Are you an animal lover looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Are you against deforestation, habitat destruction, and world hunger? Do you think farmed animals deserve to feel fresh air on their skin, and have the freedom to run and play outside? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, going vegan might be the New Year’s resolution for you. Read our 20 reasons to go vegan this Veganuary below:
1. To boycott farmed-animal cruelty: cattle
One of the most powerful things you can do to boycott animal cruelty in the intensive farming industry to stop buying their products. Although there are some farms which prioritise animal welfare (such as ‘ethical dairy’, Ahimsa) many readily available dairy products are made at great cost to cattle. Despite the strong maternal instincts of cows, new-born calves are taken from their mothers either to be slaughtered or raised as dairy cows. If not killed, they enter the same cycle as their mothers, where they will be continuously impregnated only for their babies to be taken from them. Why not swap your cows milk for some oat milk and take a stand against animal cruelty?
2. To boycott farmed-animal cruelty: poultry
According to farmed animal welfare group Open Cages, most of the chicken in the UK comes from “Frankenchicken”. This is a term used to describe chickens who are forced to grow so quickly that they are usually unable to walk. 2 million egg-laying hens are currently living in abhorrent conditions across Scotland, where they are kept in cages a little larger than the size of an A4 piece of paper. They never see the light of day. With so many vegan chicken and egg replacements available, cutting this cruelty from your diet is easier than you think!
Image from Viva!
3. To boycott farmed-animal cruelty: pigs
Despite the popular view that pigs are dirty creatures, they actually like to keep themselves clean. They’re also extremely clever, possessing the same level of intelligence as that of a 3-year-old child. And yet, thousands of pigs are being kept in filthy, cruel conditions across the UK before they are eventually slaughtered for their meat. Pregnant sows are kept in farrowing crates until their piglets are weaned, where they are left with so little room that they cannot move. These piglets are then mutilated. Their teeth and tails are cut down to stop them biting each other in these cramped conditions. You may think a cheap bacon sandwich is tasty, but is it worth all this suffering?
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
4. To boycott animal cruelty: cephalopods and decapods
We’d certainly be shocked if people cooked their chicken by boiling birds alive, so why is it the norm to do so with lobsters? Octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus (cephalopods) and lobster, crab and crayfish (decapod crustaceans) are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. Yet, with no legal protection in Scotland, these animals are subject to endless cruelty from the moment they are caught to when they end up on a plate.
5. To boycott farmed-animal cruelty: fish
Fish are a farmed animal which are often over-looked and forgotten about, yet they are treated with immense cruelty in the farming industry. Infested with sea lice, crammed into small cages, suffering from disease and deformities, farmed salmon are kept in abhorrent conditions across Scotland. Plans are currently in place to double national salmon production by 2030. Nobody wants to eat diseased, deformed and lice-infested fish, so try and switch your salmon for something vegan instead.
6. To boycott farmed-animal cruelty: live exports
Every year, millions of farmed animals are forced to travel long and stressful journeys before they are eventually slaughtered for meat. These animals suffer greatly in these over-crowded conditions, where they face disease, illness, dehydration, pain, stress and exhaustion. Depending on their destination, welfare legislation could be far worse than that of the Scotland or the EU, so there’s no telling what further suffering these poor animals may endure. The UK and Scottish governments are both currently consulting on possible changes to how farmed animals are transported, so there may be improvements soon. Nonetheless, all transport is stressful to animals so the shorter and fewer the journeys, the better.
7. To reduce your carbon footprint
The meat and dairy industries have astronomical impacts on our planet. 5.6 million hectares of land in Brazil is used to grow soy beans for animal feed in Europe! Forests are being destroyed across the world to produce meat, which releases billions of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. According to the UN, meat and dairy account for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Animal-based foods have a much larger carbon footprint than plant-based alternatives.
Image by sippakorn yamkasikorn from Pixabay
8. To discover new foods
People often think going vegan means that you have a restricted diet. While this may be true as far as animal-products are concerned, there’s a multitude of plant-based alternatives out there! Scottish supermarkets are full of vegan alternatives to sausages, burgers, mince, steaks, milk, yoghurts, sauces…….the list is endless. Join our Animal-friendly Finds group on Facebook to browse our supporters’ favourite vegan products.
9. To cut cruelty out of your household
Veganism doesn’t just extend to your diet; it’s a way of life. It can be surprising to learn that many ordinary household products aren’t vegan. For example (tw: animal cruelty), many popular cleaning brands test on animals, as do perfumes and other beauty products. Check out this cruelty-free search tool* to see if any of your favourite products test on animals and which brands don’t.
