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The Importance of Being Vegan

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Some people might attempt to justify consumption of animal products for reasons of health. And yet, an increasing number of medical professionals are beginning to realize that not only are plant-based diets nutritionally complete, but they are actually more nourishing and far less toxic than their animal-based counterparts. In addition, the public is beginning to realize that many of the major dangers associated with diet – heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and many, many more – are exacerbated by the consumption of animal products, and can actually be avoided by adopting a vegan diet.

According to the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the American Dietetic Association (“the ADA”):

“…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.”

In other words, the official position of the – very mainstream – ADA is that including animal products in one’s diet is not only unnecessary, but can actually be harmful to our health.

What about our other uses of animals? Leather, wool, silk, down, fur, toiletries, cosmetics, entertainment, sport, the vast majority of our experimentation – all of these are also clearly unnecessary under any coherent concept of the word “necessary”, as there are vegan alternatives available for them all.

Veganism is not a fringe philosophy – it is a moral baseline that is consistent with beliefs that most of us already hold. Veganism is a simple matter of refraining from participating in unnecessary and harmful use of sentient beings. As most people are naturally opposed to unnecessary violence, becoming and staying vegan is not a matter of changing any of our basic moral beliefs. It simply requires us to be willing to change the habits we have developed that prevent us from living according to our principles.

Every one of us has been conditioned by the propaganda of a highly speciesist society – a worldwide culture that is extremely prejudiced against the interests of those animals who did not have the good fortune to be born onto this planet in human form. And yet, every one of us has the power to break free from this indoctrination. Becoming vegan is simply recognizing and admitting who we really are – it is the opportunity to become who we would be if no one had ever taught us that it’s okay to turn our backs on the needs and rights of our fellow animals, that it’s okay to ignore their pain if it leads to our pleasure.

Is veganism a sacrifice? Not at all. On the contrary, it is every non-vegan choice that sacrifices our own inherent goodness. Once you make the decision to live consistently with your values, the rewards – in the form of a healthier body, clearer mind, and more peaceful conscience – will be both profoundly apparent and a source of continuing joy.

But even if veganism does require us to give up some of our favorite foods, beloved items of clothing, and cherished habits, does that question really matter? The institution of slavery and the treatment of sentient beings as ‘things’ – whether human or nonhuman – are inherently and gravely unjust.  The changes that veganism requires of us, and the rewards that veganism brings, are irrelevant to the true moral question:

Is the taste of a particular food, or the way you feel in your favorite pair of shoes or your winter coat, more important than the life and freedom of another living, feeling being?

 

with Dan Cudahy

 

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.

Dan Cudahy is author of Unpopular Vegan Essays: Unpopular Essays Concerning Popular Violence Inflicted On The Innocent.

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Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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1736 comments

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2:54AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

Hi, Erica..........long time, no read. Welcome back. Yes, I had checked the top box in this discussion a very long time ago, when it was a NEW discussion. Never thought I should have to manually UNCHECK discussions that should just die out, automatically, so was a bit surprised when a new comment made to this article showed up in my C2's IN BOX. Hope you're doing well. Thank you for the support. It IS mind-boggling to contemplate why some think coming into and stirring up the "pot" after such a long time and in such a hostile, negative and insulting manner could impress anyone or "convert" them to their beliefs, isn't it?

2:41AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

I can't believe this article is still being kept alive...by a very angry vegan no less. Diane, you are SO spot on. I mean, geez, I'm a vegetarian and thought Colin's comment was totally inappropriate...AND he is a tad late in getting in on the conversation. He should have participated when people still actually CARED about the discussion. And that goes for Cristina S too.

12:31AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

"as soon as someone writes an article about Veganism, Meat Troll 1 through 9 come in and start telling everyone why Vegans are so bad and eating meat is The Greatest Thing Ever"............"AS SOON AS"? Colin, you must have missed the fact that this article was posted over 2 YEARS ago. Nobody who disagrees with Angel Flinn is a "meat troll", but since you've just popped in and completely misconstrued and incorrectly interpreted everyone who is NOT vegan, I'd question you as possibly fitting that description. Not a single non-vegan who has posted has called any vegan "bad" or suggested that eating meat is the "greatest thing ever". Geez, Colin, has it taken you TWO years to read this article or any of the comments here, or take you two YEARS to compose your snarky and disrespectful response?.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-importance-of-being-vegan.html#ixzz2b4qQuMtA

5:25PM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Once again, as soon as someone writes an article about Veganism, Meat Troll 1 through 9 come in and start telling everyone why Vegans are so bad and eating meat is The Greatest Thing Ever. Well guess what? I got news for you Trolls. Veganism is like a gigantic, rising tide that's starting to cover the world. We Vegans are gonna rise up and sweep out all the old, barbaric ways. And there's nothing you old fossils can do about it. That's because there is more compassion out there than your filthy cruelty and greed can drown.

As for the people who eat meat but DON'T specifically go around rubbing Vegan noses in that fact, guess what? You guys aren't going to get swept under. You guys can come surf the wave WITH us. All it takes is throwing away your old ideas that murdering animals is a good thing, and letting compassion rule over greed, apathy and fear.

Surf's up Meat Trolls!

5:49AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

I have just been told by one of the members that Angel publishes old stuff and changes the name and publishes it again, and some people don´t seem to like it. As I said to her, my work doesn´t allow me to come round here very often, and I didn´t know anything about this, but still, I don´t think repeating this kind of stuff is bad. The more it´s published and repeated, the more it will be spread, and after all, it´s the truth. Perhaps this Angel person has offended someone or done something wrong, that I don´t know, and if that´s the case, I apologize to Valentina R about my last response, I honestly thought, by her words, that she was against what it´s said in the article, and I couldn´t understand why, and why she was in a site like this, which cares for the animals. With her words, Valentina gave me the impression of being against the principles of vegans. So I´m a bit confused now. Perhaps I got it all wrong, and for that, again, I apologize. There´s so many people critizising vegans that I can´t help being outraged, and answer to negative comments with some degree of anger. I still can´t see anything wrong in the article. But from now on, I will stay out of here, as I cannot log in often enough to be in the loop of what´s happening, and my comments can be out of place. So all the best to everyone, and sorry if I have offenden anybody.

5:30AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

I wonder why you, Valentina R, are in this site, when you have no regard for any rights but yours, obviously you don´t give a damm about anything but yourself. With people like you, it´s not strange that the world is the nazi camp it is for non-human animals. The article is totally right, and only speaks the truth, in a very civilized way, but of course, you and your selfishness can only laugh about it. A total shame of human being you are. You should be on a "Couldn´t Care Less Carnivore Site".

3:17PM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

Really informative!

4:04AM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

3:34PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

lol @ Angel Flinn's vegan propaganda. I wonder how stuff like this even gets published.

5:58AM PDT on Jun 12, 2013

Sorry, I didn´t have enough space to finish. This is the last part of my comment:

There are more and more studies proving this, and more and more reputed and knowledgeable professionals, with many years of experience, are already accepting and promoting the vegan diet as not only the most sustainable for our planet, and most respectful towards all life, but the absolute best for human health. Our bodies are not made to eat, digest, and process animal foods, and this is a proven fact already. Please check "The China Study", the best and most important study on nutrition in history. I always like to quote Schopenhauer´s words: "The truth has 3 stages: 1- it is laughed at and ridiculed, 2- it is violently opposed, 3- it is accepted as evident". All the best to you, whatever you do. Respectfully, Cristina.

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