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There are numerous paths that can lead a person to veganism, and it largely depends on their life experiences, interests, outlook on the world and the timing of when certain issues are brought to their attention. You can ask 10 different vegans and although you may find similarities in their stories, going vegan is a very personal decision and therefore all attempts to make sweeping generalizations are destined to fail. Everyone (non-vegans included) think that they know why people go vegan and what vegans are supposed to be like. Further, there’s no shortage of stereotypes about vegans, but the truth is, we’re a diverse bunch and we all have our own reasons why we decide to take the step to change our lifestyle, no matter how challenging it may have seemed at the time. Here are 5 common reasons people go vegan:

1. Health and Nutrition

Many people who turn vegan are first drawn to it because they hear or read about the tremendous long-term health benefits of eliminating artery clogging and disease-accelerating animal products from their lives. Some specifically turn to a plant-based diet to improve their health and well-being and eventually adopt the vegan lifestyle because of the numerous negative impacts of animal agriculture on animals and the planet. In recent years, the health argument for veganism has gained tremendous traction, as several scientific studies have confirmed what vegans have been saying for years – you don’t need to consume animal products to live a healthy life; in fact, consuming a diet of plant-based whole foods is undoubtedly the healthier choice.

2. Environmental Protection

If you haven’t noticed the mainstream rise of the green movement in recent years, you must be living under a rock! As the impacts of accelerating climate change have become more widely known, the need for us to take steps to curb the destruction of our precious planet has become abundantly clear. Industrialized animal farming is a huge factor that is contributing to environmental degradation and the facts are so compelling that anyone seeking to live a more sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle cannot help but question the impact of their food choices on the environment. Similar to those drawn in by the health argument for veganism, once people learn about industrialized animal farming and the horrific treatment of animals in factory farms, embracing the animal-free lifestyle beyond their plate becomes a logical next step.

3. Morality

Long before the health and environmental benefits were brought to the forefront of the argument in support of adopting a vegan lifestyle, people have been going vegan solely for moral reasons. Anyone who admires or adores animals has probably (at some point in their lives) questioned whether there is any difference between the animals they care for and protect and those that we breed and kill for food. Some of us find a way to justify this clear disconnect, citing physiological, historical, cultural and other reasons why we are meant to eat and use animals. While others realize that these amount to nothing but excuses and that the only sensible first step that anyone who loves animals can take is to not eat them. This easily transitions into the broader realization that no form of animal use is morally justifiable and that we shouldn’t be wearing them or using them when animal-free alternatives exist.

4. Social Justice

Anyone who is opposed to injustice in the world, should pause and think about the fact that we breed and kill billions of animals on an annual basis, just so that we can eat them. People who passionately believe that the world would be a much better place if we all learned to look past our differences and embrace the common ties that bind us will eventually have to confront the injustice we inflict on animals for our pleasure, convenience and entertainment. If you oppose racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination based on class, sexual orientation, physical appearances or abilities, then veganism can be looked upon as a natural extension of the belief in equality. This doesn’t mean that humans and animals are the same in every way and animals need to enjoy the same rights as human beings. What this means is recognizing that animals do not exist solely for us to use them as a means to an end.

5. Logic

We don’t mean to imply that all the other paths to veganism are not logical ones. However, many people turn to veganism because of a combination of all the above factors. They turn to this lifestyle choice as the most meaningful step one can take against institutionalized systems of exploitation of living beings, to do something positive for their health, the environment and to live in a manner that reflects their ethics. Veganism is a logical choice because it is good for us, for animals and the planet. If you respect life, you should not directly or indirectly participate in the exploitation of life; if you respect nature, you cannot support industries that contribute to the destruction of our natural world, and lastly, if you value your own existence, you wouldn’t want to consume products that can have a detrimental impact on your health. It’s that simple, and you don’t need elaborate theories, complicated moral reasoning and a billion scientific facts to help you arrive at veganism as the solution.

Ultimately, the path you choose to get to veganism does not matter; what truly matters is you begin the journey and stay the course!

