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Shaden Masri

Professor el Cheikh-Ali

English 203

November 18, 2016

Argumentative Essay: Veganism the Way for a Better Future.

We exist today at a time of great progress in various fields (science,

technology, medicine and even arts). But with the relative speed at which

science and technology are advancing, we are faced with inevitable

maladaptation and some obstructive consequences. For instance, registered

cases of diabetes and obesity have drastically increased all over the world,

this increase is expected to soon become a troublesome burden, especially in

developing countries that dont have the resources to deal with it (Prentice,

93). Naturally, strong dietary movements have surged in an attempt to halt

the fast spreading epidemic. The most recent one being veganism. A person

identifies himself as vegan when he abstains from consuming animal flesh or

any animal bi-product such as dairy and eggs; they also oppose the use of

any animals for any commercial purpose including the production of wool;

beeswax; leather; and animal tested products (Greenebaum, 1420). The

Vegan Movement has caused quite an uproar as it rattles centuries of habits

and eating norms. Opinions have quickly polarized, with some people

disregarding it as another fad diet that would eventually subside, or

completely shrugging it off as an extreme and absurd movement. Others


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claiming that the vegan diet has altered their lives for the better and

consider it the healthiest alternative and the road to take for a better future

(Zamichow, 4). In this essay, we will uncover how veganism, as controversial

as it can get when communities fear malnutrition and believe that eating

meat is essential; when practiced, can put an end to many health epidemics

and environmental issues that our world is facing today.

At first, many people turn towards the vegan diet seeking safety from

health issues that are surging from meat consumption. For example, the rise

in demand of animal products has established the modern day animal

industry that focuses entirely on maximizing profit and production efficiency.

The animals are fed growth hormones (growth hormones are what allow

animals to grow at an abnormal rate until they reach the wanted size) they

are also fed antibiotics and sometimes dead animal remnants. In fact, the US

department of agriculture states that 80% of the produced antibiotics in the

country are given to livestock, and theyre given for disease prevention, not

for actual treatment. By extension, by ingesting that meat, we are

consuming bacteria that has built up resistance to these antibiotics rendering

us vulnerable to what once were curable diseases (Greenebaum, 1421).

Furthermore, cows are capable of producing milk only when they are

impregnated. Consequently, farmers inject cows with hormones that increase

milk production per impregnation. The injected hormones are proven to

increase insulin growth factor in cow milk which when consumed, increases

the risk of prostate; colon; and breast cancers (Greenebaum, 1421). Ergo the
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meat and dairy products we are consuming today are not the same as what

our ancestors used to consume, even eating organic meat isnt what it

sounds like. In fact, farming industries are considered organic by simply

employing the basic ecological principles such as recycling and resource

conservation, using mechanical or biological processes (Riddle, 1). The law

implies that animals can be given any product or drug if its a natural one.

Moreover, studies are showing that meat consumption (especially red meat)

increases risks of cardiovascular diseases diabetes and certain cancers, they

also show a higher overall risk of mortality. With their research, the American

medical association has also showed that substituting meat for other sources

of plant based protein reduced mortality, (after a 28 year follow up) and

favored a healthier lifestyle in general (555).

In brief, many health issues are arising from meat and dairy consumption,

whether indirectly from bacterial resistance of antibiotics or directly by

increasing risk of chronic diseases (example diabetes). Shifting to a vegan

diet omits the agents responsible for these leading epidemics.

The benefits of veganism are not limited to our personal health. As a

matter of fact, our dietary habits impact the entire environment and

ecosystems that surround us. Fox, in his article, unravels how hazardous

factory farming can be to the environment. Thats primarily due to the fact

that the demand for meat is in increase, farms are hosting much more
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animals than what the soil can handle, consequently, an enormous amount

of animal waste product is produced (manure). The amount of manure

produced cannot be decomposed as fertilizers for the soil. Therefore,

livestock are surrounded by their excrements, farmers make them feed off it

(as it is the fastest cheapest way to get rid of the waste), and the rest are

absorbed by the earth undecomposed towards water napes and rivers that

become toxic to living creatures in contact with that water (Fox, 30). In

addition, cows contribute to 50 million metric tons of methane gas to the

atmosphere every year. Global warming is mainly due to the increase of

greenhouse gases that are being emitted, methane is a principle gas that

promotes fast paced global warming (Fox, 32). Finally, according to Stehfest,

Bouwman, and Vuuren, removing factory farms and switching to plant based

farming would free up to 2800 million hectares of land, that land can be used

to restore natural vegetation and therefore reduce CO2 levels and

consequently global warming (83). We feed almost half of the worlds

produced grain to livestock, and only a fraction of that livestock is turned

into meat 100 million hectares of land can be used to plant wheat; corn; and

basic plants and that can be sufficient to satisfy world hunger (Green, 64).

