The amazing thing about a plant-based diet is that there’s something in it for everyone. Whether you’re concerned about world hunger, animal welfare, the environment, or simply your own complexion, you’re part of the solution when you ditch meat, dairy and eggs. Here are just a few of the vast benefits.
Vegans have lower cholesterol levels, less hypertension and diabetes, and a lower rate of obesity then meat users. BMI is even lower in vegans than in vegetarians.
Vegans eat more protective food and none of the foods that may be associated with developing cancer, such as dairy and meat. And while cooking animal products results in the formation of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, these compounds do not form during vegan cooking.
Food-borne pathogens such as E.coli and Salmonella can be traced directly to industrialized animal agriculture, and are responsible for over 76 million cases of illness in the U.S. 92% of poultry is contaminated with fecal matter containing E. coli.
Zoonoses such as mad cow disease, bird flu, swine flu, and a strain of MRSA have become public health threats due to modern animal agriculture. Recent outbreaks of bird and swine flu have heightened epidemiologists’ fears of a human influenza pandemic.
Studies reveal that vegans look younger longer! While animal foods speed the aging process, a whole foods, plant based diet actually stimulates production of the important youth promoting enzyme telomerase, while protecting us from cancer.
Nearly 10 billion farmed animals die each year in the United States to produce meat, dairy and eggs. Globally, the number exceeds 65 billion.
Confinement, painful mutilations (such as beak searing, castration and tail docking,) cruel handling, and lack of medical care is standard in today’s animal agriculture, including operations labeled “organic,” or “free range.”
Animals are genetically manipulated to grow faster, become larger, and produce more milk and eggs. In chickens this results in crippling deformities and heart attacks. At 42 days old chickens are slaughtered, still peeping like baby chicks.
Oversight on farms(factory,”free range,” or otherwise) and in slaughterhouses is negligible, leading to filthy conditions and animal torture. Because slaughterhouse workers are largely untrained and overworked, animals are often conscious during slaughter and processing.
Animal agriculture generates 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
70% of previously forested land in the Amazon is now farmed to feed livestock. 30% of the earth’s land surface used for livestock was once wildlife habitat.
Scientists believe that all fish stocks exploited today will be gone by 2048. An estimated 27 million tons of non-target species are killed and discarded each year, including endangered sea turtles, sharks, whales and marine birds. 70% of the world’s fish catch goes to feed livestock.
It takes 2000 pounds of grain to produce enough meat and other livestock products to feed a person for a year. However if that person ate the grain directly, it would take only 400 pounds to feed him.
Slaughterhouse employees are subject to the most dangerous factory conditions in the U.S. They face extremely high rates of serious physical injury, abuse, mental/psychological stress including PTSD and death.
Joy, Melanie. (2010). Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press.
Norris, Jack and Messina, Virginia. (2011). Vegan for Life. Cambridge, MA: DaCapo Press.
Ornish, D, Lin, J, Daubenmeir, J, Weidner, G, Epel, E, Kemp, C. (2008). Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncology. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18799354
Roberts, Callum. (2007) The Unnatural History of the Sea. Washington, DC: Island Press.