by Ashley Brandon
I ordered a Big Mac the other day and I told them to hold the meat, the sauce, and the cheese. Why? Because I’m a vegan. I’m not going to be one of those vegans who preach it as if it’s a religion, but there are many benefits of veganism. First of all, veganism isn’t so much a diet as it is a philosophy and a lifestyle. There are environmental benefits, health benefits, and the benefit of saving animals from cruel treatment.
How can veganism contribute to a healthy environment? According to PETA’s website, the consumption of animal products contributes to global warming, pollution, water scarcity, and much more. A single person can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 tons per year by cutting out all animal products. That’s the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road. Imagine the amount of water you would save by not showering for six months straight. That’s how much water you would save by eating one less pound of meat!
Over 700,000 men and 600,000 women are diagnosed with cancer every year. The statistics of the amount of people with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and much more are endless. Nursingdegree.net states that taking up a vegan lifestyle can prevent and even reverse these illnesses by dropping high cholesterol levels caused by the immense amount of saturated fats in meat. 80 to 90% of lifestyle-induced cancers and heart diseases are preventable simply by eating a plant-based diet. Veganism can contribute to weight loss, healthy skin, a longer life, and much more.
For me personally, the cruel treatment of animals is my biggest reason for becoming vegan. Peta.org, businessinsider.com, and vegansociety.com have many facts about the harsh reality of animals raised for food. More than 99% of farm animals are raised in factory farms. Factory farms are very large operations that raise lots of animals, in a very inhumane way, in order to make profit.
Dosomething.org states that animals raised solely for the purpose of food are kept in very tight cages with many other animals. They have no room to turn around or even lie down. These animals are also force-fed drugs to bulk them up faster and keep them from dying in an environment that would otherwise kill them. They are genetically altered to grow faster so they are able to produce eggs and milk. They grow so rapidly that they become crippled under their own weight and often die.
Animals in the farms suffer from many diseases such as bacterial infections, dehydration, heart attacks, heart failure, osteoporosis, cancer, and much more. But still, even the ones with diseases, are slaughtered and sent off to be packaged and sold at the grocery store.
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder of men.” And he was right- we really need to start seeing factory farming as less of a “normal” thing and more as a horrible thing.
When you are a firm believer and supporter of animal rights, you have to come face to face with some of the darkest bits of humanity. You have to be well-informed on what happens behind the closed doors of slaughterhouses and how poorly animals are treated. Not everyone is going to agree with veganism, and not everyone is going to try it, but the least you can do is respect those who are vegan. I do get a lot of comments of how pointless it is that I eat this way and how ridiculous it seems because one person here and there not supporting factory farming isn’t going to change the world. If we start opening people’s eyes to the fact that everyone can help out the environment, help with diseases, and help with saving animals, we will be able to spread the word around to lots of people. For every mind changed, the world becomes a better place for all the living creatures who share it.