Why vegan?

Good for animals

Kelly and cowThe Vegan Approach aims to build a world where animals are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Animals are sentient beings capable of suffering, feeling pain and experiencing emotions. However, their needs are considered to be less important than ours in a society where speciesism1 is institutionalised and animal exploitation is widely accepted.

This abuse is widespread; animals are killed for their fur, hunted for “sport” and experimented on in laboratories. However, the farming industry is responsible for exploiting the largest number of animals; in the UK alone approximately one billion animals are killed for food each year. Worldwide the figure is more than a staggering 65 billion2 individuals. This does not even include fish, who are killled in such large numbers it is difficult to quantify.

SheepThe food industry treats sentient beings as emotionless machines. Farmed animals are bred, mutilated and killed for their body parts, milk or eggs. Male chicks born in the egg industry are gassed or minced alive only days after they have hatched as they cannot lay eggs and are not the right type to be bred for meat. The females will be exploited to their reproductive limits and when they can no longer produce enough eggs for the industry (usually after 72 weeks) they end up on the slaughterline to be used for cheap meat products. Dairy cows are also sent for slaughter after they have been worn out from continually being made pregnant – usually only four or five years old. So that people can drink the milk they produce for their young, the calves are taken away from their mothers soon after birth. Many of the males are sent to the continent for veal production or simply shot in the head as they are considered ‘waste products’. The females will replace their mothers in the dairy herd. Whether the production method is called intensive, free-range or organic, all farmed animals needlessly end up at the slaughterhouse where their last moments are full of terror.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to respect animals, reduce suffering and give your vote for a kinder society is to go vegan. You can choose not to eat any animal products, but instead replace them with the huge variety of alternatives that now exist. See our guide to getting started for more information.

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Good for the planet

The Earth’s resources (land and water) are being wasted on an unnecessary industry. It is the most significant contributor to the environmental problems we face. That industry is animal farming.

The majority of fertile land is being used to grow crops to feed farmed animals whilst almost one billion people go hungry. Producing a meat-based diet uses around 10 times more land than a vegan diet, therefore adopting a vegan diet will enable us to share the Earth’s resources more efficiently and feed more people.

Animal farming is one of the top contributors to global warming, water pollution, deforestation, desertification and misuse of resources. Only by moving to a plant-based diet can we hope to tackle climate change and move towards sustainable food production.

Read more here.

Good for your health

ClimbingA balanced and varied vegan diet provides all the necessary nutrients for a long and healthy life. It is now recognised amongst top health organisations3 and professionals as healthful, nutritionally adequate, and providing health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diet-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. The Vegan Society produces clear nutritional guidelines for those adopting a vegan diet.

Find out more about the health benefits of a vegan diet.

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Notes:

  1. Speciesism – Speciesism is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970. The word refers to the widely held belief that the human species is inherently superior to other species and so has rights or privileges that are denied to other sentient animals. ‘Speciesism’ can also be used to describe the oppressive behaviour, cruelty, prejudice and discrimination that are associated with such a belief.
  2. According to United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation figures.
  3. American Dietetic Association