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Why Vegan? - Why Not Vegan?

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by

Ferguson Roper

on 9 November 2013

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Transcript of Why Vegan? - Why Not Vegan?

What is a vegan?
- Someone who refrains from eating or using non-human animal products. This includes meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, honey, fur and leather.

Why do people choose veganism?
- Nutritional benefits
- Reducing environmental impact
- As an alternative food distribution system to benefit those in poverty
- Culture, religion & spirituality
ETHICS
Consequentialism / Utilitarianism - The greatest good for the most many. What matters are the consequences of our actions.

Why? This is how Western governments operate (generally).

Speciesism - discrimination against a non-human animal group for arbitrary or unfounded reasons.
ENVIRONMENT
Growing plants to feed to animals to feed to humans is extremely inefficient.

Omnivorous:
Plants > Cows > Humans

Vegan:
Plants > Humans
HEALTH & BIOLOGY
Humans can survive and thrive on a vegan diet.
- Plenty of successful vegan athletes in sport and even bodybuilding.
- Protein requirements can be achieved with beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, soy etc.
- Excess saturated (animal) fats are linked to heart disease and certain cancers.
HEALTH & BIOLOGY FLIPSIDE
Careful planning is needed to ensure adequate calorie density, vitamin & mineral intake.

- Vitamin B12 requires supplementation (produced by bacteria on animal products)
- Plant based iron is non-haem (lower bioavailability)
- Zinc, calcium, omega-3, vitamin D may be low in vegan diets
CURRENT FIGURES & TRADITION
Consuming animal products is the norm in most places around the world.
Eating animal products intrinsically linked with meal time gatherings with family and friends.
UK, US and AUS about 1% of the population or less are vegan.
ENVIRONMENT
FLIPSIDE
- Some land is not suitable for plant crops, but can be used for grazing, e.g. cattle and lamb.
- This removes the need for producing plant crops to feed the animals.
- No incidental death caused by clearing of land.
- Some packaged products may use similar or more water use than certain animal products (e.g. potato chips).
- Some aquatic animals can be sustainably fished, e.g. oysters / clams.
RATIONALE & OBJECTIVES
The aim of this presentation is to discover if the claims of vegans are justified. If so, then people can make an informed choice that leads to a more sustainable future.
Why Vegan?
Why Not Vegan?

ECONOMICS
- Animal agriculture is major industry in Australia and across the globe.
- Many livelihoods depend on animal production.
- Sub-industries: farming, transport, energy, building & construction, retail.

- Does this make it OK to use animal products?
COMPASSION
- Suffering is high in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)
- Extreme confinement, procedures without anaesthetic, no expression of natural habits
- Free range / humane etc. mostly not much better
- Corporations main concern is $$$
- "Ethically" raised pigs cost twice as more
COMPASSION FLIPSIDE
- Certain livestock often allowed to roam and express natural behaviours.
- Animals can have good lives up until slaughter. Without animal agriculture, these animals would not exist.
- Trucking to slaughterhouses and the manner of death must also be considered.
- Some animals may not have a sufficiently developed nervous system to feel pain, e.g. oysters / clams.
A vegan diet with careful planning can be as healthful as an omnivorous diet.

Consumption of animal products leads to environmental damage - especially with CAFOs.

Generally, more people (e.g. the poor) can be fed with less land use and less money on a vegan diet.
Thanks for listening!
For a sustainable and compassionate world future, a vegan diet is recommended for most people.

If not vegan, animal product consumption should be greatly reduced.

If not vegan, choose animal products grown on land not suitable for crops, with excellent animal husbandry practices, or animals least likely to feel pain.
ENVIRONMENT
Producing animal products "doubles up" on many of the systems and processes.

Increased:
- Water use (beef)
- Fuel use (transport)
- Land clearance & deforestation
- Seabed clearing


Suffering of animals matters and is common place - especially with CAFOs. We can't show true compassion with current capitalist framework.

Exit strategies would need to be put in place to change agriculture to a more plant-based system. (Same with fossil fuels to sustainable energy)
Thanks for watching!
Full transcript