Why do people most often switch to a vegetarian lifestyle? For ethical reasons, wanting to save the environment, or just out of concern for your own health? This question is most often of interest to beginners-vegetarians.
Professor of Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA), well-known theorist of vegetarianism and veganism Gary Francion receives hundreds of letters daily with a similar question. The professor recently expressed his thoughts on this in an essay (Veganism: Ethics, Health or the Environment). In short, his answer is: however different these aspects may be, nevertheless, there are almost no differences between them.
Thus, the ethical moment means non-participation in the exploitation and killing of living beings, and this is closely related to the application of the spiritual concept of “non-violence”, which is expressed in the theory of Ahimsa. Ahimsa – avoidance of murder and violence, harm by action, word and thought; fundamental, the first virtue of all systems of Indian philosophy.
The issues of preserving our own health and protecting the environment in which we all live – all this is also part of the moral and spiritual concept of “non-violence”.
“We have an obligation to maintain our own health, not only for ourselves, but also for the sake of our loved ones: people and animals who love us, are attached to us and who depend on us,” says Gary Francion.
The consumption of animal products is more and more characterized by modern science as a source of great harm to health. People also have a moral responsibility for the environment, even if this environment is not endowed with the ability to suffer. After all, everything that surrounds us: water, air, plants are a home and a source of food for many sentient beings. Yes, maybe a tree or grass does not feel anything, but hundreds of creatures depend on their existence, which certainly understand everything.
Industrial animal husbandry destroys and destroys the environment and all life that is in it.
One of the favorite arguments against veganism is the claim that in order to eat only plants, we will have to take up huge areas of land under crops. This argument has nothing to do with reality. In fact, the opposite is true: in order to get one kilogram of meat or milk, we need to feed many kilograms of vegetable food to the victim animal. Having ceased to “cultivate” the earth, i.e. to destroy everything that originally grows on it, for the production of fodder, we will free up gigantic areas for returning them to nature.
Professor Francion ends his essay with the words: “If you are not a vegan, become one. It’s really simple. This will help our health. This will help our planet. This is correct from an ethical point of view. Most of us are against violence. Let’s take our position seriously and take an important step towards reducing violence in the world, starting with what we put in our stomachs.”