Plant-Based Eating: For The Good of The Animals
As you have been seeing from the previous blog posts this month, there are many benefits to a plant-based diet, ranging from global (the environment!, global economy!) to very, very local (inside your body!). One obvious outcome of a plant-based diet is exercising compassion for all animals and sentient life while working to reduce and prevent the suffering of animals in the food industry.
A major concept for animal rights within plant-based eating is reducing the demand for animal products. By eating less (or no!) meat, dairy, and other animal products, we collectively reduce the demand for those products. With less demand, factory farms and the animal food industry must adjust their supply, thus reducing the number of animals involved, exploited, and harmed.
If you have some trouble wrapping your mind around how your personal choices can have an impact, I encourage you to think about the importance and self-love of living your values. Here is a great response about eating vegan from Bruce Friedrich, who has dedicated his career to several vegan activist organizations including the Good Food Institute:
“I do find it deeply motivating to realize that I can live my values every time I sit down to eat. I like that every time I sit down to eat, I cast my lot for mercy, and against misery — for compassion, and against cruelty. Every meal becomes a prayer for a kinder and more just world.”
Alka Chandna, who has worked for PETA for over 15 years, writes about how practicing veganism brings her joy in the face of continued unnecessary cruelty and suffering in the food industry: “I feel some comfort in knowing that my actions are not contributing to or paying for those systems to carry out their business.”
Although moving to a plant-based diet can mean hard work and change for many, Paul Shapiro, author of Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, writes,
“We can only control ourselves. Millions of Americans are choosing to eat less meat today for a variety of reasons: to look and feel better, to prevent animal abuse, to protect the planet, and more. It need not be an all-or-nothing endeavor.”
So embrace Meatless Mondays (or your full-on plant-based diet—whatever option is viable right now), and as you sit down to your meal, take a moment to remind yourself why you are investing in a plant-based diet, and feel gratitude that you are living your values as you nourish your body.