This post is going to be very long. I’ve decided to explain everything that’s bound to veganism in one. Single. Post. Uuf. So let’s do it!
First af all, I’m going to split aspects of Veganism into three groups. Then I will target some moral points and after that, I want to answer the most common questions that vegans are asked. And so if you want to know as much as you can about Veganism – the enviromental issues, ethical issues, health issues, animals’ rights issues and more – you can just read this article and get to know almost everything you need (of course there’s not absolutely EVERYTHING, I can’t know every single thing – but you can ask me).
THE REASONS WHY VEGANS ARE VEGANS
The thing is that when it comes to saving the environment, no one really talks about animal agriculture. Or at least people didn’t talk about it a couple of years ago. And so many of them still believe that animal agriculture has nothing to do with the environment – what is wrong about grazing cows, right? Well, many things.
At first, cows produce methane. A lot of it. We all know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and it causes global warming (so we should really stop cutting so many trees). But methane is also a greenhouse gas and some scientists say that methane is 86x worse than carbon dioxide. And cows produce 150 billions of methane per DAY. It’s not because they’re the doom of our planet and they’re evil – they wouldn’t cause the global warming if there weren’t so many of them. Each year, 64 billions of animals die in slaughter houses.There are so many of them for such a small amount of people. But I’m going to talk about that later. Right now, I’ll just say some more things about the global warming. The most important iceberg in Antractica, Totten, is melting. It will be gone in dozens of years. The weather is getting warmer – the last few years were the hottest years in tens of centuries. We are the generation that is experiencing the beggining of the end. Global warming is not some meteorite that someone made up. It’s not some hoax that can be true or doesn’t have to be. It’s happening. It’s proven by science. And it’s not because of some object that’s not on Earth and that’s causing this all. No. It’s because of us. Of course, some percentage of global warming is natural, but most of it is because of us. And what will hapen if the iceberg melts? Well, the sea will rise for at least 7 metres. Maldives will be gone. Venezia will be gone. And so many other and important places. What will happen if the earth becomes warmer? There will be global warming refugees. There will be global warming wars because it will be impossible to live near the equator. We need to lower global warming. And so we need to lower the impact. And animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emmisions. It is more than all transportation. All cars, all trains, all planes. Some studies even claim it to be 51%.
Deforestation is a very big issue. Most of organizations fight against this – trees are being cut because of palm oil, fossil fuels and many other things. But a big part of it is happening especially because of animal agriculture. Why? Well, it’s simple. The demand for meat and dairy is getting bigger and bigger, and so we need more and more animals. We need to breed more. We need more land. We can’t use one part of land, then move and then return and start again – we can’t because 1) there are so many animals that their living in those places is creating dead zones, in the oceans but also on lands and 2) we don’t give the countryside enough time to recover. And so when a dead zone is created, the ‘farms’ (I’d rather call it meat factories, honestly) have to move. And we want more meat and so we need more land. And so we cut trees. We cut forests, especially in Amazonia, so we could raise more animals. The consclusion – animal agriculture doesn’t only produce methane, but also CO2 because of the deforestation. And we’re losing our lungs, our source of oxygen.
Extinction of species. Deforestation = wild animals die. And also, wild wolfs and foxes and many other animals are being killed because they’re the threat to farmers’ livestock.
Animals are the biggest consumers of our water and food. 1/3 of the world water is used on animal agriculture, at least 50% of plants is fed to livestock, also 95% of soya beans. So if someone says that vegans are the reason why soya is grown and why forests are dissapearing, well, it’s not te truth. We only get the 5%. The rest of it is what non-vegans eat. Also, non-vegan people eat hundreds of times more plants than vegans because animals eat so much more. There are 7 billion people on Earth but one billion is starving. Right now, we are growing an amount of plants that could feed about at least 10 billion people. Some claim it to be 12 billions. And still, there’s the one billion. How is that possible? Well, half of it goes to livestock, right? At least. And livestock can’t feed the whole world. People take thousands of tons of plants that could feed many many people and they give it to animals that can’t feed even half of that amount. And they also say that if the world ate the same amount of meat as USA does today, we would had been without water fifteen years ago. It’s unsustainable. And it’s a very big waste of food and water.
In summary, animal agriculture is not sustainable AT ALL. It causes pollution, global warming, deforestation, extinction of species and world hunger. Just look at this picture bellow and compare the ultimate difference between vegans and non-vegans.
