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Frequently Asked Questions

World GO VEGAN Week

Why Go Vegan?
The Cruelty on Your Plate
A Teen's Viewpoint
Veganism and Religion
Veganism Resources

 

All around us today, the natural world upon which humans and animals depend is under attack. Animals in factory farms suffer terribly, and pollution, deforestation, global warming, and resource depletion are rapidly destroying the planet. But how can one person make any difference?

The answer is as close as your dinner plate. Thousands of people across the country are standing up for animals and the environment by adopting a vegan lifestyle. Vegans take personal responsibility for making the world a better place by giving up meat, dairy products, eggs, and other animal-derived items.

That simple choice has powerful consequences. Veganism saves animals from the horrors of the slaughterhouse, reduces pollution from factory farms, and preserves soybeans and grain--which would otherwise be fed to animals being raised for food--for the millions of malnourished people in our hungry world.

Animals
Vegans are motivated by compassion for animals' suffering and respect for life. Both modern science and simple common sense tell us that other animals besides humans feel pain and fear death. Vegans empathize with living creatures and understand that humans don’t need to eat meat, wear leather, or drink milk to survive.

Animals on a modern factory farm lead lives of unimaginable suffering and die cruel deaths in order to end up on the dinner table. Intense competition drives farmers to value profits and efficiency over the animals' natural desires or quality of life. Animals are squeezed into ever smaller living quarters, even as new biotechnology is used to make animals grow bigger and produce more meat, milk or eggs. Lowering the cost per unit is the overriding goal.

Pumped up with hormones and drugs, dairy cows spend years in a concrete stall or filthy feed lot before they dry up and are sent to slaughter. Most calves born to dairy cows are quickly separated from their mothers, confined in tiny pens, and then killed for veal after only a few months of life. Chickens raised for eggs are crammed together in tiny cages and have their beaks clipped to prevent them from hurting one another due to stress from confinement. Death is merciless and inevitable: a bolt gun or a knife ends a life spent in hell.

Vegans do not wear products derived from animals. Fur and leather are the result of suffering and exploitation. So is wool: lambs are castrated and have their tails cut off without anesthetic, and many sheep die of exposure due to premature shearing. Some cosmetics and personal care items contain animal by-products such as honey, lanolin and lard. Vegans use the widely available alternatives that are animal-free.

Experiments on animals are another source of suffering. Rabbits, dogs, rats and many other beings die to test soap and make-up or in medical research that many doctors have condemned as irrelevant to human health. The agony suffered by animals in research facilities is all the more outrageous because cruelty-free non-animal-based alternatives exist.

A human can be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore if he eats meat he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.
—Leo Tolstoy

People
Veganism also saves human lives. Diet is a major factor in three of the leading causes of death in America today. The risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke can be dramatically reduced by a non-dairy vegetarian diet. Vegans also virtually eliminate the possibility of contracting e. coli, salmonella and spongiform encephalopathy (a fatal condition transmitted by the flesh of animals suffering from "Mad Cow Disease").

But going vegan won't just save your life and animals' lives. A plant-based diet is also an important step towards solving the terrible problem of world hunger. Animal agriculture is a grossly inefficient way of growing food: Experts estimate that at least seven pounds of grain or soybeans are needed to generate one pound of meat. Food that could be going directly to hungry people is instead being inefficiently funneled into producing steaks and hamburgers. Animal agriculture also wastes staggering amounts of water and energy. One thing is clear: if all the people of Earth are going to be fed, we must eat more wisely, responsibly, and compassionately.

The Environment
How we eat also affects the air, the water, the forests and the oceans. The production of meat has a devastating impact on the subtle web of connections that sustains life on our planet. Rainforests are leveled to raise cattle, factory farms pollute rivers and lakes, over-grazing erodes fertile land into arid desert, and vast quantities of energy and water are wasted to raise animals for food. At sea, huge fishing drift nets turn acres of ocean into graveyards. All this damage to the earth can be stopped. Taking meat, dairy, and eggs off your plate will make a difference.


Wear your heart on your sleeve with IDA’s vegan t-shirts