The term veganism has become greatly known throughout society in recent years for its approach in providing a fairer and more compassionate relationship towards animals. But how much do you know about veganism and why should you care?

Firstly, the term ‘veganism’ describes a diet that consists of plants, vegetables and protein based foods such as beans, chickpeas or tofu. These are rich in calcium, iron and other essential minerals that the body needs to stay healthy. The benefits of leading a vegan lifestyle include a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and premature death.

Consuming meals that contain fewer calories, like vegan meals do, means that vegans are more likely to be leaner, have lower BMI’s and a lower body fat. It is estimated that by the year 2050, global adoption of plant-based diets could save 8.1 million lives a year, which is an astounding achievement. This doesn’t only increase a person’s lifespan but also begins to save the lives of countless animals who have to lead a life of suffering and abuse.

A Swedish medical study was able to discover that women who consumed higher quantities of milk sustained more fractures than those who didn’t. Dairy products are also shown to increase the risk of ovarian cancer, high cholesterol and can cause acne. These statistics may leave you feeling sceptical about what is true, therefore, conducting your own research into veganism related studies is a positive step towards understanding how a vegan diet can improve the welfare of your mind and body.

“Organic, vegan, gluten free & delicious.” Beyond the Kale in Bath’s Green Park Station. © Mark Banham

Another way in which veganism can improve our quality of life is the effect it has on the environment. Meat production casts a heavy strain on our environment due to the requirements of feeding animals and their transportation to where they meet their end. A main contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and extinction of species would be the requirement for farming the land for grain crops and animal food.

This also leads to the malnutrition of people as they grow food for animals rather than for themselves. Producing a vegan-based diet utilizes only a third of the land that a meat-based diet would. Therefore, by incorporating sustainability factors with veganism we can clearly evaluate how to contribute to stopping climate change and global malnutrition.

The term ‘ethical meat’ has become a means of falsely comforting ourselves to believe that animals bred for stock have experienced a contented life prior to being sent to slaughter. However, the bottom line is that animals fear death just like we do. We can only imagine what it would be like to be born knowing that nobody cared or respected us as a living being. Some may reiterate that humans have always eaten animals and in nature a carnivore’s diet consists of only meat.

Yet, the difference between humans then and now is that they didn’t have the resources or habitat to search for other protein-based food. Their existence contributes specifically to the Earth’s ecosystem and many species don’t have the capacity to lead a different way of life. Their instincts govern the healthy balance of our planet’s processes; without these processes, none of us would survive.

As humans, we have the advantage of being an evolved species with high intelligence to understand that we can thrive and survive without invoking the torture and pain of animals for their meat. We have the resources to ade-quately produce delicious and natural food which is nutritionally beneficial, both psychologically and physically.

Ultimately, every living being wants to live happily and peacefully. So whatever your opinion is, surely the consideration for veganism is required to understand how it can positively impact our lives and the lives of animals.

Words by Louise Thacker

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