To Vegan or Not to Vegan?

In honour of World Vegan Day we look at some of the reasons why veganism is finding favour in today's millennial generation (and beyond). 

So What is a 'Conscious Creative'?

What sets Novel Beings' artists apart is that we do not just provide a quality job, but we truly consider how the way we live and work impacts planet, people and animals.

If you ask any of our artists why they use the products or brands they use, they will have an informed answer. Veganism, and it's implications on our work, is certainly a consideration for many of our creatives.

Food styling and photography by Josie Taylor

Food styling and photography by Josie Taylor

 

The Environmental Impact

Have you noticed the staggering rise in veganism since the release of Cowspiracy in 2014? We certainly have! While being vegan is not a criterion to joining our agency, there are a number of the tribe that have made this choice for not only animal rights reasons, but environmental ones.

The Biggest Intervention People Could Make Towards Reducing Their Carbon Footprints Would Not Be To Abandon Cars, But To Eat Significantly Less Red Meat
— Professor Tim Benton

 

Statistics like "animal agriculture gulps up a hefty 56% of water in the U.S. alone", or that "meat rearing has lead to the deforestation of over 91% of the precious Amazon rainforest" are alarming. When compared to vegetable staples like potatoes, wheat and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases. When cutting our personal CO2 emissions greatly is as easy as avoiding meat, it begins to seem like a bit of a no-brainer for us even if it sad to think of a world without steak frites.

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The Human Impact

World Hunger: 

The reality is, the majority of crops grown worldwide do not go towards feeding people, they become feed for livestock. And this is way more than throwing livestock our leftover scraps. Around 85 percent of soy grown globally is ground into soy meal that becomes livestock feed. Additionally, for every 100 calories of grain fed to livestock, we only get three calories of beef in return. If one person were to skip eating meat for one day and eat only plant-based instead, they could save enough grain to feed 40 people. By diverting the grain we feed to animals to people, we could feed 1.4 billion hungry people.

Public Health:

Animals kept in factory farms are subjected to a life in an extremely confined space where they are constantly surrounded by their own waste. This life is incredibly stressful for an animal, which can take a toll on their immune system. It is estimated that 80 percent of pigs have pneumonia when they go to slaughter. In an attempt to combat illness, antibiotics are mass-administered to animals in their feed. Animals in factory farms are rarely given veterinary care, so these antibiotics are basically the only medical treatment they will receive in their lives.

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Not to mention: The Health Impact

  1. Significantly Increases Risk of Cancer
  2. Increases Risk of Heart Disease & Diabetes
  3. Eating Meat Makes It Harder to Maintain a Healthy Bodyweight
  4. Meat Carries Highest Risk of Foodborne Illness
  5. Most Meat Has Hormones In It
  6. May Make You Resistant to Antibiotics

 

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The Animal Rights Issue

A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare.

 

    •    Cages and overcrowding.

    •    Physical alterations, like teeth-clipping or tail-docking, performed without anaesthetic. 

    •    Indoor confinement with poor air quality and unnatural light patterns.

    •    Inability to engage in natural behaviours.

    •    Breeding for fast growth or high yields of meat, milk and eggs that compromises animal welfare.

    •    Neglect of sick and suffering animals, often due to the high ratio of animals to workers.

    •    Misuse of antibiotics to compensate for unsanitary conditions.

    •    Rough or abusive handling by workers.

 

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The Ethical Compromise

We are not out to be “Vegangelists” but we do believe in the power of awareness and education in all that we do. Although the above has very strong points as to why to opt for a vegan lifestyle, we are not blind to the fact that there are many alternative foods that are incredibly unsustainable in their own right.  A lot of vegan foods contain palm oil, a resource that is depleting natural ecosystems in Asia and South America - which let's face it, isn't very "animal-friendly." The monumental growth in the popularity of almond milk has left expanses of land in drought.  Our unabated consumption of quinoa, left the tribes that use it as their primary nutritional source are going hungry. The fact is, we’re living on an overpopulated planet and we no longer have the luxury of turning a blind eye. We don’t necessarily have to reach the extremities of veganism, consider buying seasonal and locally produced produce.  Mindful consumerism and a keen interest in other living things will naturally lead you to make more ethical decisions.


Would you consider partaking in Meat Free Monday's on your next shoot?