Surprisingly, I don't actually get the "why are you vegan" question very often. It came up several times yesterday though, and I realized that it has become such a hard question to answer because vegans know that there are several extremely good reasons to give up animal products, and really, there aren't any good reasons to eat animal products. So, when we hear "why don't you eat meat" our internal and unspoken reaction is something like "Holy S%*T! Why the F&*K would I?!!?"
I find it hard to think of why people do eat meat, beyond the fact that they grew up doing it, have never in their lives given it a moment's thought, and just continue to do what they've always done.
I mean, imagine this scenario - we are able to wipe the slate clean, and sit every person in North America down at a decision making table, and say "Here is a list of reasons to eat meat, and this page here is a list of reasons to go vegan. Think it over a little while and see which you'd rather do."
Here is what the two lists would look like:
To eat meat
- You might eventually start to like the taste of it
To go vegan
- It's healthier for you - especially reducing risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
- It's better for the environment - limiting both pollution and climate change (the rule of thumb being that you can reduce your carbon footprint more by giving up meat than by giving up your car)
- You reduce the amount of your hard-earned money that goes into the pockets of some seriously corrupt corporations
- You contribute far less to world starvation
- You stop funding an industry that is both a) increasing the risk of diseases like avian flu and mad cow while also b) decreasing the ability of our anti-biotics to fight these diseases
- Looming large behind the issue of whether or not it's ethical to eat animals, you fall on the right side of the debate about whether or not it's ethical to torture animals
Hmm, maybe I'll start refusing to answer the "why don't you eat meat?" question in social situations, and just have business cards made up with a link to this post. Then I could hand people the card and say "Let's not talk about this now, but if you're really interested, read this post, and look through my blog sometime."
If you want a good overall summary of this stuff, click here, or watch this.