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19 comments on “The 5 Reasons People Go Vegan”

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Scott Enge
4 Months Ago

Most Vegans are Liberal thinkers and I understand their motives and actually respect their choice not to eat animals. What I don\'t understand and nor do I respect those that choose Veganism yet are okay with killing babies in the womb. How do you explain to your children that it\'s not okay to kill and eat animals but it is okay to kill babies inside their mother\'s wombs?

6 Months Ago

Clearly isn\'t "5 reasons why people go vegan." This is "5 reasons why you should go vegan." The article tries to trick you into seeming unbiased but failed considerably. Best guess is the writer will never amount to any real job in writing or journalism.

7 Months Ago

This article is really biased. I came here genuinely interested in why anyone would want to be a vegan, but since the author is so convinced that being vegan is the only \'logical\' choice, and that all arguments from the opposite point of view are \'excuses\', I don\'t feel swayed by it at all. I just feel put off.

1 Years Ago

eating meat is in our nature mankind has always eaten meat. its in the circle of life.

4 Years Ago

Is it just me, or are the second, third, and fourth reasons exactly the same? I know it\'s not just me, I want to see how many "logical" people will admit that personal preference is the only deciding factor (not counting allergies/intolerances) when it comes to one\'s dietary choices.

4 Years Ago

I don't want to kill or torture or be responsible for killing or torturing any innocent sentient beings. Of course eating meat is natural for humans. But nature is an asshole and humans have the free-will to be better than asshole-nature programmed us to be. I doubt if veganism is actually the healthiest possible diet to follow. And I have never not wanted to take a dump on the head of anyone seriously using the term "social justice". It is pretty much always used by someone making the argument to do something profoundly unjust.

16 Oct 2014

Most vegan foods, especially grains actually involve killing more "sentient beings" (birds, small mammals, lizards, snakes and countless invertebrates) that outright eating animals.

No amount of emotional sentiment can change the hard facts of the natural world or evolutionary biology. Veganism is nothing short of a religious world view mated with an eating disorder.

6 Years Ago

I don't mind that people are vegan, what I mind is the self righteous attitude that comes with the majority of them. I am not, nor will I ever be vegan, I live in ru,ral America, I was raised on a farm, I currently raise Alfalfa hay. I raise my own beef, milk and eggs , come from the neighbors, I have a garden, although I don't eat many fruits or vegetables because they give me a stomach ache. I'm allergic to gluten, otherwise I'm perfectly healthy, my arteries are not clogged, I don't get sick. I just wanted to let people see the other side of the story, again, if you're vegan, that's great, please stop trying to shove it down the throats of those of us who are not(i.e. some comments here), and no, I don't hunt deer because I don't like deer meat.

15 Dec 2011

Pushy? STHU! I am not pushy! Nearly everyday people would harass me for being a vegetarian by pushy can't mind there busy meat-eaters. And I didn't go around announcing it to everyone. And so what if I did? Freedom of speech. Comes as no surprise when most vegetarians finally do stand up; usually after getting annoyed with such bull crap; and they're usually branded as pushy, nuts, hippie, etc. Another surprise to some: I know where to get protein, amino acids, iron, fat, and other nutrients. So STHU; it's in nearly plant/seed you can eat. Here's another concept unlike popular stereotypes: I don't eat soy/tofu. Big shocker - not really! However speaking of which, my diet hasn't made me fat or dramatically increased my risk of cancer and heart-disease; and my skin looks better than ever (as my dermatologist credited to my vegan diet) And although I've received the stupid lines like your ancestors weren't vegetarian; so what? I simply don't care. And for those Bible-belt red-necks; (trying re-reading the Bible wasn't until after the flood God /permitted/ meat) Also how people's ancestors used lead in medicine and thought the earth was flat, should we? Just putting that out there. Many might also be surprised to learn that many of the First Nations people thrived of many vegetarian-friendly foods. In my area (South-Essex county, in Southern Ontario) First Nation people have longed used foods as acorns, american chestnuts, berries (blackberries, blueberries, elderberry strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.,) evergreen needles (see how save peoples lives when they dying from scurvy), beans, birch syrup, prickly pear cactus nopal, maize (think of: hominy, tortillas, enchildeas, oksusu-cha tea, popcorn, corn oil, corn beer), maple syrup, spricebush, squash/pumpkin (and it's seeds), sunflower seeds, tubers, and various types of herbs and "wild" honey, onions, grapes, grasses, rice to name a just a few. Allot it was dried and smoked and used during the winter months. Branding vegetarians as pushy is very ironic too say the least.