And the 16800 liters of water used to raise 1 kilo of beef can put an end to

the expected water stress to come (Green, 62).

To sum up, one of the main factors contributing to pollution and global

warming is the massive factory farming of livestock that we are witnessing

today. Putting an end to these factories would not only reduce greenhouse
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gases emission but also free up much of the land and the water that

wouldve been used to maintain that land. These resources can be available

for the world and can be used to stop issues with world hunger.

A widespread belief currently exists in society, it is that we need meat

and dairy to fulfill our nutrient requirements, and if those essential elements

of our diet are gone we will end up having an unvaried diet and multiple

deficiencies whether in protein; calcium or iron. While meat is praised as a

great source of iron, it actually reduces iron absorption in the body by about

50% (Green, 67). Soy products, including tofu, tempeh, and miso legumes

nuts seeds, including quinoa and grains, such as brown rice, corn, and

whole-wheat pasta and bread, are high in protein. These products, in addition

to many vegetables, such as leafy green vegetables, fulfill iron and calcium

requirements. (Greenebaum, 1420). Moreover, scientists have had proof for

more than 100 years that animal milk and meat promote calcium deficiency

rather than strengthening bones. Indeed, animal products increase metabolic

acid, to neutralize this acidity, calcium is released from the bone to the

exterior, with time this leads to higher probability of osteoporosis (brittle

bones) (Green, 60). The only nutrients we cannot obtain from a vegan diet

are vitamin D which is obtained from the sun and vitamin B12 which cannot

be obtained by animal products because it is secreted by healthy soil

bacteria, and when we wash our vegetables the soil vitamins get washed

away with it. In this case, a vitamin supplement might be in need, but it is

needed for meat eaters as much as vegans. Some people would also argue
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that our ancestors have been eating that way for as long as you can go back,

that we are classified as omnivores so we could eat meat. While that is true,

just because we can eat meat doesnt mean we should, especially

considering the fact that science now is strongly supporting reduction of

meat consumption. The problem lies in the lack of knowledge that people

receive on that subject accompanied by a widespread social acceptance of

killing and eating meat and its sub products (Yerepouni, 2). Indeed, cultural

norms are ingrained in us no matter how absurd some are, we believe they

are normal (Green 67). For example, in china its normal to eat dog meat; in

other European countries horse meat is a delicacy; in India, the cow in

revered.

To conclude, veganism as a diet and a movement has a very beneficial

impact on the world we live in, in theory, if the world went vegan we could

stop world hunger epidemic, water shortage, and significantly slow down

global warming. Moreover, veganism was found to have health benefits,

reducing disease rate, slowing down the progression of chronic diseases, and

even reverse the effect of some. The main issue regarding veganism is the

lack of knowledge people have on the subject, they see it as an attack to

their social norms that have been present for forever. They also fear that

following the vegan lifestyle would be detrimental to their health as it is

believed that there is no wide range of plant based food and malnutrition will

be inevitable, when therere innumerable sources that can aid in the

transition towards a healthy vegan diet.


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Works Cited

Fox, Michael. Manure, minerals, and methane: How factory farms threaten

the environment. The Animals' Agenda 18.3 (1998): 30-33. Print.

Green, Costello, Dare. Veganism, health expectancy, and the

communication of sustainability. Australian Journal of Communication

37.3 (2010): 51-72. Print.

Greenebaum, Jessica Veganism The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues.

Thousand Oaks, 2015. Print.

Pan, An. Red Meat Consumption and Mortality. American Medical

Association (2012): 555-563. Print.

Prentice, Andrew. The emerging epidemic of obesity in developing

countries. International Journal of Epidemiology 35.0 (2006): 9399.

Print.

Riddle, Jim Requirements for Organic Poultry Production. Organic

Agriculture (2013): 1-6. Print.

Zamichow, Nora. Column One; Veganism, It's Not Just a Diet; While

vegetarians eschew meat, some go further. Avoiding animal products

becomes a way of life that requires constant vigilance. But with the
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commitment come dilemmas. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles,

California, 1997.