Why vegan? 22 reasons for going vegan

Why cut out meat? Besides the bevy of delicious food options...

Credit: Hilary Henegar

Why cut out meat and go vegan? Besides the bevy of delicious food options, consider these facts


1. Vegans on average live six years longer than non-vegans.

2. Food tastes better to vegans because their taste buds are more sensitive than those of meat eaters.

3. The average vegan’s total cholesterol level is 128; the lowest level for a heart attack is 150.

4. Just this year, 20 people died after eating meat contaminated by listeriosis in a recent outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.

5. Milk consumption has been linked to colic, ear infections, asthma, acne breakouts (that’s right!), Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Learn more about veganism

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VIDEO – Meet Vancouver’s vegan restaurateurs.
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6. Tofu and beans are much cheaper than steak and chicken breast.

7. On average, vegans and vegetarians have lower body mass indices than meat eaters.

8. Fur contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

9. Fast food meats like those at McDonald’s have thousands of additives that are not only addictive but can also cause weight gain and many other health complications. Also, big fast food franchises are one of the largest culprits of rainforest deforestation, as land is cleared to make room for grazing cattle.

10. Consider this:

  • Amount of U.S. grain fed to farm animals: 70%
  • Corn and soy required to produce 1 lb of pork: almost 7 lbs
  • Water needed to produce 1 lb of wheat: 14 gallons
  • Water needed to produce 1 lb of meat: 441 gallons
  • Of all water used for all purposes in the United States, more than half goes to livestock production.

11. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada has determined that vegan and vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

12. The competition to produce inexpensive meat, eggs and dairy products has led animal agribusiness to treat animals as objects and commodities. The worldwide trend is to replace small family farms with “factory farms”—large warehouses where animals are confined in crowded cages or pens or in restrictive stalls—where the thinking is: Chickens are cheap, cages are expensive.

13. Veal calves are often stillborn or unborn; or they are raised in crates in which they can’t even turn around and are fed a diet of only milk for 16 weeks before they are slaughtered.

14. 760 million tons of grain is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat.

15. It takes more than 3,000 gallons of water to feed an omnivore for a day versus less than 400 gallons to feed a vegan.

16. Dairy cows’ ability to produce milk declines around age 5–7, which is also the average lifespan of a factory farm dairy cow, as they are no longer profitable. However, the natural lifespan of a cow is more than 20 years.

17. Pigs are more intelligent than dogs, having the intelligence of a 3-year-old human child.

18. The costs of mass-producing cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep and fish to feed our growing population include hugely inefficient use of freshwater and land, heavy pollution from livestock feces, rising rates of heart disease and other degenerative illnesses, and spreading destruction of the forests on which much of our planet’s life depends.

19. Egg-laying hens are kept without water and food for 14 days at a time to force their bodies into another egg-laying cycle.

20. It takes seven cows to furnish a leather interior Mercedes-Benz.

21. Slash emissions: A 2006 United Nations report asserted that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—a higher percentage than that caused by transportation.

22. It feels good! Physically and emotionally.