2. ANIMALS IN SLAUGHTERHOUSES
Big issue number two. Some time ago I read an article in the Guardian which stated that killing animals in slaughterhouses is the worst crime of our history. Adolf Hitler managed to get 17 millions of people killed in 11 years. Stalin – 23 million in 31 years. Mao Zedong – 75 million in 33 years. These are big numbers. But we also know that today, crazy 64 BILLIONS of animals are being killed EACH YEAR. It’s freaking crazy. And now, what is really the difference between an animal and a human? Human is more intelligent (except for dolphins and some other exceptions) and more complicated. Well. That’s it.That’s all, actually. Animals feel just the same way as we do. They are sentient and smart beings who can feel pain, fear, love and happiness. They can recognize that the death is coming. They can recognize that they’re never going to see their mothers again. They are not completely just the same as we are, but they are equal.
They don’t speak our language, yet we understand them, right? Our dogs are our buddies. Our cats are our darlings. Our bunnies are our sweathearts. And our pigs are our steaks. Why do we treat some animals as if they were our kids and at the same time we eat dead bodies of others? Why do we give our dogs christmas presents just a while after we eat that carp? Yes, fish have feelings too.
And the fish industry is the worst industry of all. Did you know that for every pound of fish caught, up to five pounds of unintended marine species are caught and killed? It’s called a by-kill or a by-catch. Today, 70% of our oceans are overexploited or fullyexploited. We are killing the oceans. And not just by throwing away the plastics (which is horrible and don’t do it) but also by fishing. We fish so much that fish don’t have enough time to reproduce. Actually, the oceans can be dead in 50 years. And if you’re old like me, 17 years old or sometime about this age, I guess it sounds pretty scary. It is alarming. We can experience this.
And now, let’s concentrate on pigs, cows and chickens. It seems to me that many people still live in the fantasy that these animals are actually treated well, they’re fed by grass and they like their life. Which is not true at all. Okay, now I’ll show you some disturbing photos. I know that people don’t like to look at them. And doesn’t that already mean that people don’t want animals to suffer and they want them to be happy? I think that every human being understands the concept of veganism in their very soul. If they’re not psycho and they don’t like suffering itself.
Some of my czech friends say that animals raised on czech farms have a good life. Well, this photo is from a czech farm. I guess they don’t beat the animals and they don’t torture them physically. But is this good? Metal bars between a mother and her children? A space so small that she can’t even turn around? No countryside, no light, no healthy air, nothing. There’s literally nothing good about this.
Some people eat just chickens. Which is better than eating everything, but it seems to me that most people consider chickens to be somethings less than cows, pigs and sheeps. Why? They are sentient as well. Maybe they’re not as cute as little pigs but they still feel, they want their space, they want to live well. And certainly they don’t want to die.
And this is how we get milk. I’m going to talk about this topic more in the ethical section.
This is what some bio farms look like. It’s better than those big farms with no air. But they’re still in cages, right? And they still get killed and used for dairy. And labels like “Butcher’s choice” and “Fresh made” don’t make it any better. The animals still die either way. I mean, of course, they have a slightly better life and it’s absolutely better than being inside the whole life and they certainly have more space. But it’s still not good. Animals are our equals. And we don’t lock our equals into cages. In any way, they will still end up like this:
I’m sorry for posting these pictures but this is the reality. We transform these corpses into sausages, steaks, wursts and salamis so it doesn’t look like dead bodies. People don’t really like to see corpses on their tables. I mean, people still do it with some animals – poor turkeys – but many of them don’t like to see the truth. The truth that the sausage they’re choking on is made of hooves, entrails, genitals and remains of meat. I get it – there are some defensive mechanisms going on and I will talk about it in the ethical section as well.
To sum it up, animals don’t have a nice life before they become the steak on your plate. And even if they do eat grass instead of corn and soya, even if they do see the light, their throats are still being slit. Their life is stolen away from them. And do we really have the right to do so?
Honestly, I want this little buddy to have a happy long life without any pain and I want him to be my buddy, not a corpse in my stomach. My stomach is not a graveyard. And this animal is not my food.
