By refusing to eat animal products, we, consumers, can make a difference when it comes to the fate of farm animals. Supply is always driven by demand – by choosing cruelty-free products, we let manufacturers know we do not approve of animals being bred and killed.
Farm animals, such as hens, turkeys, geese, cows, pigs and fish, are the largest group of animals exploited and slaughtered. In Poland, 840 million animals are killed every year for meat, food, fur and other products (as of 2012). This inconceivable number includes only land vertebrates. We do not know the exact number of fish slaughtered every year in Poland – their record is kept in tonnes, this being another way to deprive these animals of their individualism.
As many as 68 billion animals are slaughtered every year around the globe. These animals live their entire life kept in limited space, beaten up and abused, as well as suffering from conditions brought about by genetic modifications they are subject to and psychic problems caused by confinement and maltreatment.
Animals bred for food, clothing, etc. are essentially no different from pets – pigs or hens are as intelligent as dogs, and cows or geese show the same depth of emotional life as cats. The only difference is that our culture earmarked pigs as being edible instead of dogs. Ironically, we are appalled at people who eat dogs in Asia, forgetting that we consume similar animals ourselves.
Following the plant-based diet is important because it shows that animal lives are important to us and that animals deserve respect and basic rights, such as the right to live without suffering and in accordance with their natural capacity and needs. We do not have the right to deprive animals of their lives. They are not here to complement us – they are autonomous and free living beings that should live independent of us.
Following the plant-based diet, we protect our environment, saving it for future generations – for our children and grandchildren. To build new factory farms for breeding animals and to farm soy for feeding them, forests, including rain forests, are cleared. If the today’s pace is maintained, almost the entire area of Amazonia – the “lungs” of our planet – can disappear by 2030.
The same is true of manufacturing palm oil – forests are cleared with orangutans living there being killed. If the today’s pace is maintained, 98% of forests on Borneo and Sumatra are going to vanish by 2022. Factory farming operations cause severe environmental damage, degrading soil, contaminating water with animal waste as well as emitting large amounts of gases. All that contributes to serious climate changes around the globe.
Animal farming is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than is generated by transportation (14%). Animal farming is responsible for 70% of global water usage.
According to a United Nations report, the plant-based diet has the potential to save us and the world we live in.
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The plant-based diet turns out to be economical. It can help to feed more people and combat hunger, e.g. in regions of poverty and hunger in Africa. According to scientific calculations, 10 hectares of land can feed: 2 people if used to breed animals, 24 people if sowed with cereal and 64 people if sowed with soy. A single hectare can provide us with 10 times more plant protein than animal protein.
It protects us from various conditions, such as heart disease, heart attack, tumour (i.e. breast, cervix or prostate), diabetes, overweight and hypertension. According to the American Dietetic Association (currently Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), the plant-based diet is suitable for people of all ages – children, teenagers, adults, pregnant women and elderly persons. Following the plant-based diet, we keep our good, youthful look and stay healthy, avoiding getting colds and infections of all sorts.
The plant-based diet can be a source of new flavours and experiences with an abundance of products: vegetables, fruit, herbs, groats, pastas, grains, nuts and seeds. The plant-based diet will fill you up and is by no means ascetic! It is also neither expensive nor laborious – you can simply browse through vegan cooking blogs to find recipes for quick dishes from readily available products.
There are many people who decided to become vegan and refuse to follow the meat-based diet. In some countries, like Sweden, Germany, USA and Israel, as much as 10% of population is now vegetarian or vegan.
Many celebrities have chosen to embark on this ethical and healthy lifestyle, including David Duchovny, who even wrote a book on factory farming and animal rights entitled “Holy Cow” , Jared Leto, Megan Fox, Byan Adams, Erykah Badu, Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia deRossi, Moby, Thom York from Radiohead, Usher, Gwen Stefani, Jay Z, Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washigton, Forest Withaker, K.D. Lang, Woody Harrelson, James Cameron, Venus and Serena Williams, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and many more.
Remember! You do not have to become vegetarian/vegan from day one – you can approach this goal gradually in your own pace by initially cutting down on certain animal products, such as meat.
It is important to reduce animal suffering. Hence, every meal without animal products is important as it helps to spare animal lives.
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