Why is Veganism important?
Life is beautiful, it’s full of joy, adventures, love and amazing discoveries. But it’s also very fragile. Our minds are easily corrupted and manipulated, and in a hectic world full of social pressures, responsibilities and distraction, it’s easy for us to become careless. If we’re not mindful of the consequences our actions have, we will end up causing suffering to both ourselves and others. Veganism is about stepping back from our cultural habits and traditions, and questioning what we do on a daily basis. In many ways our lifestyles are becoming more and more mindless and we’re becoming more and more disconnected. Veganism is the starting point to making rational connections, and taking action upon what we discover. Through enough self-inquiry, research and empowerment, we can free ourselves from our fear and choose to act from a place love and respect.
Veganism is not an end goal, but more of a process and a journey. It’s about uncovering the truth, and then always striving to do our best, based on the knowledge we have, at every moment.
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We live in a world where it’s considered normal to eat animals when most of us couldn’t kill the animals ourselves. It’s something we’ve done for a very long time and most of us don’t even think about it. Factory farms and slaughterhouses are conveniently hidden away from our view making it almost impossible for us to connect with the animals who are used and killed for us. It’s so easy for us to remain indifferent, but ignorance can’t last forever.
Right now all around the world, animals are in trucks on their way to slaughterhouses- buildings that we’ve constructed so that we can systematically kill. And they’re terrified. They’re hungry and thirsty and all they have is each other, staring wide eyed in fear wondering what’s coming next. And when the trucks arrive, they’re forced off and lead to their execution. Billions of animals are cuing up to be slaughtered and they’re so scared. There’s the smell of blood in the air and they don’t want to die. Living, feeling animals go into these buildings and come out chopped up into hundreds of pieces so that we can eat their corpses.
the meat industry
It’s estimated that thousands will die every second in slaughterhouses around the world. Animals are enslaved for their entire lives and are confined in cages, warehouses and other harmful environments. Males endure forced semen extraction, while females are raped and have their babies stolen from them. Animals are given ear tags, nose rings and are branded with a hot iron. They are castrated, and have their horns, tails, beaks and teeth cut off. These mutilations often occur without anaesthesia.
the dairy industry
It’s easy for most of us to understand that eating meat means an animal has to be killed, but to realise the harm dairy and eggs cause requires an understanding of how the animal industries work, which has been hidden from us all our lives. The common belief is that cows produce milk for humans to drink and that it causes no pain or suffering, but like all mammals, cows produce milk for their babies to grow from calves to cows or bulls. Because humans desire the milk that was intended for them, the babies are taken away from their mothers immediately, which is one of the most emotionally devastating things anyone can ever do. The males are usually confined for around 8-10 weeks then killed for veal. The females endure the same life as their mothers. They are repeatedly impregnated and milked until they are around 5 years old when they’re considered too spent to produce profitable quantities of milk. If left alone, cows can live more than 25 years, but in the dairy industry it would be too expensive to keep them alive, so they’re sent to the same slaughterhouses as their mothers and babies and distant relatives in the beef industry. It all ends with a bolt to the head and a knife to the throat.
the egg industry
The egg industry works in a similar way. Hens are bred to produce egg-laying chickens. They’re sorted by sex with the males separated from the females. Since the males are useless to the industry, they are suffocated or ground up alive and used for cheap meat. The females are de-beaked and made to produce eggs until they are no longer profitable. Hens can normally live over 6 years old, but in the egg industry they are sent off for slaughter at around 1-2 years.
the fishing industry
There are floating slaughterhouses travelling through the ocean all over the world. These slaughterhouses pull marine life out of the seas then suffocate them and cut them open to sell for food. It is estimated that trillions of fish are killed and processed by the fishing industry every year. But the industry doesn’t just harm fish, these boats are also floating prisons. Most people don’t realise, but the majority of fish sold all around Europe, America and Asia come from fleets where the workers are tricked and sold as slaves. Every year, because of the demand for fish products, Thai fishing fleets are short of tens of thousands of workers, so human trafficking gangs have stepped into the gap luring men out of their villages in areas like Cambodia, Bangladesh and Burma with false promises of well-paying jobs in Thailand. Instead, they sell the men to captains for a few hundred dollars, and the captives are forced to work at sea. If they try to escape, they are killed. Most of these slaves never return to their families. The fish they take out of the oceans are sent over to fishmongers and supermarkets all over the world and they know this is happening but hide it from their customers, because they know that if we really knew how much human and non-human animal suffering was involved, we wouldn’t buy it. And these industries are destroying our oceans. The fishing industry uses advanced sonar which can detect even the smallest fish within 50 miles. It is estimated that by 2048 the oceans will be (commercially) fishless. And the oceans are so vital for all life on earth that if the oceans die, then we die. And the sonar can be detected by marine life like whales and dolphins, which has been strongly linked to beaching, where animals become stranded on land. The loud and rapid pressure changes made by the sonar can cause haemorrhaging and decompression sickness. The intense vibrations can cause extreme fear and distress; whales and dolphin might actually be beaching themselves as a form of suicide to escape the sonar. And just as other animals are affected by the sonar, it’s not just the fish we eat who are killed. Tonnes of other animals are caught in the nets as bycatch, many of which are critically endangered. There’s no such thing as sustainable fishing. Roughly 90% of the Earth’s stock are overfished and production is estimated to increase 17% by 2025. Every fish we take from the ocean creates more irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
the honey industry
Honey is vomit that has been repeatedly swallowed and regurgitated by bees. Queen bees are enslaved and have their wings ripped off so that her and her colony cannot fly away. The queens are usually killed after a year and replaced. Bee vomit is very useful for insulation and to feed the bees and their babies, but because humans desire their honey, the bees are gassed so that we can steal it then given a less nutritious sugar-feed. When bee communities no longer produce huge amounts of quality honey, they’re killed off, new communities are created by the beekeepers, and the process starts all over again.
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Humans require energy and certain nutrients to function properly. Animals and plants are both sources of these macro and micro nutrients. But animal flesh and secretions contain cholesterol, saturated fat, hormones, pollutants and toxic compounds like putrescene and cadavarine, which lead to our 15 leading killers, including cancer and heart disease. If we chose to drink sewage water, we would meet our hydration needs, but the benefits of the hydration wouldn’t be worth risking the harmful side effects of the sewage, especially when you can get the hydration from fresh, clean water. Plants don’t contain the harmful compounds found in animals and contain fibre, flavonoids, and a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. We don’t need to exploit animals to get the nutrients needed for good health.
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Farming animals requires a lot of resources and has a major impact on the environment. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, habitat destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones and water pollution. It’s responsible for up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction and 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second around the world. It also causes 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for 20-33% of fresh water consumption. Almost a billion people in the world don’t have enough food or clean water. The food that they could eat is being fed to billions of animals raised for meat, dairy and eggs. Farming animals like dairy cows and hens also uses massive amounts of water. By choosing to eat a plant based diet, we have the choice to save over 1100 gallons of water, 45 lb of grain, 30 sq. feet forested land, 20lb of Co2 and 1 animal’s life, every single day.