Let me tell you a little (a lot) about why I felt the need to be vegan.
At Present, humans are engaged in the greatest battle of our 200,000 year history. This battle isn’t being fought against other tribes or alien species. It’s a battle against ourselves. Humans are actively destroying our own environment. We are the cause of these problems we see today from climate change to air and water pollution and soil degradation. Fortunately, as we are the cause of our problems, we can also be the solution.
We are finally beginning to address climate change through moving to renewable energy sources, electric cars and even planes. This recent drive has taken almost 30 years. James Hanson spoke about the perils of climate change in 1989. Still some persist with calling the crisis a hoax but the vast majority of humans now accept that climate change is happening, it is caused by humans and that renewable energy is the future.
Unfortunately, climate change isn’t only driven by fossil fuel use. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation’s 2006 report: Livestocks’ Long Shadow stated that animal agriculture was responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the entire transportation sector which was responsible for just 13%. Further studies have shown the impact to be far greater and in 2009, WorldWatch produced a report that focussed on the UN’s 2006 analysis and found that the FAO’s calculations were incorrect. WorldWatch stated that animal agriculture was responsible for not 18% of emissions ….but 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, 45% of the Earth’s surface is used for animal agriculture and 27% of Earth’s fresh water is consumed by animals we raise for food.
According to the UN report, 70% of all Amazon deforestation is caused by grazing cattle and the remaining 30% is used to grow soy beans that we feed to animals raised in factory farms. The WorldWildLife fund show this to be the case in many other rain forests around the world. Additionally, there are approximately 1.5 billion cows on the planet, each and every one of them expelling upwards of 30 to 50 gallons of methane each day. We typically think of farts as being the culprit, but belches are actually the primary source of cattle-produced methane, accounting for 95 percent of the problematic greenhouse gas. In total, there are 70 billion farm animals on the planet today, ten times the human population.
Huge amounts of pesticides are used to grow grains and other feed for these 70 billion animals. These pesticides are entering the river systems when it rains and these dangerous chemicals kill aquatic life as they go downstream to the mouth of rivers where they create dead zones in the sea where nothing lives.
Overuse of pesticides to grow animal feed is also destroying the soil we rely on for growing food. Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue, all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years.
It is clear that peoples’ diets are a major contributing factor in climate change but how can we solve this crisis? Reducing the amount of meat that people consume will have a massive impact on the fight against climate change. Chatham House announced in 2015 “that reducing global meat consumption will be critical to keeping global warming below the ‘danger level’ of 2 degrees Celsius, but that public awareness of the issue is low, and meat remains off the policy agenda”.
Research from Oxford University has stated that if the world were to become vegan by 2050 we would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2/3. Meat eaters use 18 times more land than a vegan and a vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water each and every day. If we do not address this problem in the coming decades, we are likely to witness the sixth mass extinction on Earth and perhaps even be a part of it. So far, only China seems to be addressing this problem with their Less Meat, Less Heat campaign that aims to halve Chinese meat and dairy consumption by 2030.
But how can we reduce the amount of meat we eat if we need it to be healthy? Recent research has showed that not only do we not need to eat animal products but that they are actually the cause of many of our modern diseases, from cancer and Type 2 diabetes to heart disease, obesity and even acne.
Clinical research studies have shown that adopting a low-fat, plant-derived diet can aid in weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol and reverse a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) both now recommend well-planned, plant-based (vegetarian and vegan) nutrition for people with diabetes. A plant-based approach has also proven successful for those who are suffering from chronic disease, such as hypertension, heart disease, and obesity.
Heart disease, the #1 killer in the US, was found to be almost non-existent in populations focused on plant-based diets. A plant-based diet may also help in preventing or slowing certain cancers. This is mostly because whole plant foods contain antioxidants that fight against ageing and cancer. Plant-based nutrition also contributes to a healthy intestinal track, weight control and a longer life.
