One of the main reasons to go vegan is for the animals. I stopped eating meat because I started to feel uncomfortable about the commodity status of animals: products to be bought, sold and killed for human consumption. I am of the view that if you can’t or wouldn’t kill the animal yourself, then you shouldn’t eat it. Animals are sentient beings, aware of sensations and emotions, able to feel pain and suffering. George Monbiot argues that future generations looking back on our age will see the mass incarceration of animals as a monstrosity, the way we think of slavery, the subjugation of women and the murder of heretics.
Health is another compelling driver of veganism – according to Dr. Neal Barnard, a renowned clinical researcher, a plant-based diet can prevent, cure and even reverse disease. In fact, some doctors claim a vegan diet could prevent 8 out of 10 leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Another reason to go vegan is for the sake of the planet. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. It is a leading cause of deforestation, water pollution and biodiversity loss. A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-eater for their food (Source).
And what about people? Abattoir workers are the meat industry’s lesser-known victims, subjected to working in poor, dangerous conditions and underpaid for their work. They face a variety of negative emotional and psychological consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Slaughterhouse work is unique among major industries due to its innate violence; studies have shown that people who work in slaughterhouses and animal farms have a higher rate of crime and violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide and abuse.