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4 causes that you could contribute to by going vegan

You probably have met people that decided to go vegan after learning about its benefits for human health, its positive impact on the environment, its links with animal rights, its potential for social justice, or even precisely because of the connection that those causes have between each other…

These causes do not exclude themselves from one another. You can be deeply against animal cruelty and at the same time very concerned about the future of our planet while still caring for your health and the life of those around you.

It’s not a new idea to think that we, as humans and as activists, care deeply about many different things. So, why would we have just one good reason to do something?

Everything’s connected

Over the years, different movements have found themselves connecting paths and, as they recognized the similarities between their goals, they’ve made joint efforts and alliances to help their causes thrive.

Slowly but surely, movements like ecologism, animal rights, and social justice have found common ground in the understanding that their causes may be connected.

One of the best examples to show just how linked these movements are to each other is to study how veganism can positively impact so many different issues that may also be causes we hold dear.

  1. Environment

Agriculture is responsible for approximately 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions and animal agriculture— including livestock, fisheries and grain production for animal food— accounts for more than half of this amount. If nothing changes, experts project it will account for almost half of the world’s allowable budget for greenhouse gas emissions, for a 1.5°C temperature increase scenario by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

But greenhouse gas emissions are not the only factor to consider if we wish to measure our food system’s impact on environmental conditions. A 2019 report by Ceres estimates that the current food industry uses more than 70% of the world’s fresh water to grow crops, feed livestock, and process ingredients.

Opposite this climate crisis, a report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating emissions. “A dietary shift away from meat can reduce GHG emissions, reduce cropland and pasture requirements, enhance biodiversity protection, and reduce mitigation costs.”

These consequences could bring even more benefits. According to the IPCC, they would increase the potential for other land-based response options and reduce the need for them by freeing land, resulting in a decreased production intensity that “could reduce soil erosion and provide benefits to a range of other environmental indicators such as deforestation and decreased use of fertiliser (nitrogen and phosphorus), pesticides, water and energy”.

There’s no other way around it. Environmental causes are and need to be in deep connection with animal rights movements if both want to be successful.

2. Animals

For animal welfare, the impact of our food production system is clear. In 2019, the Sentience Institute estimated that over 90% of farmed animals globally were living in factory farms. This means that these methods, where animals are kept in very small cages or overcrowded spaces to be exploited for their entire lives, are not only cruel and unethical but they are also the most common industrial way of production. Factory farmed animals are deprived of their most basic natural behaviors and will most likely suffer through pain and diseases.

But even if the conditions in animal farms were not so dreadful and unsanitary, it still wouldn’t be ethical to raise an animal, a sentient being who can feel joy, sadness, pain, and suffering, just for the purpose of killing them for food. As it has been established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegan diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate—meaning humans can live without eating animal products. In other words, we do not have the need to make animals suffer nor to kill them.

3. Human rights

Our current food production system negatively impacts our environment and non-human animals, but it also affects humans. More specifically, it especially affects vulnerable groups like non-white and Indigenous communities, women, and people from lower and middle income countries (LMICs).

A usually forgotten part of the food production industry is not the people who finance and benefit from it, but the ones who are actually working inside its buildings: the slaughterhouse workers. A study conducted with workers and managers revealed that they are at high risk of both psychological and physical endangerment. According to the study, it is due to their poor socio-economic background, lack of training, and the shortage of safety equipment at the site that the employees “often lack adequate resources to cope with the strenuous environment.”

As the demand for animal products continues to grow, companies want to follow along, but to increase their production, they also need to increase their land use. That’s how it’s a common thing to see major food companies expand their terrains using unethical methods like land grabbing and deforestation that directly undermines the livelihoods of Indigenous and traditional communities.

Remember when we mentioned that our current food production system based on animal production negatively impacts our environment? Well, now it’s time to see just a sneak peek of what this climate crisis could mean for the human race.

IPCC projections highlight that, throughout the 21st century, climate change related events such as sea level rise, droughts, and changes in the production of food will cause an increase in the number of migrations.

As with the COVID-19 pandemic, some already vulnerable groups would be especially affected by these issues: the IPCC states that people who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change and also to some adaptation and mitigation responses.

Throughout the 21st century, "climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger, according to the IPCC report.

Furthermore, the report warns that a climate change crisis could ultimately promote violence in the form of civil war and inter-group conflicts. How? According to the experts, climate change would amplify the “well-documented drivers” of these conflicts, such as poverty and economic shocks, which would indirectly lead to a rise in violent conflicts.

4. World hunger

One must wonder how it is possible for companies to be constantly expanding and growing their production, if world hunger still continues to be an issue we need to address. The FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report projected that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020 and impacted women more than men.

How do we tackle this tremendous injustice? Maybe your answer is “we should produce enough food to feed everyone!” However, although your wishes are noble, the truth is: we already do, according to the United Nations.

Studies have shown that the production of meat, fish in aquaculture, eggs, and dairy requires 83% of the world’s farmland, despite providing only 37% of our protein and 18% of our calories. If the grain used as animal feed was instead used for direct human consumption, an extra four billion people could be fed!

So, what can we do?

We know you care about all of these topics and more. Just like you, we want to build a better world for humans and for animals. We want everyone to be safe and healthy, to have enough food to eat, and enough room to live in.

Animal agriculture is one of the main responsibles of the suffering of trillions of animals—both humans and non-humans. We can’t continue to promote this food system model if we aim to build a just and fair world.

Many actions can be taken, but one of the most effective ones will be an action that combines all of these causes. By going vegan, you will be fighting against animal cruelty, climate change, social injustice, and more. Let’s end animal agriculture once and for all!

You can start changing the world today. Join our community of dedicated vegan activists from all over the world and fight for what you believe in! Click here to learn more.


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