The following is a guest post by animal welfare reporter and activist Deborah Kay Steinken.
When people ask me why I choose to live a vegan lifestyle, I explain the ethical, environmental, and health-related reasons that make me feel guilt-free.
Traditional western diets are the leading cause of cruelty to animals, which occurs at the hands of the meat, dairy, and egg industries. These industries slaughter billions of land animals each year. Choosing not to look at how a hamburger, a glass of milk, or an egg is produced makes one just as guilty as the people who are slaughtering the animals. Thankfully, there are thousands of people who are standing up for animals by adopting a vegan diet and showing their compassion, respect, and acceptance of their personal responsibility to all living beings.
Animals feel pain and fear death just as humans do. Animals on factory farms live a life of mental, emotional, and physical torture—they are separated from their mothers at birth, confined to small spaces, pumped full of hormones and drugs, mutilated without any pain relief, and violently slaughtered.
Vegans choose to eat foods that promote the health and wellness of animals, humans, and the Earth What we eat affects the air, water, oceans, and forests—rainforests are leveled to raise cattle, factory farms pollute rivers and lakes, overgrazing erodes fertile land, vast quantities of energy and water are wasted to raise animals for food, and drift nets used by the fishing industry turn acres of oceans into graveyards.
I believe that by being vegan, we can evolve and live our lives without negatively affecting our fellow inhabitants of the Earth; significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and strokes; and live an ethical and nondestructive life.
What are your thoughts and experiences on living a vegan lifestyle? Please comment below.