Why Go Vegan? Words from a Former Meat Lover

Why Go Vegan? Words from a Former Meat Lover

Emily Lukovic

Attempting to be more environmentally conscious, having consistent morals, and most importantly, choosing empathy over ignorance, I went vegan over the summer. This is a decision I can’t ever see myself changing. This is one of the only societal justice changes that can be 100% controlled by individuals. Once people decide to stop paying for meat, the murder of animals erases. Unfortunately, convincing the majority of the population that humans aren’t supreme to the point of oppression is biologically an almost impossible task. 


Anyone who wants to take themselves ethically seriously needs to consider the morals of their actions. In terms of food consumption, we need to ask ourselves: What do we eat, and how do we justify it? At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a deep philosophical question. However, when there are more than 70 billion land animals being slaughtered every year for food because we are too lazy to eat another source of protein, this needs some thought. 

Despite what we tell ourselves to rationalize eating bacon, animals are sentient beings with complex emotions and relationships. We are giving animals trauma that we would never forgive ourselves if done to a human. Pigs, for example, get their tails cut off at birth to prevent them from cannibalizing each other after they go clinically insane. This is the result of keeping intelligent creatures abused in confinement and giving them horrific conditions. Then, whenever the farmer finally decides to put these animals out of their misery, these animals will typically be suffocated to death in a carbon dioxide gas chamber.

 Many people are quick to dismiss the exploitation of these animals because “other animals eat each other,” therefore that gives us the right to torture our dinner.  Since when have the actions of other animals defined our morals? This is faulty logic.  Animals rape each other in the wild, but would it be okay for a human to do the same? I presume not. For almost every person in the U.S, eating meat is not an action combating starvation because protein plant-based alternatives (beans, lentils, soy, etc) are almost always cheaper than meat. The main, if not the only, reason we eat meat is that it tastes good. Something I, as a vegan, can’t even deny. But as good as a chicken sandwich may taste, we shouldn’t brutally slaughter another animal to please our taste buds. For the same reason, we can’t kill a dog or a person because “they taste nice”. If you think that taste pleasure isn’t worth another animal’s life “you are left with the inconvenient conclusion that animal exploitation has to end,” as vegan activist Alex O’Connor stated. 

Other than animal rights, there are more incentives to go vegan, such as to combat the climate crisis. We are currently growing enough crops to feed everyone on the planet, and three times over that. But we are taking those crops and feeding them to the animals we later slaughter. Experts suggest that a meat diet requires 14 times more water and 17 times more land than a plant-based diet. The process of mass-producing and exterminating animals leads to deforestation. According to Our World in Data, if everyone went vegan “global farmland use would drop by 75 percent.” The fishing industry is even worse. An estimate of 90% of all large fish in the ocean have been killed by the fishing industry. With about 1 trillion wild fish being caught every year, the ocean is heavily polluted with fishing nets. Also, fish absorb carbon dioxide which helps stabilize our climate. When the fish and forests are gone, the planet doesn’t have anything to preserve global warming.


Eating a fully vegan diet without being malnourished might be a struggle for some. When given the option to let’s say, swap out chicken for beans, soy, or peas,  will guarantee that you have done the most you can do as an individual to combat the climate crisis, and protect the rights of animals. Reducing your meat intake even by a small amount is one of the most selfless acts one can take. Realizing that temporary human pleasure, taste, isn’t worth the slaughter of someone else just because they are a part of a different species, reinforces compassion in society, and makes biological supremacy disappear. Not only are we letting mass slaughter and carbon emissions happen, but we are also paying for it to happen. All of my optimism goes into hoping that the future of society is more conscious of the moral abominations happening in front of our eyes.