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  • Luisa Ramirez

Peace and compassion begins on your plate!

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

A vegan or vegetarian diet is one of the best ways to contribute to a better world

Photo: Francesco Pitarresi

There are many questions that frequently haunt my mind such as the origin of life, what happens after death and what is the purpose of my existence. These are surely concerns that most people ask themselves and the answers may vary according to religious beliefs, education, family context and lived experiences.

In my case, I consider that the purpose is to strengthen my spirituality, advance in my process of personal growth and contribute to other people’s journey. In this constant search, I have found that one of the most effective ways to contribute to a better world is through the way we eat.

Incorporating a vegan or vegetarian diet is one of the best ways to be an agent of change and contribute to a more compassionate, peaceful and sustainable world.

Veganism and Vegetarianism

According to the Vegetarian Society, vegetarians do not eat the products or by-products of animal slaughter. Their diet does not include meat, poultry, fish, insects and so on. However, they consume eggs, dairy products and honey.

On the other hand, according to the Vegan society "Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

Although there are many myths on the subject and the industry has tried to make us believe that meat is essential for a balanced diet, the American Dietetic Association considers that "Well-planned vegan diets are suitable for all stages of the life cycle, even during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence."

Powerful reasons to be a Vegetarian or Vegan

  • To avoid cruelty to animals

According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,) which is the largest animal rights organization worldwide, in the United States, 99% of the animals used for food are grown on massive "factory farms” where they live in wire cages, metal boxes, and cramped structures that are often littered with animal droppings and where there are no windows or natural light. Most of these animals do not breathe clean air until the end of their days, when they are transported to the place where they are slaughtered.

As stated by PETA, animal rights are vulnerable when they are used as a source of food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation. According to this organization, these are some situations where suffering and pain are generated in animals:

Photo: Afnewsagency

In factory farms the space is limited and animals

cannot even roll over or lie down comfortably.

Photo: Julio Reynaldo

The animals are fed antibiotics so that they grow rapidly and survive in unsanitary conditions.

Photo: ArtHouse Studio

Genetic modification is common on factory farms to increase milk and egg production. Some chickens that are injected with hormones grow excessively so their legs cannot support their bodies and they suffer from hunger or dehydration from being unable to walk to eat and drink water.

Photo: Julia Volk

Calves are taken away from their mother within 24 to 48 hours. This situation is traumatic for both.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

When animals are raised for food and their bodies are wasted from the production of milk or eggs or they have grown enough, they are transported long distances without food and water. Many animals remain conscious while they are being slaughtered.

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Thousands of animals are blinded, poisoned and killed every year to carry out experiments and develop products in different industries such as personal care, cosmetics, chemicals and so on.

Photo: ArtHouse Studio

Like other animals, fish have a nervous system and pain receptors. Shellfish are also capable of feeling pain.

  • To contribute to the environment

In his Book “How to avoid a Climate Disaster”, Bill Gates mentions that one of the main reasons for deforestation is the use of the land for raising livestock whose meat and derivatives are offered in the food industry. In addition, the decline in trees and inappropriate uses of land represents an increase of approximately 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and the destruction of wildlife habitats.

The author says that the production of meat and dairy products also increases the demand for food. For example, to get one calorie from poultry, a chicken must get two calories from grains and to get one calorie from beef, a cow requires six calories from grains, increasing the exploitation of the land.

Another factor mentioned by the co-founder of Microsoft is that raising livestock for meat and dairy products increases greenhouse gases. Cows and other ruminants produce methane when they burp and fart. Also, when poop decomposes, it releases methane, one of the main contributors to global warming. The Climate and Clean Air coalition estimates that “the agricultural sector is responsible for around 40% of global emissions of black carbon and anthropogenic methane.”

On the other hand, raising livestock requires a considerable amount of resources such as land, energy, and water. According to PETA, “producing 1 pound of meat requires more than 2.400 gallons of water; producing 1 pound of wheat requires 25 gallons of water.”

  • To improve health

According to Winston J. Craig and Ann Reed Mangels, authors belonging to the American Dietetic Association, a plant-based diet may prevent diseases such as diabetes, obesity, gallstones, osteoporosis, gallstones, heart disease and different types of cancer such as colon, lung and breast.

To build a better world

A vegan or vegetarian diet reduces suffering, pain and killing and promotes compassion that should be shown to all human beings and animals who also feel and deserve our respect. In addition, it is a lifestyle that would contribute to the sustainable development of our planet.

“Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.” – Natalie Portman.

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