3. HEALTH ISSUES
It seems to me that many people who consider Veganism as a very good idea don’t go vegan because they’re worried about their health. We hear it everywhere, especially in the Czech Republic – being vegan is a stupidity, you need meat for your protein, you need milk for your calcium, you can’t live on a plant based diet. What is really sad is that we also hear it from our doctors. Actually, just a few days back I was at my doctor because I wanted to see if I got everything I needed in my body. Well, my doctor told me that I only hurt myself and that I couldn’t replace calcium from milk with calcium from plants and that I wasn’t helping anything anyway. The next day the results from my blood tests came – and I’m perfectly alright. I’ve been vegan for three months now and I have everything I need in my body. No milk, no eggs, no cheese, no meat. And yet I’m healthy.
There are also many professional sportsmen who are vegans and they say that a plant based diet actually makes them feel better, not just mentally, but also physically. I’m not so much into sport but if you are, maybe you can recognise these names: Tony Gondalez, Hank Aaron, Venus Williams, Mike Tyson, Kendrick Farris and many others. They’re all vegeterians or vegans. You can be vegan and you can do sports and you can be healthy.
There are loads of articles about bad vegan parents on the internet. Their children get malnourished and they have to go to the hospital and many other cases. I want you to remember that these cases are about vegans who don’t respect a balanced vegan diet. You can be vegan and be healthy – but your diet has to be balanced. It has to. You have to eat lots of legumes, vegetables and fruits, kale, broccoli.. and you can also raise vegan children. That’s another hoax – that pregnant mothers and children should not be vegan. It is not true.
World Health Organization and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:
“Households should select predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses or legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods.”
American dietic associations and Canadian dietologists:
“A balanced vegan and vegetarian diet is suitable for every stadium of life, including pregnancy, breast-feeding stadium and children.”
And you can find many of other associations and health organizations which claim the same. In many cases, vegan diet is actually healthier than a ‘normal’ way of eating.
The consumption of meat, dairy and eggs doesn’t really make you healthier. Sure, you get some vitamins, some proteins, some calcium. But at the same time your cholesterol raises and in these days, consuming animal products kills more people than both world wars together. It leads to obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease and (although it’s not 100% proven I think) in some cases also cancer.
Where do we get our protein? From plants, of course. And it’s not true that you cannot replace meat with plants. Actually, look at this picure.
So, you can be healthy as a vegan and in fact, you can be healthier than people who eat animal products. And you also save so much land, so many pollution gases and so many lives. That’s why vegans are vegans. Because the Earth is important, the nature is important, animals are important and our health is. And vegans want to take care of this as best as they can. We want to lower our impact on minimum. Because everything on Earth is linked – and nothing can live without other aspects. The air cannot live without the water and the water cannot live without the air. The oxygen cannot live without trees and trees cannot live without lands, lands cannot live without water and so cannot we. We need water, we need nature, we need this planet. Because it’s the only place we have.
1. Milk. I’ve always drunk milk, as long as I remember. Since I was a child, everyone has been telling me that milk was important, that cows produced milk every day of their life, naturally, no pregnancy needed. And I remember the moment when I found out that cows actually had to be pregnant to give milk. I was really taken aback. And then I started realising how many people don’t really know this thing. Even now, I still keep discovering that people think that cows don’t need babies to produce milk and that if we didn’t taken the milk away from them, their udders would hurt. Well. It is not TRUE. A cow mother is just the same as a human mother – they produce milk only when they have babies and some time afterwards. Their udders would hurt only if they didn’t have any babies to feed. And so today, every single cow is being impregnated by robots which squirt sperm into their uterus. And then, when the calf is being born, it’s immediately taken away from its mother so the milk that’s supposed to be for the calf and only for the calf is used for us, people. And now the ethical view – 70% of people are intolerant to lactose. It’s because when you’re a child, you’re supposed to drink your mother’s milk, and when you’re a grown-up, you’re not supposed to do that anymore. We are the only species who drinks milk as adults. And we are also the only species who drinks milk of ANOTHER SPECIES. I mean, if you really look at it, it’s kind of gross. It is not what other animals do and we know why – because it is just not supposed to be like that. Cow milk is for baby calfs. That’s it. There is no in between. In that milk there are many things that should make a little calf grow into a big cow in a quite small amount of time. And people drink that – people who don’t need these things because they’re not calfs.
Now I’ll show you another pretty disturbing picture – but this is exactly what is going on, only in the oposite way.
