If I had my own blog, I'd post this on it... but I don't.
My next essay will be on LFRV specifically.
A Case for Veganism
Veganism is primarily known as a type of diet; one that excludes all animal products and byproducts, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. It is however, much more than that. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine refers to veganism as a lifestyle that “seeks to promote health and peace while reducing the suffering of both people and [other] animals” (Dupler, 2005, pg. 2094). Vegans believe that by increasing personal wellness via healthy vegan diets, and attempting to end the cycle of violence that occurs in the animal product industries (which, consequently causes untold amounts of suffering), their wish of a peaceful world filled with happy healthy people and other animals might come true.
“Violence begets violence,” is a phrase many people are familiar with (“Means and Ends,” 2008). “Violence,” as explained by the Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice, is any “behavior that threatens to cause or causes severe harm to a target,” including “harm to self,” (Guerra & Knox, 2002, pg. 1649). Certainly, one cannot claim that the exploitation and murder of animals that takes place in the meat, dairy, and animal product industries does not qualify as violence. In a sense, these industries, such as factory farms and leather and fur manufacturers, actually thrive on violence. “Vegans believe that as long as animals are treated cruelly and are killed for meat, then the world's ethical and spiritual health will suffer,” (Dupler, 2005, pg. 2094). Their reasoning is such that if individuals stopped buying the products of these industries they would collapse and the violence that takes place within them would end as a result, thereby contributing to the peace of the world by beginning to break the cycle of violence.
In addition, vegan lifestyles take into account the toll that animal product based industries are having on the Earth. “Topsoil loss, water shortages and contamination, deforestation, toxic waste, and air pollution,” are amongst the problems caused by these industries (Dupler, 2005, pg. 2095). Vegans consider these problems undesirable because they contribute to making the world a less hospitable place to live for virtually all life forms, and thus increase the amount of suffering taking place.
Hunger is another form of suffering that veganism aims to end. Hunger kills 24,000 people a day, according to A. Thomas of the Toronto Star (2008, pg. A16). Thomas reports that hunger is increasing, even in America, due to the rising cost of staple foods such as wheat and corn, and that “rising fuel and fertilizer prices,” and “soil depletion through overgrazing and growing, [and] demand for meat in China and other developing nations” are to blame (Thomas, 2008, pg. A16). He points out that if more meat and dairy eaters converted to a plant-based diet it would “free up enough land, water and fuel to feed everyone,” (Thomas, 2008, pg. A16). He states that “more than 80 per cent of U.S. agricultural land grows animal feed,” whereas “a plant-based diet requires only 16 to 20 per cent of the resources,” (Thomas, 2008, pg. A16). Basically, the animal product industries are using up more goods and resources than they are contributing, which makes this process unsustainable. Since we all have to live on this Earth, and we all depend on its resources for survival, this issue will soon become a problem for everyone, not just the poor and hungry, if it is not stopped.
But, can a person get all the proper nutrients needed to be healthy on a vegan diet? According the American Dietetic Association, the answer is yes. Their “official statement” is: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” (Craig & Mangels, 2009). Furthermore, according to M. Fox of the Calgery Herald, researchers from the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine have claimed that “People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet” (Reuters, 2006). With this evidence, it is clear that not only can a person fulfill all their nutritional needs on a vegan diet, they can also be even healthier than if they consumed an animal product based diet.
Considering the aforementioned statements issued by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association, it is apparent that a vegan diet contributes to personal wellness, which is one of the main tenets of veganism. Another main tenet is that there must be an end to all violence in order for the world to be at peace (Dupler, 2005). One may argue that even the killing and destroying of the plant life required for a vegan diet is violence, and so the violence will continue anyway so what’s the use? Vegan ideals do not provide an answer to this, but they do aim to at least reduce violence as much as possible, which will contribute largely to the peace of the world.
Ultimately, if more people were to undertake a vegan diet and lifestyle, the result would be a decrease in the amount of violence and suffering occurring in the world, and an increase in world peace and the personal wellness of nearly every individual. If a large majority of people do not make this shift the result will be irreparable damage to the Earth, ever increasing food shortages, and more people will suffer from the diseases brought on by unhealthy, animal product based diets. These problems begin at an individual level and must be halted at an individual level. Every single person who contributes to animal product based industries by buying their goods is contributing to these problems. It is the responsibility of every individual to break the chain of supply and demand that keeps these industries in business so that the violence might end, and simultaneously, take charge of their own personal wellness by becoming vegan.
Craig, W., & Mangels, A.. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. American Dietetic Association. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266. Retrieved March 25, 2011, from ProQuest Medical Library. (Document ID: 1805321651).
Dupler, D. (2005). Longe J. (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (2nd ed.); veganism. Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.library.capella.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX343...
Reuters, M. F.,. (2006, July 28). Diabetics benefit from low - fat vegan diet : Research reveals lower blood sugar and cholesterol. The Calgary Herald (Alberta), pp. A22.
Means and Ends, (2008). Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier Science & Technology. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/estpeace/means_and_ends
Pediatrics Week editors, (2009). American Dietetic Association; ADA releases updated position paper on vegetarian diets [Electronic version]. Pediatrics Week, pg. 31.
Thomas, A. (2008). Reduce hunger by cutting meat in diet. [Electronic version] The Toronto Star, pg. A16.