There’s a lot of information about veganism on the internet. My boyfriend and I are vegan, as are most of our friends.

Wikipedia clearly defines a vegan as a “fucking awesome human being,” however thorough investigation online will uncover more detail –

“A vegan is a person who knowingly chooses not to consume, use or wear any products produced from animals or containing animal by-products and avoids products tested on animals. Vegans do not eat meat (fish, shellfish, livestock or poultry), eggs, dairy products, honey, gelatine or use leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics or soaps derived from animal products.”


So why choose to be vegan?

There is a huge social change coming – the challenges of this age are big, but not insurmountable. Veganism is one of the fundamental changes that can, and will, determine the quality of our human future. Expect to hear more and more about it in the years to come. You see, the human situation, has changed.

Seven years back, I learned that people don’t need to eat animal products to survive and thrive, and in fact, that if we omit animal products from our diet we can enjoy improved health outcomes.

When I discovered this, and how horribly animals suffer as slaves to humans, I found it hard to justify exploiting and eating them. If I needed to eat from their bodies to live, perhaps I would feel differently.

Then, when I discovered that animal agriculture is one of the main causes of international environmental devastation, my resolve was solidified.

The truth is, animal agriculture hurts animals and it hurts the environment – it is an unsustainable practice. Even the most conservative of authorities now admit that a global transition toward a vegan diet is the only way we’ll be able to feed the blooming human population, without irrevocably damaging the earth.

I think of veganism like recycling. It’s just part of being an ethical, responsible human being. It’s something we should all do.

Furthermore, given what I know about the health benefits, I think it’s important to give my future children the best advantage I can.

Over time, I’ve learned more and more about the economics of global sustainability, the environment and health. But I’ve also learned about ethics. Like many others, I now recognise that animal agriculture is a form of slavery. Humans use animals however they should please, without any regard to their safety or happiness. Unnecessarily, we forcibly inseminate them, we take their babies away, we cage them, we skin them alive, we relentlessly exploit every single part of their bodies and lives, simply to satisfy our tastes. We put the most trivial of our interests, ahead of their primary ones. To me, that’s just plain wrong.  I’ve developed proper respect for all animals and acknowledge they deserve protection from harm by people. I see no reason to protect companion animals, such as dogs and cats, but not those in factory farms. No solution is perfect, but veganism is a step in the right direction.

Here are some articles and documentaries that explain the position in more detail –

Health

Why vegans were right all along – The Guardian

Veganism reduces disease risk and offers improved health outcomes – The American Dietetic Association (vital in protecting the health of children and families)


Environment

United Nations Centre for the Environment urges global move toward a vegan diet – The Guardian

Animal agriculture responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions – Livestock and Climate Change


Animals

Watch the movie Human Animal

Watch the movie Earthlings to find out more about animal agriculture

Richard Dawkins interviews Peter Singer

The moral status of animals – Stanford University

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