FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS
“There are virtually no nutrients found in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants. Protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals… you name it, they’ve got it, along with all the health benefits.“ — T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study.
It is clear that there is a significant association between diet, lifestyle and disease. The American Dietetics Association has deemed a vegan diet healthy and adequate in providing nutrition during all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes. Following a plant-based diet means you will eliminate the high levels of saturated fats found in animal products like meat and dairy. You will also eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet, as plant-based foods don’t contain cholesterol! Your heart will thank you for that. Chicken and ‘white-meat’ has been advertised to be healthy, however, did you know that chicken has 85mg of cholesterol per gram while beef has 89mg of cholesterol per gram — this cholesterol is what clogs arteries and results in heart disease and high blood pressure. The World Health Organization (WHO) places processed meats (like bacon, salami and cold-meats) as a level 1 carcinogen, the same level carcinogen as asbestos and cigarettes. They also classify red meat as a level 2 carcinogen. Eggs are just as disadvantageous for our health. The yolk of an egg is made up of 100% fat and cholesterol. It is, after all, meant to grow a baby chicken for 21 days with no outside energy.
A vegan diet has been proven to help prevent and treat heart disease, as well as help manage blood glucose levels in individuals with Diabetes. Researchers have discovered that it is possible to turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by increasing or reducing levels of casein in the diet — casein is the main protein found in dairy products. As a result of over-milking and mastitis, cows milk contains somatic cells, also known as pus. Up to 1 120 000 cells are present in 1 tablespoon of cows milk. Ew! The human body was not created to ingest cows milk. We need cows milk just as much as we need chimpanzee milk or rat milk — not at all! 75% of the human population is lactose intolerant and suffer from nausea, diarrhea and bloating due to dairy. It has been found that countries with the highest consumption of dairy have the highest levels of osteoporosis. Dairy can increase a males chances of getting prostate cancer by 34% and dairy has been directly linked to breast cancer in females. The dairy industry releases many adverts encouraging us to consume dairy, however one must remind oneself that their goal to make a profit! Humans today are consuming high amounts of dairy and animal-protein. Animal protein makes the body acidic, and in order to neutralize that acid, calcium is then leached from our bones. Calcium from plants is better absorbed and does not contain animal-protein, therefore does not result in calcium leaching.
Not only are your chances of getting cancer lower, but eating plants can help protect you against obesity, diabetes and autoimmune diseases. If you’re worried about consuming GMO’s, know that most grain fed to livestock is GMO. Cutting out meat and chicken means you will no longer be ingesting the growth-hormones and antibiotics given to most animals raised for food, which disrupts our hormone-balance and has been associated with cancer. Cutting out fish, means you will no longer be ingesting Mercury, PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) and microplastic particles which are toxic. Veganism has also shown to increase energy levels, propel weight loss, diminish acne and provide migraine relief.
FOR THE ANIMALS
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegan.” — Paul McCartney
The meat industry: The living conditions that animals endure in factory farms are hellish. 70 billion farm animals are killed every year and more than 6 million animals are killed every hour. 98% of all meat sold in grocery stores and served in restaurants is produced in factory-farms. Pigs are killed for pork between 4-6 months old, even though they can live for up to 15 years. Pigs are artificially inseminated and forced to live in gestation crates, a metal enclosure where pigs cannot even turn around. Cows can live more than 25 years, however in the meat industry, they are killed at 1-24 weeks old. Animals are often forced to live in their own faeces and even among the corpses of fellow animals. Piglets’ tails are cut off, their teeth are often clipped and males’ testicles are cut off—all without anaesthetic. They’re crammed into pens crowded with many other piglets, where they’re kept until they’re deemed large enough for slaughter. Cows and pigs are shot in the head with a bolt-gun meant to stun them, but because the lines move so quickly and many workers are poorly trained, the technique often fails to render the animals insensible to pain. The sheer number of animals killed makes it impossible for them to be given humane, painless deaths. A typical slaughterhouse kills up to 1,100 pigs every hour. Because of improper stunning, many animals are alive when they reach the scalding tank, which is intended to soften their skin and remove their hair. In order to save money, many farmers simply kill sick animals instead of giving them medicine or health-care. Unwanted piglets are often killed by slamming their heads against the concrete floor.
The dairy industry: There is a common misconception that animals are not harmed in the making of dairy products. This is, however, not the case. The dairy industry could be considered worse than the meat industry due to the intense suffering forced upon cows and calves for extended periods of time. Cows can live more than 25 years, however in the dairy industry, they are killed at 3-4 years old. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk when pregnant. Female cows are continuously artificially inseminated and impregnated as many times as possible, resulting in stress and infection of their udders (mastitis). Calves are permanently taken away from their mothers straight after birth, so that the milk (intended for them) can be collected and sold to humans for consumption. Cows are emotionally complex, gentle, social and intelligent. They experience fear, pain and suffering just as we do. The mother-calf bond is extremely strong. Mother cows frantically search, call and cry for their calf long after they have been taken to be sold to a veal or beef farm. Male calves are either killed and sold as veal or they are raised to produce cheap beef. Female calves spend the first 3 months of their lives isolated until they too can be inseminated and impregnated. So, the cycle continues.