And then look at this picture – it seems to me that it immediately makes people feel kind of stupid about drinking milk. But maybe not, I don’t know, it certainly does make me feel stupid.
Really, if you think about it, it’s just ridiculous.
2. Recently I’ve seen a speach by Melanie Joy on TEDx Talks. She was talking about defensive mechanisms that people use every day. The interesting thing about people (and also the scariest I think) is how much they can actually ignore. We can ignore things that are literally happening in front of our eyes – and it’s ridiculously easy to ignore things that are happening hundreds of miles away from us. We can just turn it off. We can watch a documentary about animals in slaughterhouses, we can feel sorry for them, we can think about going vegetarian for a few moments – and then we just turn it off. We start rationalising, we start making up arguments so we don’t have to change things. And then we just forget about it. That’s just the way it goes, every day and everywhere in this world.
She also pointed out this idea about three Ns. These three Ns are rooted in our history. They were used for justifying slavery, for justifying women humiliating. Normal. Natural. Necessary. Slavery was Normal. Natural. Necessary. The fact that women had no rights was Normal. Natural. Necessary. Killing animals is Normal. Natural. Necessary. And we use these three Ns do justify these things although we know that it is not right. Slavery and women oppression were not in any case Normal, Natural and Necessary. And so is not killing others.
And a step forward is when you stop rationalising, when you fight against these defensive mechanisms, when you tell yourself: “Alright, I know that this is happening, there’s no denying it, I know that what I do is not good.” Because the worst part of it for many people is admitting that it is their own fault – not just theirs, but they’re a big part of it. It is their fault that these animals are being killed, because they’re buying their bodies.
3. So, I very often hear this sentence (even my doctor said that to me, haha): “If you stop eating meat, you’re not going to help it anyway. Other people will buy it instead of you.” And it seems to me that these people just cannot understand the main concept of this problem. What economy is based on? The bigger the demand is, the bigger the offer is. And the smaller the demand is, the smaller the offer is. So when you stop buying meat, of course someone else will grab that package of meat instead of you – but there will be one meat bought instead of two. And that’s the main thing that we’re focusing on. We want to lower the demand. If the demand is lowered, they won’t kill so many animals because it will be pointless, it will go to waste. So yes, every single vegan is helping just because they don’t support this bussiness. Every single time you don’t buy an animal product, you save one animal’s life in the future. And what feels better – eating a steak or saving a precious life? That’s on each of us to decide.
4. Children like animals. Children are the purest people on Earth, they’re honest, they’re innocent, they love. And they love animals. They don’t want to hurt them, they find them to be their friends. I’ve seen many children crying because they didn’t want to eat animals. And I’ve seen many parents telling them they had to because it was healthy for their bodies. Parents are killing the childish love for animals because they believe in some ideas that our society is based on. And children have to obey them, they have to forget what they knew, they have to learn how to use defensive mechanisms. They have to learn how to be blind. But when you open your eyes, when you start seeing clearly, you know. You know that these children are right, that this pureness is what this world needs. And children are friends with animals, they don’t want them to die.
5. And so I’ve finally come to that question: Is it right to raise your children as vegans? Isn’t it their own choice? And the answer is yes and yes. Yes, it is right. And yes, it is their choice. The thing is that every parent feeds his children. Some parents give them more chocolate than others, some take them to fast foods, some give them vegan food. Every child is forced to eat some food in a way. It always depends on the parent. And is it right to feed children with cheesburgers from McDonalds? No. Yet thousands of parents do it. Does someone complain about it? No. But when there’s a vegan parent, everyone starts talking about how unhealthy it is. We’ve already explained that a balanced vegan diet is healthy and it’s also healthy for children. So as long as your child doesn’t become older and doesn’t tell you: “Mum, I want to eat meat, I don’t want to be vegan”, you can raise him in a vegan way in my opinion. If the child decides to eat meat, then let him eat it. But there is nothing wrong about raising him as a vegan.
