2018.05.13 Tips: 25 Reasons To Try A Vegan Diet

25 Reasons To Try A Vegan Diet

This post explores 25 of the countless reasons more and more Americans are choosing to forgo meat, and enjoy a diet based on health, compassion, and sustainability.

01) To Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer

According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians tend to have lower overall cancer rates. For example, the massive Adventist Health Study found that meat-eaters had a 54% increased risk for prostate cancer and an 88% increased risk for colorectal cancer, even after controlling for age, sex and smoking.

02) To Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetes

The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In one study, risk for diabetes was 80% higher in men who ate meat, compared to vegetarian men.

03) To Prevent Global Climate Change

According to the United Nations, raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, trucks, planes, ships and other forms of transportation combined. Researchers at the University of Chicago calculated that each person who adopts a vegan diet prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions every year.

04) We Do Not Have To Kill To Be Healthy

Animals value their lives just as we value ours. They do not want to be killed. Nor do they want to see their friends or family members killed. Is it morally justifiable for us to take animals' lives - and force them to endure lifetimes of suffering - simply to satisfy a palate preference? According to the American Dietetic Association, "Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence." Not only are vegetarian diets appropriate for people of all ages, but our bodies can thrive on them. In fact, studies of vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists - one of the largest populations of vegetarians in the United States - indicate that they are among the healthiest and longest-living people in the world.

05) Farmed Animals Are Mutilated Without Painkillers

Farmed animals are mutilated in a number of ways to re-purpose them for the economic objectives of factory farms. For example, animals are castrated to change the taste of their flesh, and they are branded and tattooed for identification purposes. In an attempt to cut costs, these agonizing mutilations are usually performed without any painkillers.

06) To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and on average, vegans have cholesterol levels more than 40 points lower than meat-eaters. Physicians such as Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have stopped and even reversed heart disease by placing patients on programs that include plant-based diets.

07) Male Chicks Are Ground Up Alive By The Egg Industry

Since male chicks of the egg-laying breed do not lay eggs, and do not grow quickly enough to be raised profitably for meat, they are disposed of by the egg industry. Every day, thousands of chicks are ground up in macerators - blender-like machines that rip the birds apart while they are still alive. Other killing methods include suffocation, decapitation, gassing and being left to die in dumpsters.

08) No Grass. No Fresh Air. No Exercise. Just Misery. Factory-Farmed Animals Are Denied Nearly Everything That Is Natural To Them

The vast majority of egg-laying hens spend their lives packed into tiny wire cages so small they cannot even spread their wings. Nearly every natural instinct and desire is thwarted by the cages that confine them - the ability to build nests, forage, roost, dust bathe, see the sun, or even feel the earth or grass below their feet. The majority of mother pigs spend most of their lives confined to metal crates barely larger than their own bodies. Unable to turn around or lie down without touching the metal bars, many pigs develop painful sores. Some pigs go mad and exhibit behaviors such as repetitive bar-biting or rubbing their snouts bloody on the concrete floor.

09) To Conserve land, Water And Energy

Vegetarian foods take a fraction of the land, water and energy required to produce meat. Meat production's squandering of our most important resources affects everyone, but hits the global poor the hardest. As Time magazine notes, "Around the world as more water is diverted to raising pigs and chickens instead of producing crops for direct consumption, millions of wells are going dry." In a growing world in which over 1 billion people are already malnourished or lack access to clean drinking water, meat is an extremely wasteful food choice.

10) To Prevent Deforestation And Species Extinction

The United Nations reports that "the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, over fishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species."

11) Vegetarians Spare The Lives Of Over 50 Animals Each Year

The average American eats about 27 land animals plus dozens of sea animals every year. By choosing vegetarian, we can each spare the lives of over 50 animals every year, adding up to thousands over our lifetimes.

12) Because Fishing Hurts

A growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that fish are sophisticated animals who exhibit intelligence, complex social structures, long-term memory, and the capacity to feel pain, but the fishing industry treats them as if they were nothing more than inanimate objects. Dragged from the ocean depths, fish undergo excruciating decompression, which can rupture their bladders and pop out their eyes. They are then tossed on-board where they slowly suffocate. Some fish are gutted, filleted, and frozen while still alive and conscious.

