I'm Going Vegan: Here's Why

Yesterday I became a vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 16 months, and I talked about my reasons for that switch and why it was meaningful to me in a previous post. Now I’m getting rid of anything in my diet that involves animal milk or eggs.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d become vegan. Even last year, I thought it would be unlikely for me to switch to this new way of living. Though in early February (about 30 days ago from the day I wrote this post) I realised that this was where I knew I’d end up.

I stopped buying non-vegan stuff soon after that point, so I’ve just been finishing off the non-vegan things in my cupboards and freezer over the last three weeks. I suppose this helped me ease into the change, though I don’t think I’d have found it difficult making an immediate switch. I rarely drank dairy milk, nor did I eat many eggs while I was a vegetarian — though I had them in my diet from them being parts of other foods I ate, like curries, Quorn, and cheese.

So why did I choose to become a vegan? Why am I making this switch?

The main reason I became a vegetarian was for the environment — though after I made the change, I noticed the health and ethical reasons which further reinforced my decision. Now, it’s mainly for aligning with my heart.

Realising that my diet is still causing plenty of suffering to innocent, sentient beings is my primary motivation for this change. Why is it acceptable to imprison, breed, torture, and murder animals purely for the products they provide? It’s completely unnecessary; our civilisation could easily be sustained without meat, dairy, and eggs.

Is it okay to torture cows, chicken, and pigs, ready to be slaughtered just because they taste nice? Even though it creates a plethora of environmental issues and fuels antimicrobial resistance? Why is cruelty to these animals justified because they’re seen as weaker beings? Would you be happy if aliens arrived at our planet and started treating us like how we treat cows and chickens?

I’ve realised that I had just numbed my emotions towards the mistreatment of animals in industrial battery farms and slaughterhouses. Not all animal products come from these, but the vast majority of the animal products on the shelves of supermarkets are probably from these large-scale industrial plants. Everyone’s oblivious to what’s going on when they’re growing up, but when you realise the scale of what’s going on, you have to ignore the pain the animals suffer. If you see video footage of what goes on in the slaughterhouses, then it becomes harder to disassociate animal products from the stuff going on behind the scenes. It’s as if we’re brainwashed by society into thinking that it’s a necessary sacrifice to make for nothing but pleasure.

Why are dogs and cats called pets, but chickens and pigs called food? It seems like an arbitrary, socially constructed distinction to me.

Dogs and cats are predators, but if they kill something for food, it isn’t evil — they haven’t been tortured it with terrible conditions for its whole lifetime, nor do they have the capacity to empathise with their prey. Predators in the wild must eat other animals, as their food is scarce and might not be able to digest plant-based food effectively — their life and the existence of their species depends on hunting.

It definitely isn’t necessary for humans; we’ve got an abundance of plant-based food to go around. If we stopped keeping billions of livestock alive today, which we must feed with tons of food to fatten them up, then we’d have so much food that we’d solve world hunger by a substantial margin, while stopping the majority of deforestation too.

I’ll take a step back from this monologue of ethical reasoning; I hope you get the picture by now. Sorry if it was too deep, I even removed some paragraphs because I don’t want to alienate people or cause too much guilt.


There are a lot of criticisms of being vegetarian/vegan, so I’ll address them here.

Deficiencies in micronutrients like B-12 and calcium. These risks are easily managed. Plant-based milks are usually fortified in the vitamins and minerals that are more difficult to come by in a vegan diet. And don’t think that B-12 deficiency is restricted to vegetarians and vegans, many people on the average diet can get B-12 deficiencies because it’s so rare. Lots of livestock need their own B-12 supplementation so that the humans eating their flesh get some B-12 in their diet.

Protein. If you think protein only comes from animals, marketing may have brainwashed you. Did you know that broccoli contains more protein per calorie than most beef? There’s plenty of protein in a plant-based diet; I haven’t heard of anyone getting protein deficiencies unless they are extreme alcoholics or completely malnourished. The overconsumption of protein is much more of an issue in the western world, which has some detrimental effects.

Harming plants. Some people think they’re funny and say something along the lines of: “how about all the plants you’re eating, aren’t you causing suffering to them too?” Plants don’t have consciousnesses as animals do. They don’t feel pain in the way animals and people do. If they did feel pain and it was a valid concern, then eating fewer animal products will still minimise the suffering of plants, as you need tons of plants to feed livestock. Eating plants directly significantly reduces the amount of plants required to sustain you.

Meat tastes great. While it may be true to those that don’t care much about animals, modern meat replacements are fantastic. I genuinely believe that some of the newer plant-based meat alternatives are better than the originals. I know it’s more of a problem when eating out, though the market has quickly started changing to accommodate the recent surge in the popularity of vegetarianism and veganism.

Choice. Going vegetarian or vegan seems to inevitably reduce the selection of foods you have available. Though once you experience it, perhaps if you try it for thirty days, you start to see more choice than you may have thought initially. Rather than drinking conventional dairy milk, you can try any of the plant-based milks, like soy, oat, rice, coconut, almond, cashew, etc. They’re leagues better than dairy for the environment, and you have much more variety than sticking with society’s standard dairy milk that everyone gets and is reluctant to switch from. Going veggie/vegan forces you to be creative with meals and encourages much greater variety and nutrition than most people experience.

Final Notes

In the end, it’s mainly about caring, compassion, and love. I’ve always seen vegetarians as being more compassionate and empathetic than most people, as their self-imposed restriction of diet is almost always direct evidence to suggest they care about animals or the environment, and they are willing to sacrifice personal pleasure for sentient beings they've never met. Becoming vegetarian and now vegan has made me feel slightly less connected to the flesh-eaters of the world, but I feel like the increase in connection with those who also sympathise more with the animals makes up for it.

I wrote this article partly to make people think. If you feel happy causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals, then feel free to carry on eating flesh.

I feel like going vegetarian/vegan provides a greater sense of meaning in my life. Even if everything great in my life goes down the drain, then I’ll still know that I put in the effort to be caring and compassionate to both animals and the environment; that I put my selfish desire aside for the mutual benefit of the sentient beings involved. It aligns with my heart, conscience, and values; it just means so much to me. It also brings a great sense of happiness too, because I’m living in a way significantly more aligned with my values and my heart.

If you’re interested, here’s the article which was the key tipping point for me. For why I became to be a vegetarian, see this article. If you’ve been swayed to consider trying out being a pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, consider a seven- or thirty-day trial.