6. The last thing in this section. A year ago I tried to cut raw meat. I just wanted to cut it with a knife, like a normal person. And I just couldn’t do it. I actually almost started to cry so I stopped doing it. I guess there aren’t many people who are this sensitive. But the point is that I can’t imagine killing a being. Every being. I’m kind of sad even if I kill a fly. And I think many people are not capable of killing some animals with their bare hands. Imagine that you’re killing a dog, a cow, a rabbit. You’re taking a life away from someone. I just can’t do it. Many people can’t. And yet they’re doing it, just not with their bare hands, which is even worse because it’s more cowardly. People buy dead animals without having to kill them because someone else kills it for them. But that’s it – I don’t want anyone to kill an animal for me if I am not capable of doing it myself. If I’m not able to look that animal into the eye and kill him, I don’t want other people to do it and let me eat it. I would feel like a coward. In fact, I would kind of feel like a cheater. Death is something very precious – it’s as precious as life, death and life are two equal things. If I can’t stand up to death, I won’t let them do it for me.
I think that this picture is really good – the bricks are arguments that people use to justify their bad actions.
ARGUMENTS TO VEGANISM
Plants have feelings too.
So, the first of all – we only speculate about what they actually can feel. I myself also believe that plants do have feelings. In a strange and small way, but yes, I guess they can feel. They’re live after all. But still, it’s not 100% proven. But what is proven is that animals certainly have feelings, they certainly hear, think and they are aware of their lives and of their existence. They are 100% sentient. They scream when they’re in pain and they are being playful when they’re happy. So when a meat eater says that plants have feelings too, then maybe yes, maybe no, but this is not an argument for hurting other sentient beings. It’s like saying: “If I were a vegan, I would still accidentally step on insect, so I will pay them for killing pigs, chickens, cows, sheeps and goats instead. Plus I will accidentally step on insect.”
Also when you’re a meat eater you eat ten times more plants than vegans because animals eat ten times more of them than people.
But eating animals is natural.
Yes, it is true that people are omnivores. But to me, it just means that we are able to survive on any balanced diet, no matter if it’s with meat or without it. But you could also argument that vegans need to replace B12 with pills – and that is not natural at all. And you would be right. It is not natural. But is being natural right? Brushing our teeth is not natural. Washing ourselves every day is not natural. Monogamy is not very natural. Technologies aren’t. Wearing shoes is not natural. We’re living in an unnatural century. I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong. But we are just doing so many unnatural things and so it doesn’t seem to be a very good argument to veganism. It’s not natural. But I think it is right.
People have always eaten animal products. Why not now?
Well, before there were like 10 millions people on our planet and now there are 7 billions of us. So that’s why it worked before and it doesn’t work now. Thousands of years ago people just went to hunt some animal and then they ate it. They also didn’t do it very often, it’s more likely that they ate plants because it’s so much eaiser to find and make. So that’s the first thing. Killing animals wasn’t a big deal because it didn’t have any impact on the whole cycle of life. It does now.
And frankly, the fact that people used to do it in our history doesn’t really mean it’s right. People used to enslave each other. We had two world wars. And was it right? Of course not. Concentration camps were not in any way right. And yet that’s what animal farms are. We should learn from our history, not repeat it. And we should look forwards, not backwards.
Our teeth are made for eating meat.
There’s only one answer to this.
If you have any more questions or arguments, just write them below and we can discuss it.
THE VEGAN FUTURE
This one friend of mine once asked me what would happen if a whole world went vegan. What would happen to those animals? Where would they go?
And together with some other friend, we found a quite good result. If the change happened slowly, not all at once, people could consume animals (less and less) and stop breeding new. Then there would be only some amount of them left. And they would go. Animal farms would stop being built and so the forests could come back and ‘domestic’ animals could be wild again. The wild life would thrive again.
But what if they ate our food? My friend actually came up with a pretty good idea – greenhouses could be built to height, to the sky. The animals would not be able to eat it then and we would also save a lot of place.
This is not the idea of other vegans, it’s just something that seems to be quite good to me. Some vegans might not agree with this and there could also be many holes in this theory. It’s also true that many people would lose their jobs. But they would be able to find new jobs in vegan bussiness because it would be the only way of eating.
This all sounds very nice to me but I know it’s kind of naive. I guess most of vegans know that we’re not going to save the planet entirely. But we can try. It’s always worth a try, right? And we can lower our impact on minimum. We can harm as least as possible. And that’s what we’re trying to do.
I hope this article was benefiting in some way and if you didn’t understand Veganism before and now you do, I’m glad. If you have any questions or discussion topics, just write them below and we can talk about it. And the last thing:
Imagine that you have two ways of living a life.
- You can have a good life and let others die for you to survive.
- You can have a good life and let others live by your side and still survive.
What do you choose?