10. To improve your cooking
Do you hate cooking? Fed up of making the same dishes again and again? Or are you just up for a new challenge in the kitchen? Going vegan is a sure-fire way to switch up your food and make cooking more enjoyable! Did you know you can whip up the water in tins of chickpeas to create a vegan alternative to egg whites? And that you can then make a delicious alternative to tuna with the remaining chickpeas? Vegan cooking is full of amazing tips, tricks and recipes that will reignite your love of cooking.
Image – vegan unicorn cupcake by Vegan Cakes Edinburgh
11. To lower your risk of Heart Disease
According to a scientific study from 2014, switching to a vegan diet reverses the effects of heart disease by 22%. Vegans in general are found to have a lower risk of getting heart disease, according to the NHS.
12. To boycott deforestation
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. Across the world, soy bean crops (for animal feed) are destroying natural forest habitats and having terrible impacts on local wildlife. The Amazon rainforest is vast approaching the point where it will no longer be able to sustain itself due to deforestation, and as a biodiversity hotspot, this could result in the loss of thousands of endemic species. In just 100 years, there may be no rainforest left on earth if animal agriculture is to continue at its current rate.
Image by Fernando Parhusip from Pixabay
13. To lower your cholesterol
Switching to a vegan diet will significantly lower your intake of saturated fat which, helping to lower your cholesterol. Foods such as meat, dairy and eggs are all high in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats, all of which increase your risk of getting a heart attack. Ditching animal products from your diet is a great way to cut down your cholesterol and improve your health.
Image by silviarita from Pixabay
14. To cut the risk of cancer
Research suggests that diets rich in nutritious, plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are linked with lower cancer rates. Plants produce special chemicals called phytochemicals that may even protect the body’s cells from damage, as well as boosting fibre consumption (also linked to lower cancer rates).
15. To brighten up your skin
Image by Rizal Deathrasher from Pixabay
Many of us experience skin problems at some point during our lives, particularly in our teenage years. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the UK, and with so many different treatments out there, trying to find a solution can be exhausting and expensive. Professional dermatologist Dr Niyati Sharma states that a plant-based, whole-foods diet is a great way to improve skin condition and fight acne.
16. To maintain a healthy body weight
A recent study by Harvard University found that of all popular diets, the vegan diet is the most effective for weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, a vegan diet can also provide all the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy weight, with plenty of high and low calorie, healthy foods to choose from to create a balanced diet. And don’t worry about protein…there’s plenty of choices!
17. To take a stand against world hunger
A staggering one third of global crop production is used as animal feed. This is a shocking statistic, when we consider that 690 million people are currently starving, with 8.9% of the human population suffering from hunger (a figure which is on the rise). This figure increased by 10 million over a single year, increasing by 60 million in just 5 years. Choosing to cut animal products from your diet could help to end world hunger, by using the land and resources used for animal feed for humans instead.
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
18. To save money
A common perception of the vegan diet is that it’s expensive. While this can be true if you purchase high-end products, it’s also possible to eat vegan on a budget, especially if you enjoy cooking. For example, 3 chicken breast fillets cost £3.82 in Asda. Alternatively, 4 meat-free vegan fillets cost £2. If you’re on a really tight budget, tinned chickpeas, lentils and beans are good sources of cheap vegan protein, and frozen vegetables/fruit can be more affordable than fresh in some stores.
19. To boost your mood
Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay
Life is anything but easy at the moment, so why not boost your mood with some delicious vegan food? Nutrients such as Omega-3s, Tryptophan, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Magnesium and Calcium are all known as natural mood-boosters and can be found in many vegan foods. Read this article to find out more about the positive impacts of vegan foods on the mind and body.
20. To live a kinder lifestyle
Some people think the vegan lifestyle is a gentler way of living on this planet, as vegans aim to reduce animal, human and environmental suffering by changing their lifestyle. By choosing to consume cruelty-free, eco-friendly** and fair-trade products, we can all make a difference to the lives of many across the world.
If you want to live a kinder lifestyle, join our Animal-friendly Finds group to find out what animal-friendly products are available near you!
*Cruelty-free doesn’t mean vegan. Cruelty-free products can still be made containing animal ingredients. However, all vegan products are cruelty-free.
** Not all vegan products are eco-friendly. It’s good to research items before you purchase them to make sure they are human, animal and eco-friendly. Product labels can be deceiving!