Vegan lifestyle- Better for the future?

Opinion piece 1 9/01/17

In recent news, the topic of veganism has become a controversial discussion as more people are discovering the benefits of switching to a meat and dairy free diet. By adopting a lifestyle that promotes the freedom and protection of all animals, reduces C02 emissions and also a multitude of health risks such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it is clear that going vegan could be the way forward.

The documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix released 3 years ago provided information on how factory farming has exhausted the Earth’s natural resources and the cruelty of livestock within the industry and many found it hard to ignore the facts.

‘Raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector’

This means that the meat and dairy industry combined produces more greenhouse gases than all cars and the rest of the transport industry combined.

Many food industries in the western hemisphere also produce meat unethically, striving to maximize product with no thought for the welfare of the animal. They are often sheltered in dirty and crammed conditions and fed growth hormones to make them bigger for the slaughterhouse. The treatment of these animals is not humane and many argue that the punishment and harm of innocent animals is wrong like animal rights organisation PETA who campaign against animal cruelty.

But when meat began to the affect the health of the population, people saw the harmful effects of eating beef and pork in one day. In Bustle’s 8 reasons why meat is bad for you, meat significantly increases the risk of cancer by 18%. The study of British people’s diets was conducted by the University of Oxford in 2014 and the results found that meat-rich diets — defined as more than 100g per day — resulted in 7.2kg of carbon dioxide emissions. In contrast, both vegetarian and fish-eating diets caused about 3.8kg of CO2 per day, while vegan diets produced only 2.9kg. So reducing meat intake could also reduce your own carbon footprint.

There are other benefits found from having a plant-based diet like how much it reduces the level of saturated fats. Dairy and meat products have a large amount of saturated fats in them and by reducing things like cheese and milk from your diet can increase cardiovascular health. It’s also more likely that healthier fruits and vegetables will be consumed boosting mood and energy.

There is still a noticeable gap between the percentage of meat-eaters and vegans in the UK but veganism is now one of Britain’s ‘fastest growing lifestyle movements’ according to the Vegan society. There are now cookbooks and blogs that show how you can make cheap and easy ways to prepare a meat-free meal.

‘The number of vegans in Britain has raised by 360% in 10 years’

Celebrity vegans like Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding and grime artist JME also appear to be having an influence with the Independent releasing a survey showing that young people, in particular, are giving plant-based diets a try. Close to half of all vegans are aged 15–34 compared to 14% aged over 65. This doesn’t mean that the older generation shouldn’t bother as global warming continues to be a problem.

There are so many reasons to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle that could even change the world, yet it’s so hard to make the decision to. What is it about meat that we just can’t give up?

As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, this boom will only continue — Keith Coomber

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