There are three main catalysts why people choose to embrace veganism; personal health, animal welfare and environmental concerns. Some vegans may be more passionate about one over the others, however in many cases it’s a combination of all three reasons that drives people to lead a vegan lifestyle. This quick post will give a very brief introduction to each topic summarising the reasoning behind why people go vegan. For more info about living a vegan lifestyle check out more posts in the How to Go Vegan section.
01. Personal health
It’s widely accepted that following a whole food plant-based diet is excellent for good health. There is a growing international medical community, including the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, highlighting the health risks of a standard omnivorous diet whilst championing the role of plant-based foods in promoting improved health. In fact, the consumption of animal products is one of the leading causes of life-threatening conditions such as obesity, heart disease and cancer. A whole food plant-based diet can actually reverse such conditions. Read more here about the effects of a plant-based diet on your body.
These facts probably come as a surprise for most people because of the widespread misinformation campaigns that we’ve been fed for decades. The vast influence and lobbying power of the profit-hungry meat, dairy and egg industries means that, even though they know their products are bad for us, they do everything in their power to hide these risks from the public eye – all in order to make (lots of) money.
Faced with such a powerful force, it’s an uphill battle to get the truth out there. The good news is that, after years as a relatively underground movement, veganism is starting to gain huge popularity. As the real facts about diet and health are becoming more widely reported in the media, it’s getting harder for animal agriculture to hide the dirty truth.
More and more people are clocking on to the fact that a plant-based diet can improve their general wellbeing, whilst waking up to the fact that the products they’ve been told are healthy are actually killing them. Thanks to the 2019 documentary film about plant-based professional athletes, The Game Changers, the topic of strength and the power of plant-based nutrition is now more accessible to mainstream audiences than ever before.
02. Animal welfare
For many vegans, standing up for animal rights remains the most important factor in their decision to go vegan. At the core of the movement is a strong desire to fight against all exploitation of animals.
Millions of animals are slaughtered around the world every day for food, not to mention the billions of animals who are enslaved in the dairy and egg industry as commodities, or have their natural habitat destroyed around them. Vegans make a stand against this mistreatment by, at the very least, refusing to buy products that have exploited animals in some way or form.
Vegans are against all kinds of exploitation of animals, which influences the clothes they buy – avoiding clothing that derives from animal sources such as leather and wool, for example. Additionally, they avoid cosmetics and other household products that are tested on animals or include animal products, buying (and sometimes making their own) plant-based alternatives instead.
The use of animals for entertainment purposes is also something that vegans are strongly against, so they will avoid partaking in any activities such as tourist elephant rides or dolphin shows, for example.
03. Environmental impact
Agriculture, specifically breeding and raising animals for food, does more to harm our environment than pollution from all forms of transport combined. Not only is livestock production responsible for an alarming amount of greenhouse gas emissions, animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, ocean dead zones and species extinction.
For many people, the most effective way they can do their part to help reverse climate change, is by removing the most harmful foods from their plate. There is growing consensus among the global scientific community that transitioning the world’s population over to a plant-based diet may be one of the most impactful ways humans can combat global warming.
So, as you can see, there are three compelling reasons why people choose to go vegan. If you can relate to at least one of these causes, why not give veganism a go? If you’re curious about how a plant-based diet affects your health, read more about what happens to your body when you switch to a vegan diet.
I know that since I have been vegan, I feel so much more content. I wake up each morning in the knowledge that I’m healthier than ever before, no animal will have to die today for my taste pleasure, and that I’m doing my part to reduce my carbon footprint.