Why Vegan?

Personally I feel there are numerous reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle. From ethical, spiritual, health, environmental, animal and human cruelty concerns.
Through my journey to veganism it helped to record my thoughts and concerns, by sharing them I hope I can help explain my decision.
Sentience can be defined as consciousness, awareness or feeling. For animals, this means that they experience sensations such as cold, hunger and pain; can express pleasure and preferences, and are playful; can demonstrate compassion towards others; are aware of themselves and others; and can often distinguish between different humans. Western societies readily accept dogs as having these traits; indeed our companion animals are usually considered part of the family. What a lot of people don’t realise, however, is that the behaviour and emotion we witness in dogs also extend s to other animals, including farm animals. For example, studies and observations have shown that:
  • Pigs are highly intelligent and emotionally complex animals, ranking only behind dolphins and primates. They are vocal animals, and there is a courting ‘song’ between males and females, while mother pigs sing to their young when nursing. Pigs have also been known to care for sick or disabled fellow pigs, bringing them food and bedding.
  • Female chickens (hens) form a relationship with their chicks even before hatching, by turning the egg and talking (clucking) to it. In nature, chickens live in small groups of up to 30, and communicate with each other using different sounds and calls.
  • Cows are extremely social animals that live in small herds, forming social hierarchies and friendship pairs. They communicate with each other in a number of ways, with different ‘calls’ to indicate, for example, excitement, frustration, interest, pleasure or stress. Calls may also be used to locate companions following separation.
  • Sheep can remember up to 50 individual faces and retain memories associated with those specific faces for several years. Lambs, one of the most playful of all animals, including dogs, invite other lambs to play by leaping vertically into the air.
What are animals aware of? What do they feel? Do they feel emotions? Physical pain? Yes, dogs get lonely and destroy your house; anything with a nervous system feels pain. Are they intelligent? Yes, pigs can play video games, dogs can learn many commands, they communicate, use tools, build nests, have social structures etc.

Were humans bred to eat meat? Incisors vs molars. We have the enzymes to digest flesh… but does that mean we should eat it or we can. Mainly flat grinding molars, jaw not big enough to rip like cats… large digestive systems like herbivores. Meat- increased disease risk. Vegetables- is there any vegetable that is bad for you?

Even if we evolved this way does that mean it’s the right thing to do now? Expending energy and eating free range meat occasionally is very different to eating factory farmed meat at every meal.

Humans have an obligation to treat animals with respect and care, kill them humanely and value their lives. This is NOT happening in the current system.

The human diet requires protein to function at its best- protein is in everything though! Plants, grains, beans, legumes, nuts etc. Most people eat too much protein.

Accept the cycle of life, animal nature and the food chain. But if you can’t face the reality of the situation you shouldn’t be contributing to it!

Against animal cruelty, inhumane slaughter, GM animals, caged animals, factory farms & feed lots, bulk fishing- killing the bycatch.

For organic produce, free range produce, well treated, humanely slaughtered animals & products, family farms, no suffering, healthy diet.

Karma? Why should they have to die for me to eat? Who says its right? What If I come back as an animal that is caged and killed for human consumption? Why contribute to this if you don’t have to? Humans can thrive on a vegan diet- so why don’t we?

Big food is corrupt, governments are manipulated, sugar fat & salt are used as drugs to addict and contribute to a slow death by food that is draining our society. 
  • Chicken- GM- increased breast size & maturation time, they get so big so fast their legs collapse under them, factory farms, drugs, mutilated no pain relief- de-beaked, growth hormones, confined- less than an A4 page, injured animals starve to death or get trampled, stressed birds attack each other. 
  • Turkey- GM- can’t reproduce naturally, 100% artificial insemination rate, huge increase in size and maturation time, drugs, confined. 
  • Eggs- GM, factory farms, artificial lighting, mutilated no pain relief, males killed, confined. 
  • Beef- Feedlots, drugs, mutilated no pain relief- castration, de-horning, burning. 
  • Pork- factory farmed, drugs, mutilated no pain relief- castration, sow stalls, artificially impregnated constantly. 
  • Fish- bycatch, clearing the oceans. 
  • Lamb- feedlots/factory farms, drugs, mutilated no pain relief. 
  • Milk- GM, constantly impregnated, calves taken for veal/killed, drugs- Bovine growth hormone, mastitis & infections, mutilated no pain relief. 
  • Cheese- rennet, cow’s milk. 
  • Kangaroo- non fatal shots, long painful death, head at night, killing mothers with pouched young- ¾ lives, mother-pregnant-pouch joey-foot joey, killed or starve.
Animals in factory farms experience institutionalised suffering – that is, things that would arguably be illegal if they were performed on companion animals such as dogs and cats, but which are permitted under Australian law to be done to farm animals.
These things would even be considered morally and ethically unacceptable if they were done to a cat or dog. So what’s different about farm animals? Nothing; except our understanding and empathy.

Animals with the intelligence of toddlers- why is it ok to treat animals differently? Why is it different for mentally disabled people? Why is it different for pets? Why isn’t it against the law to torture animals that are intended for human consumption?
If humans have evolved to have compassion and empathy how can we watch unnecessary suffering? Most of us can’t so it’s hidden from the general public.

Developing sentient consciousness humans are bound by the ability to distinguish cruelty. The ability to hunt remains an instinct but the higher awareness of the consequences of one’s actions demands consideration of the welfare of the animals killed for human consumption.
Being aware of the downfalls of the current systems of animal production; the inevitable conclusion of any informed, morally and ethically responsible human is dietary restriction in the form of ethically selective omnivoreism, vegetarianism or veganism.

There are many other online resources to help explain the vegan lifestyle choice. If you're interested in making a change, confused by my choice, interested in vegan nutrition, the environment or your health please have a look through these resources:
Wikipedia
Veganism
Vegan easy
Why Vegan?
Vegan Outreach
Why Vegan?
FAQ
Video Links
Free Starter Guide
Booklets and Resources
Veg Source
Vegan Health
Vegan Voice
How Vegan
Vegetarian Victoria
Why Be Vegan?
Why Be Vegetarian?
10 Reasons to go Veg
15 Reasons to stop hiding from vegetarianism
Thinking of going vegan?
Tips for veggo's
Eating up the world
Veg Definitions
Complete Nutrient Summary
Veg Nutrition Information Sheets
Veg Nutrition Links
The Australian Vegetarian Society
FAQ
Vegetarian Now!
The Vegan Society
Why Vegan?
Being Vegan Guide
Free e-pack
Vegan Nutrition
Peta 
Veg Starter Kit
More reasons to go Vegan
Animals used for food
Organic Free Range?
Meat & the Environment
Factory Farming
Eating for your Health
Animal Liberation Victoria
Cows
Pigs
Hens
Sheep
Fish
My Transition to a Vegan Lifestyle
(this was my journey but everyone's different!)
  • Standard Western Diet (1988-2009)
  • Ethically responsible omnivore- only eating free range eggs and free range organic meat, no caged egg products, no milk or milk products. No gelatine, no cheese. (2009)
  • Vegetarian- eating free range eggs, milk, yoghurt, cheese (Jan 2010)
  • Vegetarian- eating free range eggs but no caged egg products or milk or milk products. No gelatine, no cheese (Feb 2010)
  • Dietary Vegan- no milk, eggs, yoghurt, cheese, animal products (Feb 2010)
  • Vegan- as above with no non-food animal products (Mid 2010)
  • Herbivore- plant based vegan diet (Nov 2011)
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