Why vegan?

There are many reasons why people choose to go vegan, but most of them fall into one of three categories:

Health

Environment

Animals

Here is a brief snapshot of each of these aspects. If you’d like to find out more, check out our FAQ page.

Health

A well balanced vegan diet consists largely of unprocessed, whole foods: lots of fruit and veg, whole grains and legumes. By nature it is a diverse diet, rich in fibre, low GI and high in complex carbohydrates and good fats. Because plant products break down quickly and easily, many people feel lighter and eat more frequent meals, which means their energy lasts through the day.

From a health perspective, a vegan diet dramatically reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Many top athletes have found that a vegan diet improves their performance, allowing them to train harder and recover more quickly. While there is a fair amount of pseudo-science claiming also sorts of vegan super-powers, there is no dispute that a vegan diet can be one of the healthiest (and most delicious) ways to eat to thrive.

People eat meat and think they will become strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass.Pino Caruso

Environment

There are a lot of us humans on this planet: 7 billion is a staggeringly large number. All those people need clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, fertile soil to grow food and reliable systems to clean their waste. We all have a footprint on the earth…

Have you ever felt despondent about the problems facing our planet? Drought, climate change, over-population, rainforest destruction, fresh water pollution, ocean acidification and coral reef bleaching… to name just a few. Since animal agriculture is responsible for up to 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions and uses vast swathes of land, choosing a diet that does not rely on animal products is one of the most effective ways to reduce our environmental impact. By cutting out the “middle animal” we can go straight to the nutrient’s source and reduce our footprint on this planet: a vegan diet uses a fraction of the land, produces a fraction of the greenhouse gases and uses much less water compared with diets that include meat and dairy.

It is so rewarding to know that with each meal that you eat, you can have a positive impact on the environment!

You can’t be an environmentalist and eat animal products.Howard Lyman

Animals

If you’ve ever had a dog or a cat as a companion, you will know that animals have personalities: some like attention, others are anxious, love to play, have a favourite food, have particular humans they love to nap on or other animals that they get on with. They purr with pleasure, they bark in fright, the yelp with pain or they whine in fear. Sure, we sometimes anthropomorphise them, but one thing is certain: they are sentient – meaning, they feel pain and pleasure and have keen perception.

Farm animals are similarly sentient and capable. Cows have personalities: they love a good scratch, have favourite foods, grieve over death, and jump for joy when given freedom. Pigs are smarter than most dogs, and even chickens are surprisingly clever, showing character and ingenuity.

We would never dream of hurting (much less eating) a dog or a cat, but we have been desensitised to the treatment of farm animals. Marketing campaigns have convinced us that the milk we have in our coffee comes from happy, care-free cows; that the eggs we eat for breakfast come from generous, broody hens. The uniformity in colouring also tricks us into thinking of them as mere units of production, hiding the fact that they are individuals – with quirks and voices, preferences and friends.

Without going into the horrific details of the standard treatments of farm animals (even the free range ones!), consider this for a moment: if you could eat wonderfully tasty, healthful foods without causing any suffering, wouldn’t that be preferable? Are our habits and taste preferences really more important that an animal’s will to live and not be harmed?

So, the arguments in favour of veganism come to this:

1) A vegan diet can provide all we need to thrive (deliciously, to boot!);
2) If offered a choice, most of us would avoid harming an animal or damaging the environment.

Veganism offers us an opportunity to align our actions with our values.

The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?’Jeremy Bentham