Tormented animals scream in agony as they’re violently slaughtered. That’s the reality of the meat industry.
I was 11 when I discovered the harsh reality of meat production. It left a huge impact on me. I refused to contribute to something so inhumane and immoral, deciding never to eat animals or use animal derived products again. Almost five years later, I’m glad I made that decision.
Since then I’ve spent days researching animal welfare. I encountered horrific footage of how animals are treated and used, or rather mistreated and abused. I’m not only talking about the meat industry, but also for fashion, medicine and cosmetics. On a daily basis, animals are forced to endure excruciating pain for our pleasure and benefit.
I’m a vegan. This means I don’t eat or use animal derived products – milk, cheese and eggs included. People often ask me “how do you get all the nutrients you need?” or “isn’t this bad for you health?”
These are just myths about veganism.
Medical specialists from the American Health Association (AHA) say that vegans and vegetarians are much less likely to suffer from problems such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The AHA also carried out recent studies that show vegans can live up to ten years longer than meat-eaters! So, contrary to common belief, veganism and vegetarianism are actually beneficial for your health, it can even improve your immune system.
Another misconception about veganism and vegetarianism is that you can only eat vegetables. Actually you don’t have to eat more greens to maintain a balanced diet. There are countless other things you can eat to stay healthy. Supermarkets are full of meat and dairy substitutes that have excellent nutritional value, and even taste the same or similar to meat (depending on who you speak to!).
Also there are loads of meat dishes, Recent studies show vegans can live up to ten years longer than meat-eaters! which can be made vegan by simply replacing or removing the meat and dairy. My personal favourite is lasagne. When I became a vegan I figured that I couldn’t eat it anymore since it traditionally has cheese and meat. But I found a simple vegan recipe online, and now I can eat lasagne again completely guilt free.
Apart from being of benefit to animals and yourself, veganism is also good for the environment. The meat industry is a huge contributor to deforestation due to the need for farms, slaughterhouses and growing crops to produce feed for livestock. Then there is the pollution created by distributing meat all over the world. This leads to a loss of biodiversity and, since there are fewer trees to absorb carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), less oxygen is produced, accelerating the effects of global warming.
According to the Protection and Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a meat eater’s diet is responsible for over seven times as much greenhouse gas emissions than a vegan’s diet!
Most people decide to go vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons. Even though vegetarianism isn’t necessarily a moral decision, in my opinion, everyone should ask themselves this: is it right that animals are exploited and/or deprived of bare necessities and ultimately their life, just because you want to eat meat?
Becoming vegan or vegetarian is simple! It takes a bit of planning and some changes. PETA even offers a free vegan/vegetarian starter kit to get you going! By ditching meat, you’re doing the animals, yourself and the environment a favour.