Most simply, a person following a vegan lifestyle avoids eating or using animal products.
Besides the wish to avoid harming another conscious life, there are substantial health, environmental, and human rights reasons for veganism. Industrial animal agriculture is, if not the largest, one of the most significant contributors to human-created global climate change. Moreover, according to the United Nations, so-called factory farms are extreme polluters, and are often placed near lower income communities that do not have the resources to battle gigantic agribusiness corporations.
The production and consumption of animal products are responsible for a multitude of human health risks, from an increased risk for certain cancers and other diseases, to the creation of super bacteria due to the heavy use of antibiotics on factory farms.
According to Human Rights Watch, workers in the U.S. meat and poultry industries “endure unnecessarily hazardous work conditions, and the companies employing them often use illegal tactics to crush union organizing efforts.” Industrial animal agriculture is one of the most dangerous and unregulated industries in the world.
If one is concerned with the liberation of animals, the protection of the environment, and human well being, veganism is the best choice and an important starting point for serious activism.
Livestock’s Long Shadow – United Nations Report
Blood, Sweat, and Fear – Human Rights Watch Report
Forks Over Knives – Documentary
- Why Should We Care?
- Animal Testing
- Companion Animals
- What to Do?