What is veganism?
Veganism is, by definition, a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
In short, this means avoiding eating animal products – such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey, using cosmetics or toiletries tested on animals, and wearing clothing that comes from animals – such as fur, leather, wool and silk.
Every single year, approximately 60 billion land animals, and countless marine animals are slaughtered for food. The production of animal products causes untold animal suffering, with most animals being raised in intensive conditions, and then slaughtered at just a few weeks or months old.
Animal Aid’s investigations into slaughterhouses and farms show that there is nothing humane about raising and killing animals for food. There is no humane way to kill an animal that doesn’t want to die.
Do you care about the planet? Did you know that animal farming is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions? Methane, which has the potential to warm the Earth 23 times quicker per tonne than carbon dioxide, is produced during the digestive processes of sheep, cows and other ruminants and is released from the untreated manure. It is estimated that animal farming is responsible for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions – more than all motorised transport (cars, planes, ships, etc.) combined.
Animal products are also a waste of resources; it takes 1,000 litres of water to produce a single beef burger, compared to just 167 litres to produce a soya-based alternative. In addition, dairy farming is the biggest cause of water pollution in the UK. Also, large areas of natural rainforest are currently being destroyed to grow feed and provide grazing for farmed animals. 70 per cent of existing agricultural land in industrialised countries is also devoted to growing food for farmed animals. In fact, farmed animals are fed as much as half of the world’s harvest.
“With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.” – NHS Live Well guide
A plant-based diet is naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in vitamins, minerals and
fibre. Studies also show that vegans suffer lower rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
What do vegans eat?
Pretty much the same as everyone else! For those who like cooking from fresh ingredients, there are delicious recipes available, embracing dietary traditions from around the world. Cakes and puddings can be made easily without eggs and dairy.
If you prefer convenience foods, simply replace animal products with the many vegan alternatives that are widely available in wholefood stores, high street shops and supermarkets. These include vegan sausages, burgers, mince, bacon, ham/chicken/turkey sandwich slices and fishless fingers, as well as vegan cheeses, milk, custard, ice-creams, yoghurts, cream, margarines and mayonnaise.