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10 Reasons Why Going Vegan is Good For the Environment

Ten reasons why going vegan is good for the environment involves a basic respect for animals, a fundamental point of view that protects animals from being exploited by mankind. Vegans choose not to consume animal products - cattle, pigs, all birds raised for human consumption, hens for egg-laying, feeder and dairy cattle. Vegans choose rather to eat natural products that don't involve the killing of animals and therefore live a more compassionate life.

1. Going vegan prevents the exploitation of all animals

The exploitation of animals is not only cruel but inhumane. Living in cramped conditions and many times standing in their own feces, animals being raised for conventional slaughter can develop resistant strains of e-coli which is passed down to meat eaters. Their meat also contains massive antibiotics and hormones they are fed as slaughter animals, remaining in the meat to consume. Even organic meat cannot be proven that the animal was raised in humane ways, simply because it was not fed antibiotics or hormones.

2. Going vegan decreases the use of fossil fuels

Going vegan has a lot to do with the production of fossil fuels from livestock area, responsible for about 64% of the ammonia emissions. Also, one calorie produced from animal protein for fossil fuel is made at a cost that is ten times the amount of one calorie of plant proteins. With this in mind, approximately one-third of all fossil fuels go toward the production of animal agriculture. A problem that is easily solved, going vegan for the average individual will save one-and-a-half tons of carbon dioxide per year.

3. Going vegan protects the rain-forest

With the United States importing several million pounds of beef from the dense Central America, the rain-forest is fast disappearing from site. Part of the top ten countries ranked by highest loss of forests used to be Central America's Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Due to the high numbers of cattle ranching, at one time Costa Rica lost over 83% of its forests by 1983 - with over 300 million pounds of beef shipped annually to the United States for hamburger - due to the need for vast amounts of low-quality cheap meat.

4. Going vegan decreases global warming

Something that nobody knows but cattle breeders, is the fact that cattle fart - in fact, they fart a lot due to their diet. These farts (and probably our own) produce methane gas which is released into our earth's atmosphere where it absorbs heat, the same way as carbon dioxide does. The only difference is that methane gas is not a direct cause of environmental effects, but a global warming contributing factor. Once the heat absorption begins to increase the earth's temperature, many things begin to occur: the temperature of the ocean begins to rise; melting of the glaciers begins; the permafrost begins to melt; flooding increases; severe intensity of weather patterns and more.

5. Going vegan decreases water pollution

Unfortunately, the production of livestock accounts for increases in water usage for the irrigation of crops to feed cattle and other forms of livestock. Livestock are the largest source of water pollution, contributing to dead zones on coastal areas, human health problems, antibiotic resistance and the degradation of coral reefs. The water pollution originates from run-offs of animal wastes, tannery chemicals, eroding pasture sediments, crop fertilizers and pesticides.

6. Going vegan respects the ocean's ecosystem

More than 20% of 220 profiled companies have been convicted or hit with criminal charges from seeping urine and feces flowing into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater - and eventually the ocean. Over 10.6 million fish have been killed from 1995 to 1997 because of manure spills from cattle lots, pig farms and meat companies. Pathogenic organisms are spreading in waterways from poultry and pig waste, also killing humans.

7. Going vegan promotes fair trade and decreases worker exploitation

With the United States consuming over one-third of the world's resources, there are many countries that have children doing adult work at very little pay and unsanitary conditions. They also have adults working long hours seven days a week for pennies. Vegans often refuse to eat anything that does not have "fair trade" on the food labels. The label should tell a consumer where the food or product has been made. By removing the need for industries which promote child labor and sweat shops, companies are forced to pay higher wages which help the people buy healthier food and live in sanitary homes.

8. Going vegan takes a political stand on environmental violations by the meat industry

By not going vegan, the meat consumer promotes environmental pollution through the over-breeding of all animals. This in turn promotes huge amounts of grain and water being needed, petroleum for transporting and producing the meat, pesticides to control weeds around the lots and in the mass grown crops, and drugs to give the animals- hormones and antibiotics.

9. Going vegan helps to remove the world wide water deficit

With the meat industry the largest cause of fresh water depletion, this is a time in history when millions of global wells are going dry in India, North Africa, China and the United States. They have been forced to pump more water from the aquifers than the earth's rain can ever replenish. One such example is the Ogallala aquifer - also referred to as the High Plains Aquifer beneath the US Great Plains - and considered the largest aquifer in the world. By 2005, the aquifer had reached a low of 253 million acre feet since the irrigation development began - estimated to deplete in 40 years after taking half million years to accumulate. According to the World Watch Institute, one hamburger costs as much water as 40 showers with a low-flow nozzle.

10. Going vegan protects federal land and endangered species

Over 26% of the United States federal land has been affected by cattle grazing, along with the loss of endangered species. An ecological impact, eliminating the massive grazing of feeder and dairy cattle on federal lands and in South American will protect the earth's lands more than anything else. Ranching deforestation is a primary reason for the loss of plant and animal species.


Hugo Essog is a recipe tester for the vegan recipe website He is currently busy helping Claire Gosse launch her vegan cookbook with pictures.

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