The basic premise of veganism is an ethic of compassion to minimise suffering in the world. Any sentient being is capable of feeling pain. We vegans try to minimise harm to all sentient beings. Just about all products originating from nonhuman animals cause harm and a vegan avoids them all: flesh from slaughtered animals, dairy products from enslaved dairy cows, eggs from battery hens living in situations resembling concentration camps and more.
Another bonus for vegans is that on a low-fat vegan diet you are far less likely to suffer from major ‘diseases of civilisation’ such as heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
A diet of plant-based foods is good for the Earth. Vegan foods require the least amount of land, water and energy to produce. Vegan foods also cause the least amount of soil erosion and pollution.
Most of the food crops that are grown in developed countries go towards feeding animals for the meat, dairy and egg industries, not for feeding humans. If we cut out our consumption of animal foods, we can live on a fraction of the cost to the Earth: costs in pesticides, fossil fuel input, arable land used, water used, water pollution and soil erosion. The Earth as well as the animals will thank you for turning vegan.
Millions of people around the world are questioning their dietary habits. The typical high fat, high cholesterol, high protein, low fibre, largely refined diet has been increasingly indicted as the prime contributing cause of heart disease, strokes, circulatory ailments; diabetes; various types of cancer and numerous other serious health problems. Public attention is also being drawn to the injustice and cruelty of preventing animals from living their own natural lives in glaring contrast to the brutal realities of the appalling conditions in which our slave ‘food-animals’ are usually raised and slaughtered.
Another major source of urgent concern is that the greatest waste of natural resources, the worst producer of desert and famine, a prime motive for the despoiling of vitally needed tropical rain-forest and the most wasteful use and pollution of precious water supplies, all involve the raising, feeding and slaughtering of livestock for food. The terrible ecological results of this human short-sightedness and callousness may in many areas be passing the point of irreversibility.
Thoughtful, caring people realise there has to be a better way and there is. Veganism is an ethical way of living without the use of animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy foods. Vegans enjoy a plant based diet including wholefoods as basic sources, such as vegetables, grains, legumes, fruit, nuts, and seeds. A typical vegan cookbook lists wide varieties of delightful recipes for soups, entrees, salads, dressings, vegetable dishes, casseroles, sauces, ‘dairy substitutes’, breads, pasta, pizzas and deserts (icecreams, puddings, cakes, pies and biscuits) – all made without ingredients of animal origin. This is the time tested total vegetarian system that is nutritionally balanced, helpful and humane, ethically and scientifically sound, naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, low fat and low sodium and contains no cholesterol.
Vegans also oppose the use of leather shoes, fur coats, woollen garments and other products of animal cruelty, suffering and death. Vegans realise that it makes no difference to the animal whether we kill her to eat her or wear her and that there is no ‘innocent-by-product’ of animal cruelty and exploitation.
The natural results of widespread veganism are not only better human health and happier circumstances for the animal nations but also a tremendous alleviation of the environmental burden place upon this planet. As it takes two or three acres to feed someone on the Standard Australian Diet, but only a fraction of an acre to feed a vegan, the land use of economy factor has a ratio of about 10:1. In terms of water used to grow food, it takes less than 1/3 as much to feed a lacto/ovo vegetarian (one who still consumes milk and eggs) but it takes less than 1/13 of the usual amount of water, to grow the food for a vegan.
There is a better way than perpetual animal slavery, suffering and slaughter, human hunger and malnutrition, waste of natural resources and pollution of our environment.
What’s wrong with dairy? The life of a dairy cow and her offspring are painfully hard. Just like humans, cows only give milk after the birth of a baby. This means that to continue to take milk from a cow, the farmer must repeatedly impregnate her on what are commonly called “rape racks”. The calves born by dairy cows become a “waste product” of the dairy industry. They are taken away from their mother shortly after birth, causing stress to both mother and baby. Many calves are sent straight to the slaugherhouse and killed when they are just a few days old. Others are confined in small crates for a few months until they are slaughtered and their flesh sold as “white” veal. Some of the female calves become dairy cows themselves. Because she has been bred to have an unnaturally large udder, she may suffer from mastitis, an inflamation of the mammary gland which causes severe pain and distress. She may also suffer from lameness, due to the distension of her huge udder, which causes her great pain, forcing her to lie down as much as possible. After 7 or 8 years she is “spent” and taken to slaughter. In the wild she could live to be 20 years old.
What about eggs? Under natural conditions, hens live about 10 years. But the life span of a hen used for egg production is about 18 months. She spends all of this time packed into a tiny cage stacked on top of each other in huge sheds. She never sees the sunlight and is constantly stressed. She is manipulated to lay an egg almost every day of her life, laying so many eggs that her bones snap from osteoporosis. The unwanted by-products, day-old male chicks, are killed by gassing, suffocation or crushing to death.
The cruelty of fishing: Pain begins when the hook pierces the mouth and the fish is reeled in. Many people remove the hook while the fish is still alive. Pain is further increased if large fish are landed with a gaff hook. The large hook on a handle rips into the flesh of the live fish to pull out of the water. Live baiting is another barbaric activity that increases pain. A live small fish is threaded up as bait for larger fish. The needle is passed through the front of the eyesocket of both eyes. The material is then pulled through so that the hook sits on the head of the baitfish. Remember the bait fish is alive and feels pain, just as a dog or cat (or indeed a human) would. See more atfishfeel.org.
“As long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace.”
– Isaac Bashevis Singer