Did you know that becoming a vegan is often not only accompanied by a radical change of a lifestyle but even by challenges that you might not have thought about yet. Anjali Sareen has put up a very interesting article that faces these issues while putting them into the right persective again.
“You’re vegan? Why do you hate people?”
I get asked this question on a fairly regularly basis, and yet each time it catches me off-guard. I always have a hard time imagining a person’s initial reaction to my plant-based diet and cruelty-free lifestyle will be anger and irritation. I’m never quite sure how to respond. The honest answer is that I don’t hate people and actually, veganism harmonizes perfectly with a lot of very important human rights issues. My lifestyle philosophy is about uplifting the world — not, as many believe, uplifting animals at the expense of the world.
Historically, the social justice movements that we find most vital are about empowering the disenfranchised. The cornerstone of the women’s rights movement was gaining the right to vote. The goal was ultimately to influence issues important to women and therefore, important to everyone. The Civil Rights movement was about uplifting the black community. The aim was to recognize that all people should be treated equally, regardless of race or color. Similarly, the animal rights movement seeks to give voices to the voiceless — the billions of animals cruelly housed, raised and eventually killed for our food and entertainment. Human rights issues intersect perfectly with animal rights issues because the underlying objective is the same: the betterment of society as a whole.
Many people don’t realize that the animal rights movement is not just about the animals; there’s much to gain for humans, as well. Animal agriculture is among the most dangerous industries worldwide. One Green Planet notes that just in the U.S.,OSHA reported the death of 9,003 farm workers from work-related injuries between 1992 and 2009. Injuries can include everything from chronic pain to cardiovascular illness and death. Many of the workers are undocumented, leading to a situation in which they are fearful of reporting their illness or injury and therefore do not receive adequate treatment. The quality of life for these workers is often dismal due to the incredible emotional toll that comes from working within a slaughterhouse. Human Rights Watch says that worker conditions in factory farms constitute “systematic human rights abuses.”
Aside from the direct impact on factory farm and slaughterhouse workers, animal agriculture is also inefficient from a world hunger perspective. According to a report done by the Humane Society entitled “The Impact of Industrialized Animal Agriculture On World Hunger,” nearly 80 percent of the world’s soybeans and up to 50 percent of the world’s corn are fed to animals killed for meat instead of directly to humans. Because of this, the meat industry competes with humans for food. And it’s not just food: Resources such as land and water are being wasted for the production of farmed animals. A meat-based diet uses up to 20 times more land than a vegan diet, contributes to deforestation and degrades the land it does use. Meat production also wastes water: Nearly 2,400 gallons of water go to produce one pound of meat, whereas only 25 gallons would be required to produce one pound of wheat.”
To read the rest of the article, check it out on the original source over at Anjali Sareen.
Image source: Tony Webster