Using animals as food is so deeply embedded in many cultural norms that it seems extreme even to question it, but we believe that farming and eating animals is actually the more extreme choice. This is why…
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, animal farming contributes more to climate breakdown than the emissions from all the cars, planes, ships, buses, and trains on the planet. It is a key driver of deforestation and species loss; it wastes land and water; and it pollutes the air, waterways and the soil.
It causes appalling unnecessary suffering to billions of animals whose lives are anything but natural. Artificial insemination, feed grown on deforested lands, and mutilations such as cutting off tails and horns, are all typical on modern farms. And, although we care deeply about the animals we know, many of us turn away from the realities of animal farming and slaughter because we cannot bear to witness it. Doesn’t that tell us something about how extreme the suffering is?
Animal agriculture is certainly bad news for animals, but it is also bad for people. A diet based on animal products cannot feed the world’s population, many of whom go hungry while important crops are instead fed to farmed animals. And as soon as a population decides to eat meat, it has to invest heavily in health and regulatory initiatives to ensure that people are not poisoned by it. All the same, 48 million Americans are affected by foodborne illnesses every year and 3,000 die. The two leading causes of foodborne deaths are poultry and dairy. Research shows that eating meat also raises the risk of suffering from cancer, heart disease and diabetes, while also shortening our life spans.
Objectively speaking, doesn’t that all sound rather extreme?
Conversely, a diet that is plant-based is kinder to the Earth, animals, and people. It reduces our climate impact, better protects the Earth’s forests, rivers and oceans, and means there is enough food to feed the global human population. And when we eat it, we are not only sparing the appalling suffering of factory-farmed animals, we are being kind to our own bodies, too. Vegans have a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Far from being extreme, eating plant-based is logical, sensible and compassionate.
As for the food itself, that is far from extreme, unless you consider eating all the same foods you ate before, just veganized, to be a radical change? Vegans still eat pizza, pasta, curry, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and more, as well as all the staples you probably already have in your pantry!
Far from being extreme, in terms of what you eat each day you might not even notice the difference.