6 Years Ago

@ Brian- I will answer your questions for you. In 1972, there were 10,742 deer-car collisions. Last year there were about 70,000. Gee, according to you, hunters were hunting to reduce deer-car collisions? Here is a detailed explanation about sex-biased hunting. If we didn't have sex-biased hunting, there would be an even ratio of male deer to female deer. So, if someone took a sample group of 10 deer—anywhere—there would be five males and five females. The five males would impregnate the five females who would then give birth to five offspring. However, after decades of killing big bucks for their large racks, we now have ratios of 7-to-3, 8-to-2, or 9-to-1 FEMALE to male. Let's take the 7-to-3 ratio. We now have three males impregnating seven females (we know males can impregnate as many females as they come in contact with). Then seven females give birth to seven offspring which means there are a minimum of two EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer because of sex-bias hunting. But, let's go further. Wildlife biologists have confirmed that when deer, and other animals, including humans during war times, feel their population is being decimated, as is the case after hunting season ends, the majority of all the females give birth to twins or triplets. So, let's take the twin scenario. Seven females are now giving birth to 14 babies instead of the original five (if our society didn't hunt) thereby having 9 EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer. When you multiply the extra babies over the entire Michigan herd, you have an "extra" 500,000 to 700,000 deer every year. And guess how many hunting licenses they issue every year? You guessed it, between 500,000 and 700,000. Plus, that's how the Michigan herd grew from 500,000 in the 70s to nearly 2 million nowadays. This scenario works in every state with the numbers only varying slightly. (provided by Gary Yourofsky) As for what is going to happen to all the animals that humans aren't going to eat..... Well, to simply put it, it is supply and demand. Our world is not and NEVER WILL go vegan over night, but slowly, there will be more people adopting this change. As less people buy beef, chicken, and pork, less animals will be impregnated to create more supply of meat. The animals will dwindle out, starting with maybe 3/4 of the animals on the farms, then 1/2, then 1/4, then hopefully, none at all. Im sorry but a farmer is not going to continue reproducing animals if not as many people are buying them. Because you are right, the farmer is not going to want to pay to feed the animal if they are not going to get a profit in return. Any other excuses you want to come up with to deny vegan isn't the way to go? :)

