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Veganuary ~ Why I’m Doing It

Posted in Personal Blog

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.”  Quote from The Guardian

I am a guilty carnivore, I eat eggs, dairy, meat and fish. I am also one of the many with excuses why I eat meat ~ it tastes good, I buy organic meat etc. However, these past few weeks my conscience has been niggling me, I feel teary and intense sadness when I see lorries transporting livestock to their doom ~ to be killed for our plates.

I love to see animals in the fields, with space to run free and enjoy life as it should be. I was unaware of the atrocities going on in many dairy farms because the animals which were kept by my father~in~law during his dairy~farming days were very well looked after.

The article supporting the video above lists the 5 ways meat on your plate is killing the planet. The list below is copied from article by The Conversation

1. The environmental impact is huge; livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars and all other transport put together. Climate change alone poses multiple risks to health and well~being through increased risk of extreme weather events ~ such as floods, droughts and heatwaves ~ and has been described as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century. Reducing consumption of animal products is essential if we are to meet global greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets ~ which are necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

2. It requires masses of grain, water and land; meat production is highly inefficient ~ this is particularly true when it comes to red meat. To produce one kilogram of beef requires 25 kilograms of grain ~ to feed the animal ~ and roughly 15,000 litres of water. Pork is a little less intensive and chicken less still. The scale of the problem can also be seen in land use: around 30% of the earth’s land surface is currently used for livestock farming. Since food, water and land are scarce in many parts of the world, this represents an inefficient use of resources.

3. It hurts the global poor; feeding grain to livestock increases global demand and drives up grain prices, making it harder for the world’s poor to feed themselves. Grain could instead be used to feed people, and water used to irrigate crops. If all grain were fed to humans instead of animals, we could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. In short, industrial livestock farming is not only inefficient but also not equitable.

4. It causes unnecessary animal suffering; if we accept, as many people do, that animals are sentient creatures whose needs and interests matter, then we should ensure these needs and interests are at least minimally met and that we do not cause them to suffer unnecessarily. Industrial livestock farming falls well short of this minimal standard. Most meat, dairy and eggs are produced in ways that largely or completely ignore animal welfare ~ failing to provide sufficient space to move around, contact with other animals, and access to the outdoors. In short, industrial farming causes animals to suffer without good justification.

5. It is making us ill; at the production level, industrial livestock farming relies heavily on antibiotic use to accelerate weight gain and control infection. This contributes to the growing public health problem of antibiotic resistance. High meat consumption ~ especially of red and processed meat ~ typical of most rich industrialised countries is linked with poor health outcomes, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers. These diseases represent a major portion of the global disease burden so reducing consumption could offer substantial public health benefits. Currently, the average meat intake for someone living in a high-income country is 200~250g a day, far higher than the 80~90g recommended by the United Nations. Switching to a more plant-based diet could save up to 8m lives a year worldwide by 2050 and lead to healthcare related savings and avoided climate change damages of up to $1.5 trillion

I have vegan daughters who have been cleverly drip feeding me information about everything mentioned in this blog and how detrimental a meat and dairy diet is towards both animals and the planet. They are aware of my love of meat, fish and dairy ~ lamb roasts, cheese platters and fish pies are all firm favourite dishes and it will be a task retraining my taste buds to favour the vegan fare instead.

It is through their persistence and passion about their lifestyle and ethical reasons that has swayed me to make this big change. I am going to start this life mission on 1st January as part of the Veganuary movement and will be utilising their website for recipes to try out.

I am hugely intolerant to soy, which will narrow some of my food choices BUT I am committed to giving up all animals products for the full month of January. I know I am going to struggle initially, my taste buds have been accustomed to 50 years of meat, fish, eggs and dairy every day. It won’t be easy and I am sure that I will waver now and then ~ thankfully I have the full support of my husband and daughters who will keep me on track and cheer me along during any low points.

Veganuary’s mission is to reduce the suffering of these animals by inspiring people to try going vegan in January, with the possibility of them then continuing it on past the end of the month.

The most abused animals on this planet are farmed animals. I genuinely want to be part of the movement to change that. All farmed animals, just like our pets at home, are able to experience pain and happiness. Mass production of animals for food and clothing sadly has desensitized us to their suffering resulting in an industry that cares little for their well-being, causing them to suffer in innumerable ways.

I want to support those who want to change the world for animals, to make a difference towards the impact animal farming has on our planet. If we all demanded less meat, fish and dairy AND sustain that low demand then surely via the laws of supply and demand reduction in this kind of farming will be a natural result benefitting the animals and our planet.

Who knows, by the end of the month I may have changed my dietary choices for good ~ I am hoping that after 31 days of living as a vegan that I can put my money where my mouth is and continue forward and maintain the lifestyle indefinitely.

I can but try!




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