The alarming rate of environmental destruction due to meat production and consumption should be enough to leave us in a state of panic.
Okay, you might be wondering: What does a steak have to do with the environment? The most straightforward answer is — everything!!
For the vegans out there who don’t have a clue, here are some mind-blowing vegan facts that’ll leave you feeling prouder.
Vegan Facts: The Truth About Veganism
Veganism doesn’t only entail the elimination of meat consumption. It goes beyond that. The most crucial component of veganism is — compassion.
That said, veganism is cutting anything — may it be food, apparel, makeup, medicine, or entertainment — that involves the slaughter or cruelty of animals during the production process.
Nonvegans might ponder on a lot of questions that will impact their lifestyle choices. First, why switch to veganism when eating meat is a supplementary need? Next, is how and where do you start when you want to make the switch? Lastly, the most dreaded question for all vegans: Where do you get your protein?
You might never persuade anyone to go vegan just by simply pointing out animal cruelty. But maybe these six vegan facts can help you convince others how being meat-free preserves Mother Nature and keeps us healthy. Read until the end and be enlightened!
Australia has the highest number of vegans in the world
There’s an increase in the number of vegans in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK in recent years, with Australia having the highest number of vegans.
600% increase of vegans in the US
One of the statistical vegan facts is also the prevalence of veganism in the United States. In 2014, there were about 4 million recorded vegans. Fast forward to 2017, the number grew to 19.6 million! That’s a 600 percent increase in three years.
Helps fight climate change
Climate change is all because of the greenhouse gases that get trapped in the atmosphere. When these harmful gases are trapped, they also suck in heat, causing the temperatures to rise.
Greenhouse gases are accumulated through the production of fossil fuels. When we drive our cars, use air conditioning, eat meat, and more — all these involve the burning of fossil fuels. We dig up the ground for oil and coal to power these factories for the production of basically anything, these fossil fuels contain carbon dioxide. When burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
While people aren’t mindful of their consumption habits, they tolerate considerable use of fossil fuels.
Growing cattle means using 284 gallons of oil
Feeding cattle requires a lot of chemical fertilizers that use large quantities of oil. Any typical cattle consume about 284 gallons of oil in one lifetime!
5.180 Petrochemicals are used in meat production
Meat production now uses more or less 180 million tons of petrochemicals for animal food to cater to people’s meat consumption needs!
One person saves 219,000 gallons of water a year if he goes vegan
For animals to grow and thrive, crops are maintained so they’ll have food to eat to stay healthy for slaughtering. These factories also need gallons of water daily for cleaning. Plus, any steer would require a substantial amount of water for hydration, especially during the hotter seasons.
Avoids the impact of bycatch
Some people who are on the verge of switching to a vegan lifestyle cut out meat consumption gradually. First, they start cutting off pork, beef, chicken and stay as pescatarians, which means consuming fish only.
However, the consumption of too much fish also impacts marine ecosystems. Some commercial fishing methods involve detrimental practices such as longline fishing and bottom trawling.
Some of these methods also release harmful chemicals and antibiotics that kill marine inhabitants. Then there’s the process of bycatch.
Bycatch refers to the discarded fish that are caught between the fishing processes. Some of those species of fish also get entangled in fishing nets and vessels and eventually die.
Other marine creatures can’t replicate due to irresponsible fishing
Think sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, and all protected species of fish can become victims of irresponsible fishing every day. When this happens, they no longer replicate and contribute to decreasing subpopulations of various types of fish in the ocean called fish stocks.
You can get your protein from non-meat sources
Despite these vegan facts that impact the environment and ecosystems, going vegan also promotes a healthier lifestyle. Although meat is the primary source of major B-vitamins, we can actually get these nutrients from other non-meat sources.
Prevents the risks of cardiac failures
One example that justifies the effects of veganism on heart-related diseases is the production of TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide). It’s a byproduct of the chemicals used in producing red meat and is released during digestion.
In layman’s terms, TMAO increases the cholesterol buildup in the artery walls. In the long run, this can be risky for cardiac failures.
Lower TMAO blood levels than nonvegans
A study from the Cleveland Clinic hosted by Dr. Stanley L. Hazen involved 113 healthy participants. They were divided into three groups: one group ate red meat, another group ate white meat, and the last one ate non-meat sources.
The results were staggering with those who ate red meat showing three times the TMAO blood levels than the rest!
Decreases the total body mass index (BMI) which promotes lower body weight. Veganism also reduces blood sugar levels which prevent diabetes and severe organ complications.
Vegans generally eat more fruits, legumes, and vegetables. Due to the antioxidant properties found in these types of food, vegans reduce the risk of acquiring cancer later in life by 15 percent.
Due to the production of fat tissues called “adipose,” eating a lot of meat or dairy products stimulates arthritis inflammation. Therefore, vegans prevent the onset of arthritis.
Cows show cognitive learning as other domesticated animals
Cows show rapid cognitive learning. Certain stimuli can make them develop this fear towards humans who treat them with cruelty. This applies to both adult cows and calves.
Pigs show pessimism and optimism toward something
Pigs can feel positively or negatively towards people or a particular behavior.
Dr. Catherine Douglas led a team of professionals from the Food and Rural Development and Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture in experimenting with pigs’ ability to develop complex emotions.
The research separated a group of pigs and placed them in both enriched and dull environments. They then associated a glockenspiel with an apple pertaining to a positive circumstance. On the flip side, they associated a dog clicker with a rustling paper bag pertaining to a negative circumstance; thus not getting an apple as a treat.
The results showed the pigs in the enhanced environment approached the unfamiliar noise because they associated it with optimism. While the other group in a dull environment didn’t approach the clicker as they treated it as something pessimistic that could potentially hurt them.
Chickens can feel pain and pressure
Last but not least, chickens aren’t any different too. Chickens’ cognitive capacities show some sensory abilities. For example, the various receptors on their skin allow chickens to feel pain and pressure.
Also, a bird’s beak is a convoluted sensory organ that controls other activities other than just pecking food. It is used for self-defense, object exploration, preening, and more.
Stops the daily slaughter of 3 million animals
This one is one of the most important vegan facts on this list. Undeniably, shifting to vegan-based diets saves a lot of animals. This is where the passion for going vegan is derived. For one to truly live the vegan lifestyle, you must be compassionate to any living organism.
Here’s a rundown of how many animals are killed in the US daily for meat consumption:
- 7 billion wild fish
- 25 million chickens
- 120 million pigs yearly
- 700,000 turkeys
- 800,000 cows
Going vegan might be a long shot, but the change doesn’t have to be abrupt to see higher chances of success and sustainability. As with any other thing in life, compassion and mindfulness will drive people to make smarter choices. Maybe taking it one day at a time will enable them to digest how they feel about veganism — slowly and conscientiously. As for the vegans like you, spreading awareness of the environmental impact of meat production will go a long way.