought meat anymore, animals wouldn’t be bred for it, simple.
- Is honey vegan?
‘Honey is made by bees for bees, and their health is sacrificed when it is harvested by humans’. Honey is the honey bees’ single source of food and essential nutrients during poorer weather and the winter months. After returning to the hive, the pollen regurgitated and chewed by ‘house bees’ to complete the honey-making process. The hive works as a collective to provide each member with an adequate supply, each bee producing just a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime: significantly less than most people would expect.Claims that consuming honey helps the honey bee population thrive are not true. When farmers remove honey from a hive, they replace it with a sugar substitute which is significantly worse for the bees’ health since it lacks the essential nutrients, fats and vitamins of honey. The bees then exhaust themselves by working to replace the missing honey. During the removal of honey, the bees can die after stinging the farmers.Honey bees are specifically bred to increase productivity. Already endangered, this selective breeding narrows the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large-scale die-offs. Diseases are also caused by importing different species of bees for use in hives.In addition, many hives are culled post-harvest to keep farmer costs down. Queen bees often have their wings clipped by beekeepers to prevent them leaving the hive to produce a new colony elsewhere, which would decrease productivity and lessen profit.’ (8)
- But I know a vegan who wears leather?
Then they’re not vegan, or it may be vegan leather. They may eat a ‘vegan’ diet, but that would make them plant based, not vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle that sees that humans don’t use animals (or bi-products) for their own gain – e.g. eating them, wearing them, use products tested on animals (which include your beloved dogs) and partaking in activities such as horse riding or going to the zoo. Animals are not here to serve us.
- But I buy free range eggs?
After hatching, male and female chicks are separated as only the female chicks will grow up to lay eggs. Because they cannot lay eggs, male chicks are of no subsequent use to the egg industry. They are killed, therefore, at about one day old. The most common methods of slaughter are gassing, suffocating, crushing, or grinding alive. Male chicks inevitably make up a significant number of all hatched eggs, and we can only guesstimate how many hundred million are killed this way (every year) as no one deems their short lives important enough to record. They are not included in the over 945 million slaughtered each year in the UK (as recorded by DEFRA).
Egg production peaks when a hen is around one to two years of age. When a hen is no longer productive enough for a farm’s needs she is usually killed for low-grade meat, far earlier than her natural life span of around seven or eight years. Free-range hens are still regarded as ‘egg producing machines’, and are slaughtered as soon as they cease to be profitable.’ (9) YES THIS HAPPENS HERE IN THE UK!!You may also eat eggs from your own chickens, so what would happen to the eggs if you left them? Hens often eat their own eggs because they contain key nutrients they need to grow and be healthy, so they wouldn’t be ‘wasted’ if you didn’t take them.
- But I don’t like vegan food?
Unless you eat a 100% meat diet (which I doubt you do – and if you do please go to a doctors) then you would have eaten vegan food. Fries, oreos, vegetables and pasta are some very simple examples…
Further Reading/Educational Films:
Books: ‘Eating Animals’, ‘Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World’
Documentaries: ‘Dominion’, ‘Dairy is Scary’, ‘Cowspiracy’, What The Health’, ‘Vegucated’, ‘Forks Over Knives’, ‘Earthlings’, ‘The Cove’, ‘Meat the Truth’
Want any help on becoming vegan or reducing your meat intake? Just send me a message and I’ll do my best to give you lots of helpful tips and advice!
If you’ve got to here, thank you so much for reading. If you’re not vegan, I know it can be hard to see and hear these things.