It is near U.S. Thanksgiving, so a good time to discuss why I am vegan. This will be part 1 of 2 posts on veganism.
The food industry is terrible to animals. There is no way to deny that farm animals are sentient — we know this as well as we know that other humans are sentient. Most farm animals grow up in hellish conditions; “cage-free” is not necessarily much better; “humane” certifications are more like recommendations and are not actually binding if you read the “requirements” (e.g. chickens should enough room to “stretch their wings” — this is the same thing that the previously-discussed cage-free hens have, and anyway individual farmers can be allowed a higher density); even if humane certifications had any teeth, I do not agree with the exploitation of another living, sentient being.
Meat requires more inputs, such as water, since you need a large number of plants to raise an animal.
Some animal advocates do not like it when health is mentioned as a reason to go vegan, because health fads come and go. Still, I think it needs to be mentioned because so many people seem to think that it is a “me or them” situation. Veganism can be as healthy as any other diet. Meat-eating has a particularly strong causal connection to heart disease, so if it runs in your family it makes even more sense to avoid it. You can also be vegan and low-carb. Personally, I try to avoid FODMAPs for GI issues — no problem.
I often hear the same set of complaints (“our ancestors did it”, “plants have feelings”, …). If you think you have an argument against veganism, please check this list of counterarguments first. Some of their comics are fantastic!
More than “vegan”, I am “liberationist” — that is to say, sometimes people use “vegan” to refer only to a dietary choice rather than a philosophy, and I would like to be clear that I do not agree with the exploitation of other sentient beings.