The egg industry: Just like the dairy industry, there is a common misunderstanding that animals are not harmed in the production of eggs. On the contrary, billions of hens and chicks are killed every year in the egg industry. In nature, hens lay up to 20 eggs annually. But due to the high demand for eggs, hens in factory farms are given hormones and genetically manipulated to produce up to 300 eggs annually. This leads to painful and often deadly reproductive disorders. More than 95% of hens are confined to a cage smaller than an A4-sized paper for their entire life. This is to ensure that chickens grow rapidly. The cages are so small that they cannot spread their wings. Chickens are slaughtered for meat once their egg production declines. Free-range hens do not live the wonderful life companies advertise them to have. ‘Free-range’ merely means instead of cages, hens are packed into a warehouse by the thousands — they do not get to relax outdoors in the sun, have freedom of movement or carry out their natural behaviours (and they too, are inevitably slaughtered). Hens have their beaks painfully cut off with a hot blade (without anaesthetic) to prevent them from pecking at fellow chickens due to overcrowded conditions. 6 blillion one-day-old male chicks are suffocated or ground up alive annually. This is because they cannot lay eggs. In nature, chickens can live up to 10 years old.
Click here to see the number of animals slaughtered per second, right now.
At the end of the day, one cannot deny that animals do not ‘give up their life’ willingly or give consent to being killed to be eaten. Animals want to live. They feel joy, pleasure, grief and pain — just like humans. Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and entertainment. In one choice, you can start to help save the world.
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
“Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.“ — Cowspiracy, 2014.
- 15415 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of beef.
- 10412 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of lamb.
- 5988 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of pork.
- 4325 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of chicken.
- 3785 litres of water is required to produce 3 litres of milk.
- 3406 litres of water is required to produce 0.5kg of cheese.
- 1805 litres of water is required to produce 0.5kg of eggs.
Just let that sink in…
- In comparison, it takes just 287 litres of water to produce 1kg of potatoes, 790 litres of water to produce 1kg of bananas and 1608 litres of water to produce 1kg of bread.
- It takes up to 20234 m² of land to raise one cow.
- Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.
- 56% of all land in South Africa is used for livestock.
- Over 200 million animals are bred to be eaten in South Africa, every year.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 20-30% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.
- 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted, and we could have fishless oceans by 2048.
- For every 0.5kg of fish caught, up to 2kg of sea-life is caught as by-kill and discarded.
- Scientists estimate that up to 650 000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year due to fishing vessels.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of all Amazon rainforest destruction.
- Up to 8093 m² of rainforest is cleared per second.
- Up to 137 animal, insect and plant species are lost every day due to destruction of rainforest for livestock.
- Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our carbon dioxide emissions limit by 2030, all from raising animals to eat.
- Cows produce over 567 billion litres of Methane every day.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust of all transportation.
- A vegan diet uses 1/11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/8th of the land compared to a meat-eater.
- The land required to feed 1 person for 1 year on a vegan diet is 674m², a vegetarian diet requires 3x as much as a vegan diet, and a meat-eater requires 18x as much land as a vegan.
FOR THE PEOPLE
“The 760 million tons of grain used to feed animals to produce meat could feed 11 billion people, ending the global food shortage and world hunger 14 times over.”
- In South Africa, on average, it costs R64.99 per 1kg of beef mince, R44.99 per 1kg of chicken and R27.40 per 1kg of red kidney beans. It is cheaper to eat beans/ legumes than to eat meat!
- Vast amounts of water and grain is used to feed livestock instead of people.
- For every kilogram of food that is fed to animals, only a fraction of the calories are returned in the form of ‘edible flesh’. This is why animals raised for food have to eat up to 4.5kg of grain to produce just 0.45kg of meat.
- Slaughterhouse workers are often poor, exploited or undocumented immigrants who are treated poorly and given low wages. Being hired to kill animals like cows, who are gentle creatures, results in much psychological trauma. This work environment results in psychological problems like PTSD, depression, social withdrawal, anxiety and drug/alcohol abuse. To read more on the experiences of South African slaughterhouse workers, click here.
- 80% of antibiotics sold, are for livestock.
- 50% of all grain is fed to livestock, while 82% of starving children live in countries, where food is fed to animals, and those animals are exported to rich countries to be eaten.
- The rights of animals and people are interconnected.
- Each day on a vegan diet, a person saves 4164 litres of water, 20kg of grain, 3 sq m of forested land, 9kg worth of CO2 emissions and 1 animals life.
“The aim of veganism is not to be perfect. The aim is to be compassionate to all living beings and do all you can to cause the least harm possible.”
GO VEGAN TODAY!
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HOW DO I COUNTER ARGUMENTS AGAINST VEGANISM?
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Disclaimer: This blog is written for educational purposes only and does not aim to diagnose or treat disease. Content should not be a substitute for healthcare/ professional treatment.