The vegan lifestyle, in essence, is the practice of abstaining from consuming, using or purchasing any products which are directly derived from animals. Veganism is also considered as a philosophy that rejects the notion that animals are to be used as the means to an end. In other words, vegans treat animals as having inherent value, instead of instruments for achieving desired outcome or product. For this reason most vegans acknowledge some basic right to life that sentient creatures have. However, there are different motivations for going vegan, and not all of these motivations directly relate to animal rights.

Why Do People Go Vegan?

There are at least three distinct reasons that people transition to the vegan lifestyle:

1) Animal rights- recognizing the right to life that sentient creatures have anchored in the fact that they have a subjective experience of the world and wish to avoid pain and death (similarly but not identical to the way that humans do). Vegans concerned with animal rights regard factory farming conditions as cruel and the mass slaughtering of animals unjust.

2) Nutrition- going vegan, or converting to a plant-based means of eating can be used as a relatively cost-effective intervention for ischemic heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Beyond merely improving one’s diet, going vegan can also enhance one’s knowledge about cooking and nutrition. Its worth mentioning that a plant-based eating regimen is not synonymous with veganism. Vegans avoids plant derived materials and products altogether, including textiles, foods and cosmetic goods.

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3) Environmental sustainability- factory farming, which makes use of animals in agriculture for their milk, eggs, flesh, skin, ligaments, tendons and bones, contributes to the global climate crisis in more ways than one. In order to feed animals in agriculture settings, farmers need vast amounts of acreage. Its not uncommon for modern farming methods to involve forest burning and clearing to make room to grow animal crops. The loss of trees and concentrations of vegetation means fewer carbon sinks. Carbon sinks are stores that absorb and retain carbon dioxide, effectively lessening the amount of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. What’s worse, ruminant animals produce abundant amounts of methane, which further drives the global warming phenomenon.

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