Animal Liberation Page
Why Vegan?

Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle undoubtely brings with it a feeling of quiet contentment to know that no animals have died as a result of your dietary consumption. Resting in this knowledge alone is enough for some people and is in itself a deeply humane choice.

However, eliminating meat from our diets is by no means a guarantee that we are no longer contributing to the exploitation and suffering of animals. The only way to be sure of this is to live by vegan principles and ethics.

In dietary terms this means eating only food from the plant kingdom. It also means refraining from wearing and consuminggoods derived from the exploitation of animals such as: leather, wool, silk, fur, feathers, tallow soaps, etc. It also extends to avoiding recreations and sports that harm animals like rodeos, circuses, horse-racing and fishing and, of course being aware of and eliminating products that have been tested on animals.

The True Price of a Carton of Milk

The dairy and cattle industry go hand in hand, If it were not for one, the other would not be as economically viable. Hence, by consuming dairy products, we are inadvertently supporting the beef trade as well.

The image of a contented cow lazing in a lush pasture is a far cry from the truth. The reality is that after being artificially inpregnated, within 12 to 24 hours of giving birth to her calf, it is stripped from her and hand reared or killed (particularily if it is a bull calf). As the mothers maternal instincts are very strong, this causes her (and not to mention the calf) severe stress. She is then milked to capacity, producing 30 to 50 litres of milk a day which is ten times more than her calf would need to eat.

Generations of highly selected breeding and, more recently, genetic engineering, has distorted her body structure for the purpose of humans. Her udder is now so unnaturally large that it prevents her from walking frrely and comfortably and can lead to the crippling of the hind legs and lameness.

The milking machine itself is believed to be painful for the cow and the front teats may be subject to vacuum pulsing for up to two minutes while the the hind teats are still yielding. Very few intensively reared dairy cows live past the age of seven, whereas the natural lifespan of a cow is around twenty years. Also, due to the constant milking and inadequate housing, the cows are highly susceptible to a large range of painful and fatal infections and diseases.

There is nothing "natural" about stealing food from the offspring of another animal. Simply because humans are capable of doing this and have been doing it throughout history does not make it right. Of course milk is nutritious, it is a power-packed sole nutrition source for calves designed to make them grow and thrive from the size of a tiny calf into a huge cow in only six months. Because this food is not meant for human consumption at all, it brings with it a wide range of health problems. Dairy products cause allergic reactions and sinusitis in many people and have been linked to diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, ovarian cancer, digestive problems and cataracts.

Contrary to what the dairy industry would like us to believe, cows milk is not nessecary at all in providing calcium for humans. Numerous studies have been conducted in countries where no dairy products at all are consumed, and it has been found that there is a significantly lower occurance of osteoporosis than in countries where it is consumed at a high rate. Although dairy products are a rich source of calcium, they are also very high in protein. Because of the large amounts of acid produced in the breakdown of protein,the body needs to neutralize its presence by releasing calcium from the bones before the protein can be excreted. Therefore, the calcium present in a diet that is very high in protein (the average western diet) is very poorly absorbed. The smaller and more natural amounts of calcium that vegans consume are much more efficiently stored their bodies. Caicium is plentiful in many plant-based foods (leafy greens, pulses, tofu, oats parsley, brocolli, sesame seeds, nuts and pears to name a few) and because these are naturally included in the vegan diet on a daily basis, there really is no need for concern over getting enough calcium. Just like our bovine friends, humans are much better off getting their calcium directly from the plant source rather than through the bizare manipulation of animals.

Not So Easy Over

The blatant cruelty inflicted upon battery hens has drawn public attention to their plight and caused some people to buy free-range eggs instead. However, these "happier" hens are not spared of being transported unceremoniously to abbatoirs when their egg yield ceased to be economical. On hatching, the laying hen's unwanted brother chicks are immediately killed by being thrown into plastic bags to suffocate or are gassed or thrown into mincing machines. Buying any type of egg supports this cruelty and waste. The health problems associated with eggs have also been well-documented. Being one of nature's most high cholesterol and high fat foods, the egg yolk is all the nutrition the pre-hatched chick needs to grow strong enough to break out and begin its life in the world, and all it does for humans is add to our already high fat and cholesterol count which contributes to high blood preassure and heart disease.

Is The Vegan Diet Safe?

All available nutritional information shows that there is no known essential dietary nutrient that cannot be supplied by a varied and balanced vegan diet. A great example of this is that The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the United States, who are a group of doctors with no vested commercial interests, has done away with the old model of THE FIVE FOOD GROUPS (which included meat and dairy products) in favour of a new model which consists of only FOUR - Fruit, Vegetables, Wholegrains and Legumes, which easily provide all our nutritional requirements. The advantages of a vegan diet are many. It is naturally high in fibre and low in fat and cholesterol which are guidelines every doctor and nutritionist is now advising we base our diets upon. The traditional concern over the availability of vitamin B12 in a plant-based diet is a well justified one as longterm deficiency is a serious problem. However, a diet which includes plenty of tempeh, miso, sourdough bread, sea vegetables and mushrooms will give you sufficient B12. To further ensure your intake, many soy milks are now fortified with ample amounts of B12 and so too is TVP (textured vegetable protein) which is a versatile and and delicious meat alternative that is widely available. As we can see, the vegan diet naturally lends itself to making sensible nutritional choices and the issue of whether or not it is a safe way to eat is no longer an issue.

For anyone who is already vegetarian, taking that final step toward leading a completely cruelty-free lifestyle is indeed a rewarding choice. All the facts show us that the positives heavily outweigh the negatives (articles elsewhere on this web page also include the environmental factors that illustrate the damage that meat and dairy farming does to the earth). Awareness, compassion and taking our responsibility as caretakers of the earth seriously will eventually influence anyone who truly cares about animals and our planet to make the liberating step toward the vegan way of life.

by Irene

Cameron Green
Last Updated - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:04:32 -0600