Why go vegan? The elevator pitch giving the reasons to choose a vegan diet crams several compelling points into just a few seconds. It goes something like this.
Words Apernah Dubey
Veganism is not a revolutionary new idea. It is the way humans are meant to eat in order to co- exist with the other life forms respectfully, it is a lifestyle that supports kindness, peace and harmony. People try to morally justify their cruelty and exploitation of animals to fulfill their most basic desires- to add more “taste” to their food, to add more varieties of protein because eating ethically and living sustainably isn’t for everyone and is seen as too extreme by many. Media has us all brainwashed into thinking that eating meat and consuming dairy is a necessity, so the responsibility to educate ourselves on the topic becomes a moral duty and a prerequisite.
I come from a vegetarian family and we mostly grow our own food and milk our own cows, however, living in Mumbai for more than eight years now has made me try all the things I’ve been ‘missing out’ on living a simple life, but some of it never felt right and that includes eating meat of any kind. I’ve truly enjoyed lobsters and crabs, but soon as it slips past my tongue I despised it, more so being an empath, it made me feel their pain a lot closely. I didn’t make a swift change and I felt anxiety and mental fatigue kicking in. I was lagging behind in many departments and my mood was always bitter, however, I never could’ve thought that it is because of the meat. I turned vegan not to cure my anxiety and bad mood but I realised that it has surely made me calm and patient.
An average human being lives around 82 years, eating three meals a day, making the total count of food consumption by one person in his lifetime to approximately 89,790 …and sadly, global meat consumption increased by 58% over the last20 years to reach 360 million tonnes. Population growth accounted for 54% of this increase and per person consumption growth accounted for the remainder. With the growth in per capita income the crimes and unjust against animals has also had to increase twice to meet the consumer demands and that has led to a low quality life and almost no security for the meek and vulnerable animals that depend upon humans for their survival and security.
Over the years, extensive research has been done on the topic to conclude that a vegan diet is healthy, safe and nutritionally adequate for all stages of life; including pregnancy, lactation and infancy. This is also supported by the British Dietetic Association as well as the NHS. Furthermore, it has been found with conclusive evidence that it links some of our leading diseases and illnesses including heart diseases, certain forms of cancer and type 2 diabetes to consuming animal products, making the killing of innocent animals a completely unnecessary and criminal action. Also, biologically and physiologically speaking, our bodies resemble more closely to herbivores rather than omnivores. Our intestines are on an average three times larger than of an omnivore; furthermore the hydrochloric acid in our stomach is weaker to not just carnivores but also omnivores. Morally, I personally feel, since there’s no necessity to do the abuse there needn’t be a moral justification required for the same.
A meal for you lasts a couple seconds in your mouth and a couple hours in your body but that meal has cost the animal their entire life and most human beings can’t kill the animals themselves but don’t mind paying others to do the same while being oblivious to the truth and torture they sided with for the sake of a meal. Some might argue that consuming animals is part of the food chain; it’s the circle of life. Well, yes death is unavoidable but it’s meant to be symbiotic and harmonious in nature, what we put these animals through when we selectively breed them, genetically modify them, when we artificially inseminate and forcibly impregnate them, when we mutilate them, separate them from their families and exploit them for what they naturally produce for their own species, when we cut their throats and bleed them to death has nothing to do with a natural order and doesn’t fit the description of the food chain . By reducing the amount of forced breeding animals we can tackle the task of having too many animals loitering around. As for plants, they don’t have consciousness or a central nervous system, so the argument that plants also feel pain is utterly ridiculous and isn’t going to discourage the practice of veganism.
Also, I now enjoy cooking a lot more. The guilt factor is gone and I know that I am doing my bit. Turning vegan has opened a whole new horizon to explore, including new intentionally living and driven people who care about one another as much as they care about the planet and its residents. We understand this place is our responsibility and hence every environmental problem and challenge is a personal problem in a way to be faced and solved. I surely look forward to passing down my knowledge and findings to as many people as possible as well as the next generation.
According to the United Nation, the world population in 2020 is 7.8 billion and as of September 2020, the total number of vegans in the world is approximately 78 million. That means we need a lot more awareness around veganism. Most people I know call themselves an animal lover but their actions contradict their values as they continue to pay to make these animals suffer and die on their behalf day after day, meal after meal. It’s time to look at ourselves in the mirror and truly face the facts we have been sleeping on because animal abuse hasn’t stopped yet and is only increasing with the increase in population, urbanisation and inaccessibility to high quality vegetables and fruits.