Why go vegan?

The meat, egg and dairy industry are some of the most environmentally unfriendly industries on the planet. About half of the global crop yield goes purely towards feeding cattle. On top of the water needed to grow these crops, the cattle also need more to sate their thirst. About 80% of global farmland is used purely for animal farming. The food used to produce US livestock alone could feed 800 million people. All these problems are strictly environmental and devoid of ethical bankruptcy of the meat, dairy and egg industry. You can help reduce the impact of the meat, egg and dairy industry by going vegan (if you have no allergies or health risks that would prevent you from doing so). Alternatively you may consider significantly reducing your consumption of products made by the meat, egg and dairy industry. Being vegan isn’t as hard or expensive as you may think, especially in the UK.

The only essential things you need to be reasonably healthy are B12 supplements and a good variety of fruit and veg. What makes veganism seem expensive are all the non-essentials: animal product replicas and junk food. Plant-based milk is not essential, and mock meats most definitely aren’t. Nevertheless, plant-based milk can be found relatively cheaply, for example I recently found a litre of Alpro soya for 49p. There is good advice for diet planning on the NHS website and many useful diet calculators online if you are anxious about potential health implications. 

Why am I encouraging a vegan diet rather than a vegetarian one? The production of milk and eggs requires animals – which requires more of them to be bred into existence. This means there is still significant environmental damage caused by raising the demand for dairy and eggs. There are also many ethical considerations when supporting the meat, egg and dairy industry. More than 90% of meat that people eat comes from factory farming. Factory farming involves putting many animals into minimal amounts of space; breeding and using hormones to give them an unhealthy muscle mass, and making them produce animal products like eggs and dairy too often; as well as killing and processing them as quickly as possible. Animal welfare is often kept at the legal minimum, and the focus is on maximising the amount of product produced. 

I would encourage all our readers to research this topic further so that they may be more informed on the implications of their eating habits.

Author: Easwar Vivekanandan