That’s OK, not everyone cares about animals.
But do you care about your health and about living long enough to see your children grow up? A vegan diet is associated with lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.1 Research shows that vegans also tend to live longer.2
Do you care about leaving a planet for your grandchildren that is inhabitable and safeguarding their future? Animal agriculture – and therefore eating animal products – is one of the leading drivers of climate change but we can reduce our own personal greenhouse gas emissions by 30-50 percent if we become vegan.3 Climate change is serious. Rising temperatures will likely lead to increased air pollution, a longer and more intense allergy season, the spread of insect-borne diseases, more frequent and dangerous heat waves, heavier rainstorms and inland flooding.4 Rising seas will cause coastal flooding and whole communities in low-lying areas could lose their homes, while droughts will put pressure on harvests and could disrupt our food supply.5
Do you care about our wild spaces and allowing nature to flourish? Animal agriculture is a leading driver of deforestation,6 which drives wild species to extinction. Since 1970, 60 percent of wild animal populations have been lost7 and climate change is exacerbating this. Wildfires decimate habitats and higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will make the oceans both warmer and more acidic, and this will threaten the survival of marine life.8
Do you care about equality of opportunities and ensuring that the world’s poorest have enough food to eat? The trouble with animal agriculture is it uses so many resources and gives so little in return. For example, it uses 83 percent of all agricultural land, but it gives just 18 percent of our calories.9 One third of the world’s cereal harvest and 70 per cent of the world’s soy harvest10 is fed to farmed animals but if we instead made those crops available to people we could feed the whole world quite easily and no one need ever go hungry.
Do you care about people in your community who do the job of slaughtering animals that you wouldn’t do yourself? There is a significant psychological toll that people endure when they are asked to slaughter animals every day. Slaughterhouse workers are at increased risk of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and PITS (perpetration-induced traumatic stress). These men and women suffer because we ask them to do a distressing and traumatising job that we would not do ourselves. Slaughterhouse work has also been connected to an increase in crime rates, including higher incidents of domestic abuse, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, which creates many more human victims.11
Veganism isn’t just about being kind to animals. It’s about being kind to all.
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1 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ‘Position of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets’, 2016 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886704]