13) To Keep Antibiotics Working

Imagine getting an infection that will not go away, even when treated with antibiotics. The broad-scale use of antibiotics on factory farms - fed in mega dosages to animals to promote rapid growth and fight off illnesses induced by filthy, disease-ridden, and overcrowded living conditions - is creating antibiotic-resistant super-bugs, making these same antibiotics less effective at treating human illnesses.

14) Animals Are Burned And Drowned In Scalding Tanks

At the slaughterhouse, many chickens and turkeys are not dead by the time they reach the scalding-hot feather removal tanks. According to USDA statistics, hundreds of thousands of birds every year have their bodies submerged in scalding water (about 143° F) while they are fully conscious. The animals are burned and drowned. According to a former Tyson slaughterhouse worker, "They often come out the other end with broken bones and disfigured and missing body parts because they have struggled so much in the tank." Many pigs meet a similar fate. The Washington Post reports, "Hogs...are dunked in tanks of hot water after they are stunned to soften the hides for skinning. As a result, a botched stunning condemns some hogs to being scalded and drowned."

15) Caring For Some Animals (Like Dogs and Cats) And Eating Others (Like Pigs and Chickens) Is Morally Inconsistent

Chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows possess intelligence, individual personalities, and emotional lives just like dogs and cats do. All animals value their lives and wish not to suffer. If you would not eat your dog or cat, why eat any other animal when it is completely unnecessary?

16) Today's Chickens And Turkeys Have Been Bred For Pain

Modern chickens and turkeys are bred and drugged to grow so large, so quickly, that their legs and organs cannot keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure and crippling leg deformities common. Many become crippled under their own weight and eventually die because they cannot reach the water nozzles. Researchers have found that this lameness is so chronic and painful that modern breeds of chickens will repeatedly choose food that has painkillers added to it over regular feed.

17) Animals Are Defenseless

Farmed animals, whose every moment in life and death is controlled and manipulated, are entirely defenseless against cruelty and exploitation, and their fates rest squarely at our mercy.

18) Because You Would Not Want To Watch What They Do To Sick Pigs

According to The New York Times, "Sick pigs, being unprofitable 'production units' are clubbed to death on the spot." Other methods used to kill sick pigs include "thumping" (slamming animals' heads against the floor until they die), drowning them with a hose, gassing them, and standing on their necks.

19) To Prevent Water Pollution

The United Nations reports that animal agriculture "is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution," contributing to:
Dead zones in coastal areas...
Degradation of coral reefs...
Emergence of antibiotic drug resistance.
The major sources of pollution include:
Animal waste...
Chemicals from leather tanneries...
Fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops.

20) Factory-Farmed Animals Are Denied Adequate Veterinary Care

Viewed as mere production units by an industry seeking to maximize profits, factory-farmed animals are often denied individual veterinary care. Many animals are left to suffer for days or weeks with painful and sometimes debilitating infections and illnesses.

21) To Treat Animals As We Would Want To Be Treated

If we would not want to be forced to live in a cage...
If we would not want to be mutilated without painkillers ...
If we would not want to have our necks sliced open with a knife ...
If we would not want these things for ourselves, then why should we force them upon animals?

22) Because No One Should Have To Kill for a Living

The nature of slaughtering animals, day in and day out, requires workers to suppress their empathy or even "develop a sadistic sense of reality," as one former slaughterhouse worker puts it. This is an extremely dangerous mindset that can have serious consequences both inside and outside of the slaughterhouse. A recent sociological study found that counties that have slaughterhouses consistently have higher rates of violent crime, such as murder and rape, even when compared with demographically similar counties.

23) To Maintain A Healthy Body Weight

Obesity is one of the most pressing health problems in the United States, and it will soon become the country's leading cause of preventable death. Studies indicate that vegetarians have low rates of obesity and on average weigh approximately 3 to 20 percent less than meat-eaters.

24) You Will Be In Good Company

Some of the world's greatest thinkers and humanitarians have recognized the moral importance of a vegetarian diet, including:
Albert Einstein
Jane Goodall
Cesar Chavez
Leonardo da Vinci
Mahatma Gandhi
Mary Shelley
Coretta Scott King

25) To Live Our Values

Choosing to go vegetarian is simply a matter of living according to the values so many of us hold dear, such as fairness and kindness to others. Most people would never think of cramming six egg-laying hens into a file-drawer-sized cage, ripping the testicles out of a screaming baby piglet with any painkillers, or cutting the throat of a cow as she stares back at them with her big brown eyes. How then, as compassionate individuals, can we justify paying others to carry out these atrocities on our behalf?

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