We live in a world that’s so messed up, it seems nothing we can do will make any real difference. What can I do about Famine? Violence? Disease? Climate change? Deforestation? Pollution? Over fishing? The list seems endless and each problem insurmountable. My vegan story began when I realized that there was one simple thing I could do, to not only reduce my contribution to many of these problems, but also become part of the solution.
Animal agriculture is the number one cause of almost every environmental disaster you can name: from deforestation to climate change; from over fishing to desertification. Add to that the enormous inefficiency of growing plants to feed to animals instead of eating them directly; the majority of antibiotics produced are used on animals and the majority of infectious diseases come from animals. When I discovered that on top of these there were negative impacts of animal products on our health via obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, I really had to ask: is it necessary?
But by far the most persuasive reason I discovered to stop eating animals and their ‘products’ relates to the hypocrisy I saw in myself. I love animals, I’m crazy about my dogs and cats and even the chickens we used to have as pets. I would never do anything to harm an animal and would go out of my way to help animals in distress. And yet I was funding the most barbaric mistreatment of pigs, cows, sheep, chickens and fish (not to mention dogs, rabbits, rats and mice used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical testing). As if they were different to the other animals I loved. This sort of discrimination is identical to racism and sexism.
But as I discovered, there is great news: we can opt out! We can thrive on a diet that avoids, as far as possible, the use of animals. And while we’re at it, we get bonus health points, and massively reduce our environmental impact to boot.
Everyone has to eat. If you’re looking for a new-year’s resolution why not choose to make a difference with every meal in January.