A 2012 analysis of all the best studies done to date concluded vegetarians have significantly lower cancer rates. For example, the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer ever performed concluded that “the incidence of all cancers combined is lower among vegetarians.”
A vegan diet is better still. A new study just out of Loma Linda University funded by the National Cancer Institute reported that vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Vegan women, for example, had 34 percent lower rates of female-specific cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. And this was compared to a group of healthy omnivores who ate substantially less meat than the general population.
Because of these findings, the Canadian Government is trying to remove dairy from their food pyramid and elevate legumes about animal products. The meat and dairy industry will no doubt lobby hard to retain their products as they have done in the United States. Belgium has recently placed meat at the bottom of their food pyramid. This is because the World Health Organisation stated in 2015 that red meat is ‘probably carcinogenic’ and processed meats are carcinogenic. Water, fruits, vegetables, tofu, and noodles are at the top. Bacon, pepperoni, and other deli meats don’t make it onto the pyramid at all; instead they’ve been relegated to a small circle next to soft drinks, cookies, pizza, and French fries. Belgians have been advised to eat those foods, “as little as possible.”
Obesity is also caused by meat consumption, according to research from the University of Adelaide. “In their analysis of obesity prevalence across 170 countries, they found that sugar availability in a nation explains 50% of obesity variation while meat availability another 50%. After correcting for differences in nations’ wealth (Gross Domestic Product), calorie consumption, levels of urbanisation and of physical inactivity, which are all major contributors to obesity, sugar availability remained an important factor, contributing independently 13%, while meat contributed another 13% to obesity.
Overall mortality rates are also found to be higher among meat eaters than vegetarians. The largest study to examine the effects of different sources of dietary protein found that a high intake of proteins from animal sources — particularly processed and unprocessed red meats — was associated with a higher mortality rate, while a high intake of protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death.
It seems clear that our health wouldn’t suffer from moving to a plant based diet but, actually thrive and the environment would also thrive.
In addition to the environmental and health benefits, we would be able to treat farm animals with the respect they deserve as our cousins in this great evolutionary tale. In his book ‘Sapiens: A brief history of Human Kind’, Yuval Noah Harari had this to say about the way in which humans treat animals:
“Today, the majority of large animals on planet earth are domesticated farm animals that live and die as cogs in the wheels of industrial agriculture. Earth is home to about 7 billion humans, weighing together about 300 million tons. It is also home to several dozen billion farm animals – cows, pigs, chickens and so forth – whose total biomass is about 700 millions tons. In contrast, if you took all the large wild animals left on earth – all the penguins, baboons, alligators, dolphins, wolves, tune fish, lions and elephants – and put them on a very large scale, they will weigh together less than 100 million tons.
The disappearance of wildlife is a calamity of unprecedented magnitude, but the plight of the planet’s majority population—the farm animals—is cause for equal concern. In recent years there is growing awareness of the conditions under which these animals live and die, and their fate may well turn out to be the greatest crime in human history.”
A quick YouTube search will return a plethora of results which add evidence to this claim. Most people flat out refuse to watch them because they are aware of what is being done and they know it is completely uncivilized and completely against our humane nature and value system.And, it’s not just eating animals that contributes to animal cruelty. Most new cleaning products or cosmetic products that have a single new ingredient them also have to be tested on live animals who suffer terribly at the hands of experimenters. Mostly, just so people can have nice smelling hair or a shiny face.
I understand that in Japan, veganism is not yet understood and it can be difficult for people to transition to a plant based diet. We hope that by making this site, some of our visitors (Japanese or not) will be inspired to make a cruelty free dish or cosmetic product and in doing so, animals will be spared from unnecessary cruelty and death, your health will improve and the Earth’s resources will be saved for future generations to enjoy, just like we have.
To me, doing nothing, is not acceptable. That’s why I made this site. Thank you for reading (if you got this far) and I hope you enjoy using the site. By the way, any advertising revenue received will be donated to a farm animal sanctuary. I’m not in this for money!