More and more people are becoming aware of the downsides of eating meat and are moving away from it. International celebrities like Lewis Hamilton, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Liam Hemsworth and Ellen Page are a few of the many celebs who have adopted a cruelty-free diet. Closer to home, celebrities like Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor, Richa Chadda, Ayesha Takia, Rupali Ganguly are vegan.
Like them, millions around the world are choosing to leave meat and other animal products out of their diet for a variety of reasons. Read on to find out the three major reasons that are fuelling this paradigm shift away from meat.
“Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Cardiovascular diseases accounted for around one‐fourth of all deaths in India in 2008. These diseases are expected to be the fastest growing chronic illnesses in India; between 2005 and 2015 the growth rate was spotted 9.2% annually.
Nearly 70% of antibiotics are sold for use in meat and dairy production.
Normally, a chick takes months to naturally reach the weight of an adult chicken. But at farms, they’re routinely given feed laden with antibiotics to grow their bodies unnaturally fast. This massive use of antibiotics results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That means when you are sick and have to take antibiotics, it will not work. Due to the antibiotics birds put on weight at an accelerated rate. Their delicate legs can’t handle the weight and they get crippled.
Today, it’s much easy to find nutritious and delicious vegan alternatives to meat. Tofu, lentils, quinoa and various beans are all rich in protein. Amaranth(rajgira), is another super food that is packed with protein along with numerous other vitamins and minerals.
There is a growing list of vegan athletes whose physical performances actually became better, including ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek and MMA competitor Mac Danzig. You can visit the SHARAN India’s website for more information on eating a healthy meatless diet.
2) It’s better for the environment.
There are a host of direct and indirect environmental problems associated with raising livestock for meat.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the production of meat and dairy is one of the biggest contributors to global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Meat production uses an enormous quantity of water.
Water being used on a dairy farm. Old and unproductive dairy animals are eventually sent to be slaughtered for meat.
The meat industry is also responsible for polluting water. Animal faeces and other pollutants are diverted into nearby water bodies and groundwater.
The crops grown to feed the animals are treated with massive doses of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which seep into the groundwater. Antibiotics also find their way into the water systems.
3) It’s kind to both- animals and human beings.
Hunger is one of the most prevalent issues that affect impoverished Indians on a large scale. The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 15th, amongst leading countries with hunger situation. Then why do we end up feeding a huge amount of global soya and corn crops to animals instead of feeding people who are suffering from hunger or malnutrition?
The world population has reached 7.5 billion, but if corn was distributed equally around the globe an additional 3 billion people could still be fed.
Water scarcity is also a pressing issue in India, yet we are still using a significant amount of water in meat production. Lack of clean drinking water is often lethal for impoverished people, especially children. The World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India linked to not having access to safe water.
It’s common knowledge that animals feel pain as they possess a central nervous system. Science has also confirmed that farmed animals too are sentient beings, who, just like us, have the ability to feel various emotions.
Like humans, animals form strong emotional bonds with each other.
In India, 1.2 million farmed animals are killed for food every hour. More than 180 million male chicks are killed every year because they can’t lay eggs. In 2014, more than 372.3 million cattle were exploited for their milk and later slaughtered for their meat.
In 2017 we released nationwide studies exposing the cruel egg, chicken and dairy production of India. If animals can feel pain and emotions like fear, should we still be eating them? More importantly, is there any need to?
Vegetarianism and veganism are not new concepts. Nikola Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci were vegetarian, as were many other noted thinkers and leaders throughout human history. Avoiding meat has been an integral part of Indian culture. India has the world’s highest percentage of vegetarians in the world.
Animal rights started in India with King Ashoka. He brought about a number of changes in favour of animal protection. Like him, many great Indian leaders, including M.K Gandhi, didn’t eat meat.
APJ Abdul Kalam was a vegetarian
Today, it’s much easier than ever before to thrive on a meatless diet. Mock meat brands like Veggie Champ, Vezlay, Vegeta, Vegitein and Good Dot have entered the Indian market and sell their products across India at affordable prices. There are lots of easy recipes available online, too.
Mock meat by Good Dot
So what are you waiting for? Take a pledge today to choose veg.