Why I chose to be a vegan

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In a country that reveres barbecue, has a fast food chain on every corner and believes bacon should be a form of currency, I am a minority.

I am vegan, meaning I do not eat any animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.), nor do I wear anything that exploits animals (fur, leather, wool, silk, etc.). I eat and wear nothing that comes from a sentient being.

In a society that worships meat, I’m considered crazy to most, but there are three truths I have learned.

First, did you know that humans are not natural omnivores? Crazy, right?

Who would have thought humans, creatures with no claws or sharp teeth, are herbivorous? When was the last time you killed a cow with your bare hands and ate it on the spot? Our digestive system and jaw structure reflect those of herbivores.

Just because we are capable of digesting meat does not mean we should eat it. I can also digest cardboard. Does that mean I should eat it?

And why is it before we eat meat, we have to cook it then smother it in cheese, butter and ketchup?

Also, why are we the only species that drinks milk long after infancy? Shouldn’t we stop drinking milk after being weaned just like other mammals?

Second, if humans are natural meat-eaters then we wouldn’t see the difference between eating a pig and a dog. Carnivores in the wild do not discriminate between the “cute” animals; they typically attack the old, young and sick regardless of species.

Why is it OK to eat one species of animal but adore the other? Pigs are ranked fourth in intelligence behind elephants, dolphins and chimps. Are they not better than dogs? We are all animals, and we do not have the authority to decide which animals should live and die.

Finally, the global impact of veganism is huge.

It has been proved if every person in the world went vegan, it would end world hunger. The amount of water and grain needed to feed livestock would feed more people than the meat of the cow. It doesn’t make sense to feed 70 percent of grain grown in the U.S. to cows while there are starving children on the world’s streets.

You may be laughing while reading this, but vegans are making a bigger difference than perceived. Just look at the statistics. Not only is my chance of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer greatly reduced, but after being vegan for a year, I will reduce 3,267 pounds of CO2 emissions, save at least 25 animals and prevent five people from starving. Oh, and I will have cut my grocery spending in half.

My question is this: Why would you sacrifice your health, the lives of millions and the planet for the sake of your taste buds?

If you’re still not convinced, I recommend the documentaries Forks Over Knives and Earthlings.

If these don’t open your eyes, nothing will. Educate yourself and make a difference.

Author: Lauren Jones

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