Charles Danten
6 Years Ago

Sometimes it’s cruel to be kind Most vegans I know all have pets they are proud of having saved from one of those exploitive pounds euphemistically called shelters. Most don’t seem to be able to make the link between the use of animals for affection and entertainment and the other uses of animals. Although they are very good at spotting hard types of cruelty, they are completely blind to the softer types that operate under the mask of compassion. No mask is more dangerous than the one of virtue. The problem here is in the very concept of pet. Every species has an essence, a telos, an innate core that includes a compulsion to engage in a series of intrinsic activities and to meet specific needs that were formed over millions of years of evolution. No animal in captivity can incarnate its essence. Although they have lived by man’s side for thousands of years, today’s pets carry with them many of the instincts of their wild predecessors; however, in the interest of survival under domestication, these must be kept in check. The dog will always be a denatured wolf deprived of satisfying its pack instincts; the domestic cat will always be a carnivorous predator in a permanent state of inhibition; the bird in a cage, like the others, will remain a creature deprived of its most fundamental prerogatives: to come and go freely, to explore its territory, to socialize with others of its kind, to reproduce, to eat the right foods. An animal constrained to life in an environment that is not its own is subjected to an almost constant disequilibrium. Impoverished by captivity, bored by inactivity, it necessarily develops a host of neurotic behaviors due to the emotional ties of total dependence and to the lack of factors that it needs to incarnate its true nature. Says psychiatrist Hubert Montagner in a speech given in 1998 at the French Information Center on Pets: “Man does not hesitate to control every aspect of his animals’ existence. He tampers with his appearance. He confines it to spaces under his control, imposing exclusive or near-exclusive proximity. He limits his communication with others like it. He selects for behaviors that meet his expectations and conditions his animal to follow rituals. He imposes his whims and self-serving decisions. He encloses it within his own emotions and projections.” Such violation of any being’s essence is the negation of true love and empathy. And various shows of affection, such as adopting from a shelter, hiring a professional dog-walker, getting your pet vaccinated each year, having it treated for cancer, putting boots and a coat on it, decorating it with jewels or a 1000 $ wig, dressing it up with feel good words such as love, companion, compassion, guardian, adoption, and child, defending it, giving it rights, lifting it onto the podium of humanity whether he likes it or not, do not make things right. Professor Yi-Fu Tuan of Yale University shows in his book Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets how affection, a latent form of violence, is used as an instrument of power: “Love is not what makes the world go around. […] There remains affection. However, affection is not the opposite of dominance: rather it is dominance’s anodyne – it is dominance with a human face. Dominance may be cruel and exploitative, with no hint of affection in it. What it produces is the victim. On the other hand, dominance may be combined with affection, and what it produces is the pet. […] Affection mitigates domination, making it softer and more acceptable, but affection itself is possible only in relationships of inequality. It is the warm and superior feeling one has towards things that one can care for and patronize. The word care so exudes humaneness that we tend to forget its almost inevitable tainting by patronage and condescension.” What children are most likely to learn through a pet and through zootherapy in general are self-centeredness and a deep disrespect for animals. These traits of character will become the ground rules for all of their future relationships. More or less, we interact the same way with other animals as we do with human animals – and not always in accordance with safeguards like laws, rules, and principles. According to several sociologists, the animal condition is essentially a reflection of the human condition, “the duplicate in positive and negative of our relationships with our own kind, ” says French sociologist Jean Pierre Diggard. Thus, we treat our own children, spouses, employees, friends, citizens, and on a larger scale, nations, and the environment, like animals, and that is precisely the problem. The damaging nature of our relationship with pets stays out of focus simply because there is no other behavioral point of reference with which to compare it. Zootherapy-The making of pets http://charles-danten.blog4ever.com/blog/lire-article-511128-2767962-the_making_of_pets.html Zootherapy-Contraband and the illegal wildlife trade http://charles-danten.blog4ever.com/blog/lire-article-511128-2674564-zootherapy_contraband_and_the_illegal_wildlife_tra.html

Joy Ward
17 Nov 2013

You know the average outdoor cat will live 2-5 years while the average indoor cat can live over 20. I see the point about pets, but in all honesty we are born omnivores. People don't usually make the "emotional" choice to go vegan/vegetarian until they hit their teens. I never met anyone before high school that was vegetarian, and then the vegan stuff started when my friends hit their 20's . I think one of the true drives to go vegan is the "perception" of animal cruelty. Not all animals are treated horribly. if you do a little research you'll find animal welfare ratings on products, and meat products that are organic. Caveman hunted meat and ate it, just because we use machines to get the process done faster to feed more people makes no difference, this is just evolution of man. Meat is not bad for you at all. my husbands grandpa was a "meat and potatoes" guy and lived to be 81. sadly passed away from mesothelioma. I mean does the average vegan think their living passed 100? Not to mention most meat research just tells you to avoid or consume little "red meat" but that lean beef is good for you. It's in our human nature to crave meat, and reasons we have pets vs food is because the pets are SMALLER. Who can feed a family on a cat or dog? It's just not logical to try and eat something smaller than your appetite. You'd have to kill way more cats n dogs than cows to feed the planet. Go tell some Ethiopian to go vegan and I'm sure they would laugh. How about the fisherman in Africa or Japan?

Suzanne Williams
7 Years Ago

I became vegetarian b/c my grandfather and my dog (who was my best friend) died in a few months of one another due to lung cancer. I started wondering why so many people, including children, are getting such horrible illnesses. It seems to be more and more as time moves on. I started researching and found that most or our issues seems to come from the lack of standards in our meat, dairy, etc. I then started realizing how much better it is for the world as well. I am a huge animal lover and after all of the things I've read, it breaks my heart to even consider eating another piece of meat. Great post, thank you! Suzanne Willimas


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