Veganism and its prevalence
Veganism is a lifestyle based on the fundamental idea of abolishing the harm to all animals.
“1.2 billion farmed animals are slaughtered globally every week. So in one week, more farmed animals are killed than the total number of people killed in all wars throughout history.”
Veganism typically involves avoidance of any animal-based product. The ideology has received excessive endorsement and assistance only recently, but the concept has existed for several decades. Since the earlier times people from all walks of life have taken up veganism or a vegetarian life. Be it writers, scientists, religious leaders, sportspersons, or even polymaths, they’ve all been here.
“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
― Leonardo Da Vinci
All of these people may have their personal reasons and their personal motivations to remain at it. Regardless of the differences, all vegans are connected through a similar line of thought: the longing for ethicality and strive for a healthier lifestyle.
Animals have feelings and emotions and they do feel pain. Many researchers such as Prof. Marc Bekoff are starting to recognise and advocate that. In fact, only recently even the Brussels Parliament unanimously recognised animals as sentient beings.
Animal sentience should be the most obvious fact that many seem to deliberately disdain to put their underlying guilt at ease. Be it when your dog jumps around excitedly when you return from a hard day at work or when a pig squeals desperately at a slaughterhouse while having their throats slashed. Those are emotions, and those are feelings; of joy and happiness and of pain and terror.
According to the Vegetarian Calculator an average person living in a developed country who is not a vegetarian or vegan will consume approximately 7,000 animals during his or her lifetime.
Seven thousand individual ‘sentiences’ for just one other.
So… what makes you a vegan?
The answer depends on what you mean by your question. Do you want to know what motivates you to be a vegan? Or do you want to know who is a vegan?
In actuality the vegan lifestyle is subject to interpretations too. Some people see veganism as a form of plant-based diet and limit it to that. On the other hand, others see veganism as a way of life, where they abstain from usage of all animal-based products. The particularities vary from person to person. There’s debate where honey should be a part of the vegan diet or not (it’s not vegan by definition and by spirit though) and whether second hand leather jackets from a thrift store resonate with vegan ideals or not.
As for motivation
It is to diminish animal cruelty and recognise and accept their sentience. People often do it given their empathy towards animals. This is one of the most prominent reasons, after all, animals should have a right to freedom and life, just like the slaves and women did back then.
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the British Dietetic Association have both recognised veganism as suitable and healthy at any age. Vegan diets are often linked when lower cholesterol and blood pressure and consequently lower risk of heart problems, type 2 diabetes and even some kinds of cancer!
The need for a sustainable environment
Production of animal-based products has shown to have a heavy environmental toll. There’s a hefty amount of transportation involved in getting animals from one place to another and rearing them requires a lot of water and crops. The need for vast green lands is a leading cause of deforestation and consequent loss of habitat for species that eventually even go extinct.
And… What keeps you one?
The core reason why many choose to remain a vegan is because the effect of ethical change has real benefits that they encounter due to this transition. Plant based vegan diets are scientifically proven to be healthy according to many studies. Vegan diets are richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E. In addition they can help lose weight, they may improve kidney function, and protect against certain cancers as well.
Given the rise in the Vegan Movement there’s been a prominent shift in the commercial market which now focuses on vegan consumers. With vegan e-commerce websites such as VgungHo, Rareearthorganics, The Organic Store, The Ecosattva store, Getmoksha and The Ecotrunk it is now easier than ever to maintain a vegan lifestyle. To conclude, vegan lifestyle is no longer a pain in the b*tt to follow but the same as any other one. You can track such changes on vegan news websites too e.g. LiveKindly and VegNews.
Finally, there are the great writers of now and then that remind us of the importance of veganism with their intricate choice of lexicon and sometimes paradoxical constructions that force us… to feel things.
“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
– Leo Tolstoy