Living Vegan

Vegan NachosWith one bite, you can change the way that animals are treated, help the environment, and be healthier! By carefully examining your choices and making informed decisions about what you put on your plate, you have the opportunity to make a difference at every meal—to cast your vote against cruelty to animals and environmental degradation—and to do this while eating food that is better for you than meat-based meals.

Here are some quick reminders about how you can make a difference by going vegan:

Environment

Climate change has been called humankind’s “greatest challenge” and the world’s most grave environmental threat, but the leading cause of the climate crisis may not be what you think. Is it driving an SUV? Nope. Factories? Nope. Planes? Nope. These are the first things that come to mind, but the leading cause of climate change might actually be on your dinner plate. A recent United Nations report concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

Meat production is poisoning and depleting our potable water, arable land, and clean air. More than half the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than does the human population, the run-off from their waste is fouling our waterways. Animal excrement emits gasses that poison the air around farms—gasses such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, as well as methane and nitrous oxide, which are major contributors to climate change.

Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of feed and raw materials: Farmed animals consume 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow, and one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. go to raising animals for food.

Researchers have concluded that switching from a standard American diet to a vegan one is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid. So if you care about the environment, one of the single most effective things that you can do to save it is to adopt a vegan diet.

Health:soyrizo with tofu and potatoes

Filling your plate with meat, dairy products, and eggs could be a recipe for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, three of the leading causes of death within the Latino community in the United States. Leading experts agree that going vegan is the single best thing that we can do for ourselves and our families to prevent the onset of these health problems.

A well-planned vegan diet can provide you with all the nutrients that you need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy foods. Find out more in our Health and Family sections.

Animals:

cow-helping-animals-used-foodEvery year in the U.S. alone, more than 27 billion animals are slaughtered for food. Animals on factory farms are treated like meat, milk, and egg machines. Chickens have their sensitive beaks seared off with a hot blade, and male cattle and pigs are castrated without any painkillers. Farmed chickens, turkeys, and pigs spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses, many of them so cramped that they can’t even turn around or spread a single wing. They are mired in their own waste, and the stench of ammonia fills the air.

Many die during transport, and others are too sick or weak to walk off the truck after they reach the slaughterhouse. The animals who survive this hellish ordeal are hung upside down and their throats are slit, often while they’re completely conscious.

Many are still alive while they are skinned, hacked into pieces, or scalded in the defeathering tanks. By switching to a vegan diet, you can save more than 100 animals a year.